Double the Flavor, Double the Fun >>> Two Very Different Mystery Authors I’m Currently Enjoying (A Lot!)

I am in Cozy Mystery Seventh Heaven right now! What could be better (as a mystery reader) than being swept up into not one, but two different mystery reading shangrilas? Yes, I am in the enviable position to be reading one and listening to another of two of my favorite authors at the same time, and it is such a treat!

I know I have said (many times) that I space my favorite authors between new-to-me authors so that I can try new authors while still being able to enjoy authors off of my “favorite authors” list. Well, my (almost) Russian Roulette method has finally lined up to where I am able to enjoy two of my faves at the same time, and it is really great.

I am currently reading one of Hazel Holt‘s Mrs. Mallory mysteries which, although written during the last (less than) twenty years, is quite reminiscent of the classic mysteries à la Agatha Christie. You’ve got a quaint village by the sea, some great characters (including “Mrs. Malory”, her best friend Rosemary, and her son Michael), and some very realistic dialog. You also have “eccentric” characters who are believable, not outlandish. There isn’t a perfunctory romance going on and Mrs. Mallory (Sheila) doesn’t put herself in crazy, dangerous situations. And, did I mention, the mystery is really good?

The audio book that I’m listening to comes from Spencer Quinn‘s Chet and Bernie mysteries. These mysteries are extremely different from Hazel Holt’s series. Bernie is an ex-policeman and Chet is his ex-K-9 dog. (Actually Chet never graduates from K-9 school, for reasons out of his control… well, not exactly out of his control.)

I tried to explain the Chet and Bernie mysteries to my son (who reads a lot of science fiction) but he kept summing it up as a “So, you have a talking dog.” type of mystery series. For some reason, I am not able to explain that this is no normal “talking dog” mystery series. This is because Chet doesn’t actually talk, he thinks in human words. There, you see! I’m simply am not able to explain this really enjoyable mystery series.

I think that because my son read all of Brian Jacques Redwall Series when he was quite young (obviously only those that had been published by then) he thinks of talking animals as actually “talking animals”. Chet doesn’t actually “talk” per se. The Chet and Bernie mysteries are told from Chet’s perspective. Chet is a perfect personification for animal lovers everywhere.

I guess that having both of these authors on my “favorite authors” list shows how diverse mysteries are. While the Chet and Bernie mysteries are not Cozy Mysteries, they are doggone good. (Warning, however, there is some swearing in this series.) And it is very safe to say that the Mrs. Mallory mysteries are exactly what Cozy Mysteries should be.


  1. Barbara says

    Well, I can say I am not really one of the people who just loves animals, especially talking animals, in cozies or other books. But I LOVE the Chet & Bernie series. It is so clever. This is one smart & hysterically funny dog. I told my 45 yo son about them and now he is following all of them too. I am a little behind though & have only read 3 of them, need to catch up! :) I can highly recommend this series to those who love animals & even those who don’t particularly.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      You make a good point, Barbara. Chet is just too funny. I love it when he hears a sound and then realizes it’s him. Or when he starts to do something and all you hear is Bernie saying “Chet”!

  2. Patti S. says

    I also love Hazel Holt and have been reading her since she published her first Mrs. Mallory book. Her stories are so well written. I just wish she would have new books out more often!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Patti S, it’s always a shame when you have a favorite author who doesn’t publish as many books in one year as some of the other authors, isn’t it?

  3. reginav says

    I have always enjoyed the Hazel Holt series. To me they embody the essence of a “cosy mystery” and I eagerly await each new one. AS for Chet and Bernie, I have tried them, but I cannot work up an enthusiasm for them, maybe they get better as they develop. I just have begun to read the Phrynna Fisher series. It is not one that I will try to read all at once, but one every so often. A new author I have just stumbled upon is Gayle Wigglesworth. Her new one called is called “Glenda at Large”, very good.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Regina, Chet and Bernie had me hooked from the very first wag of his tail. But, I know there are a lot of wildly popular authors who I do not read. So, it’s just a matter of personal choice.

      I’m glad you mentioned Gayle Wigglesworth. She is on my “Site’s Alphabet Authors” list, but somehow I missed her new Glenda at Large Mystery Series. I’m off to remedy that problem!

  4. says

    Both of these sound great and my daughter and I will check them out – right now I’m partial to the Mrs. Mallory series.
    Jackie Griffey
    jacjgriffey on Facebook since there’s another Jackie Griffey on there now.

  5. says

    Chet isn’t a talking dog! It’s just that you get to see the story from Chet’s POV. So it’s a story told partly from the dog’s POV. He doesn’t talk to any of the characters other than when he acts like a normal dog trying to tell his owner or others things. And sometimes we get those things and sometimes we wonder what that crazy dog is trying to say!

  6. Carly says

    Just reserved a Hazel Holt Mrs. Mallory book at the library to pick up tomorrow. I’m excited to try someone new! Thanks for the recommendation. Enjoy your two favorites!

  7. PamB says

    I was intrigued by the comments for the Chet and Bernie books and thought I’d try one. I’m half way through the first book (Dog On It) and am so enjoying it. It’s entertaining, very cleverly written and I find myself smiling on almost every page due to Chet’s thoughts. I’m now a fan of Chet!

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