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Mystery Reads (and more) for the Summer

I admit to having diverse reading taste. I’m not just a mystery reader or romance reader or literary readers. I enjoy good books, no matter the genre. And I learned a long time ago that just because the book is a best seller doesn’t mean that it jibes with my own personal taste. (In fact, just the opposite may be true for me!) I thought I share some of my favorite recent reads and TV Shows.


Fiona Griffiths Series by Harry Bingham

I warn you. This series is addictive, but it’s not for everybody. I started to read the first book in this series last year and set it aside. I am a moody reader, what can I say? But I have a friend who kept going on about this series. So I picked the first book up again and I’m glad I did.

The first book is “Talking to the Dead.” I don’t re-read books often, but this is one that I might read again and study. Seriously. It’s that good. I don’t want to give away too much here, but let me just say that Harry Bingham has created one of the most compelling characters—not just sleuths—that I’ve read in years. After I read the first book, I went straight away and purchased the second—“Love Story with Murder.” I am late to the bandwagon here and there are many books in this series, which makes my reader’s heart go pitter-pat.

Detective Elouise Norton Series by Rachel Howzell Hall

Speaking of compelling characters, you can’t get better than Rachel Howzell Hall’s Det. Elouise Norton.

I’ve read the first book in this series, “Land of Shadows” and I plan on gobbling up the others. Det. Elouise Norton, an African-American brilliant, tough detective, in LA. But she’s not just tough and smart, she has heart and a less-than perfect personal life. The writing in this book pulled me in and I look forward to reading Rachel’s other books. If you like gritty, fast paced mysteries, check this series out.

Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn

I adore good historical fiction, but I am the pickiest of readers when it comes to this genre—especially historical mysteries. There is an air some writer’s take on when they write historical that I detest. I don’t know what to call it, but let’s say it has to do with language. Some writers’ language becomes quite stilted just because they are writing historical fiction. It’s not even the overuse of historical language, exactly, but whatever it is, is just a bit too show-offy and distracting for me.

To my taste, a good historical fiction author writes with solid research, a nod to historical terms, but geared toward the modern ear. It’s tricky. When I find an author with this particular finesse, I latch on. Enter Deanna Raybourn. I can’t say enough good things about her current series or her Lady Jane Grey series. Raybourn is incredibly talented and I am in awe of her. Plus, I want the next book asap, thank you very much, Ms. Raybourn.

If you like historical mysteries and have not read her books, what are you waiting for?



I started watching this series on AcornTV, which is a British Cable channel, and fell in love with the characters and the setting in the UK’s Northumberland. Also, these mysteries are multilayered and complex. But the main character “Vera” is a middle-aged overweight, brilliant, non-nonsense detective. She is not your typical female detective prancing around in stylish clothes and high heels. She is also not very interested in kids (other than helping them) or pets—just not that sort of woman. She’s interested in her work. I love this about her. She is one of the most relatable female TV characters I’ve come across. Since I found the TV series, I’ve learned it’s base on a book series by Ann Cleeves. So I have more reading to do, which suits me just fine.


A CW original TV show, this might be the most surprising of my choices. My daughter began watching this and sucked me into it, mostly for nostalgic reasons. It’s based on the comic books series I loved as a girl—the Archie’s. I wanted to see what happened to Archie, Betty, and Jughead. But this version is a modern and very, very, VERY twisted version. (Yes, I found myself saying “Archie would never do that!” and “Jughead is a hotty.” Seriously. ) It’s a murder mystery, among other things. I found myself gasping at the end of many of the episodes and needing to watch the next one immediately. Fun stuff, even though it found me sitting on the couch for far too many hours!

What have you been reading and watching on TV? Good? Bad?

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