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.