Mystery Summer

comments: 109


By noon yesterday, I had a little list of recommendations based on your comments — thanks!!! What a great bunch of suggestions. We rode our bikes down to our local mystery bookstore (don'tcha love those). We took a few recommendations from the ladies there, after warning them that we were lightweights when it came to mysteries — we loved them, but they could not be too scary. I really wish that mysteries didn't always have to do with, you know, dead bodies. But mysteries are, by definition, plot-driven, and I really like that. After many years of reading mostly contemporary "literary" fiction, my tastes in leisure reading have changed considerably. I'm going for stay-awake whodunnit rather than self-awareness and enlightenment lately. I'm sure that's not fair to mysteries. I'll let you know after I get through this pile. The lady at the bookstore said she reads three to four books a week! (Last week she was on vacation so she read five!) Awesome.

I have a bunch of others that you mentioned on my future to-read list, but yesterday I got:

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Started this yesterday and am on page 74 already (I am a slow reader, but this is going fast). Loving it so far.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Lost count of how many people have recommended this book to me! Not sure what's going on with the "pie" theme and me. Perhaps should stop reading to bake pie to eat while reading.

The Unfinished Clue by Georgette Heyer. Bought entirely for the cover. I do that.

Hostile Makeover: A Crime of Fashion Mystery by Ellen Byerrum. It's on Lifetime this weekend. Don't judge me. Or, you can. It's okay

Andy got Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout, the first Nero Wolfe mystery. We used to really like the Nero Wolfe series when it was on A&E (except that he was always screaming about something, which was sort of annoying, and worrisome. But Archie was cool). We like TV mystery. And I am still hoping to run into Timothy Hutton around town (we saw them filming an episode of Leverage by the baseball stadium a few weeks ago). I was also REALLY hoping to run into Keri Russell, too, because I love her. It would be cool to run into Harrison Ford, but not as cool as Keri Russell. (HF and KR were here in town filming a movie recently, though I don't know if they're still here.) And I would tell her how much I loved Felicity. Because I did.


I LOVED Felicity! I just put the whole shabang in our Netflix qeue. :)

Felicity is my jam. I watched the whole series on DVD a few years ago, and when I got to the end, on the day I watched the last episode, I got the worst stomach flu of my life and my grandfather died. My grief over all three of these things is burned into my memory like a crazy soup of badness. (I am truly odd.)

I buy books "just for the cover" too! Some of my favorite books are due to this fact! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to read your choices.

I just ordered The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie from Powells based on your reader's comment. I ordered both books that Jane Brocket sent you, because I've enjoyed every book I've read that she liked. I've read the TGLPPPS (too long to write out) recently and liked it. I might have to get the Georgette Heyer book, and read the fashion mystery one. I saw a commercial for that one on the Style network while home with a sick baby watching back-to-back episodes of Clean House. And I was interested, although a little bit embarassedly.

Thanks for asking the question, so I could get my summer reading in order!

If you can get the characters sorted out, Guernsey is really very good. LOVED the ending!

You should try the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton. Not scary, quick paced, and amusing. A few of them were named "best mystery" of all time. They are my go-to books when I'm feeling down!

i loved felicity! those long pauses in the dialogue, the city. i thought she was so cute with short hair, too. did you see keri's movie 'waitress'? i think you would love it.

i'm reading a book about pixar and it's very inspiring even after only two chapters. i wonder how it will turn out ;). sorry to ramble, but i made a 'duvet' cover for our bathroom mat using your patchwork tutorial. it's a dream, the tutorial that is. the mat's not bad either. i had a small stash of vintage sheets, so it's very posie.

Guernsey is just a gem of a little book! I read it a year ago and I STILL think about the characters.

I'm going to give Felicity a try based on the reactions of everyone here - thanks, y'all!

I often buy books for the covers. I once asked my friend who's an English Prof (she was at OSU, then U of O, now Seattle) if she ever did it - thinking for sure she'd think I was a dumb light-weight. She said "yes"!

I just went to put the first two on your list on hold from the library... 47 holds for the first, 42 for the second. I might get them by the time school starts again and I have no time. :(

Please let us know how scary these books are. I'm a super light weight too, but I love a good mystery.

If only there were an endless supply of Nero Wolfe mysteries. I have listened to all of them on tape and I loved the A&E series. The writing so clever and it was so well-acted. I loved the way the supporting cast changed characters every week.

kathleen says: June 24, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Ah summer reading. I read a mystery last weekend "The Lost Garden" that sent me on a search for the real lost gardens of Haligen, what a story that is and real. I love it when a book leads me into something equally enjoyable. I ordered the book about the real lost gardens then and have greatly enjoyed it this week. If only I could get to Cornwall for a visit to Haligen to see the real thing.

Charlotte Hutcheson says: June 24, 2009 at 11:49 AM

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book was absolutely charming full of wonderful people that one can care about. I actually like the serious mysteries, but appreciate ones who don't. Elizabeth George, who writes the mysteries about the Scotland Yard detective and his sargent, Barbara Havers, has written some very good mysteries as well as Anne Perry. Anne Perry's books have two different sets of detectives and time periods: Victorian England with William Monk and Heather something, a Florence Nightengale nurse, and 1880's England with Thomas Pitt and his wife Charlotte. I love her mysteries. Have fun with your discoveries, Charlotte

kathleen says: June 24, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Oh sorry and I forgot to recommend my favorite book series of all time the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. My best friend and I have been reading her since her first book came out years and years ago, we talk about the characters like they are real. The series has meant a lot to both of us. Very amusing, mystery and archeology at the turn of the century in Egypt. Fantastic books.

We loved the Nero Wolfe series, too. I bought the entire series Dvd's for My Hero a few years ago. We also are loving Leverage, too. I feel like I should whisper that fact because whenever there is a tv series that both of us like and get hooked on it gets cancelled!
I am making note of these authors/titles. Dorothy Cannell is another author who writes light hearted mysteries.

I loved Felicity! Though you can't get it on dvd over here in Britain :(
I loved the film Waitress too, she was great in that. Such a quirky and cool film.

Books! New books! So exciting xx

I love to read your blog and I love your little animal stories!! Happy Wednesday!

I loved Felicity too. Brings back my own college memories. I love to hear what you think of Hostile Makeover. I saw it, but could not decide what to purchase. In the middle of Eclipse. A bit behind on this whole Twilight series, but I do love vampire stories.

Keri is my idol, because she made having curly hair like mine cool!

You have to read The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth Duncan. My husband is a librarian and he brought this book home for me and I absolutely loved it! It is a mystery that is set in Wales. Also try the Betsey Devonshire mysteries by Monica Ferris. If you like any type if needlework, you will like tis series.

Oh, I just love that summery quilt in dappled sunlight with the books scattered on it. Now that looks like a great place to spend an afternoon!

I did love Felicity! Good show.

Sounds like a great list of books so far! Not sure about that pie theme either, but sure makes we want to go bake one right now....that is if it weren't 100 degrees outside here. Ick.

Have fun reading! Once I finish all our adoption related books, I might get started back into some mysteries myself! I love a good mystery! :)

I adore Timothy Hutton in the movie Beautiful Girls. I especially love when he plays the piano in the bar...I wonder if that is really him playing? He seems like the musical type. :) I also loved Keri Russell in Felicity but I had to stop watching after a few seasons because the crazy back-and-forth between her character & the main dude...oh, what's his name now?...anyway, it was stressing me out!

I just stumbled upon your blog literally 30 seconds ago, and the very first post I see, and the very first picture I see in this post reminded me SO much of my childhood. My grandparents had a place in the country I called the Cracker House (we always ate graham crackers when I visited) and that pillow and quilt are SO close to the mismatched patterns that were in the house it's scary. I can actually completely visualize relaxing on the sofa on a hot afternoon, and I can smell what the room smelled like. You just made my day without even trying at all :)

Oh, Felicity! I wanted to be Felicity although I couldn't understand why she was so drawn to Ben when Noel was so great. I, too, am grateful to Keri Russell for making me mind my curly hair a little bit less.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at