Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Cozy Mystery Trio

dutch-me As I’ve mentioned before, cozy mysteries are one of my favorite types of books to read and I’ve decided to make a project of occasionally rounding up some of the ones I like best for VL. This edition presents three series that I’ve been a longtime reader of.

Passport to Peril series by Maddy Hunter

There is a lot of humor in this travel series featuring Emily Andrews, tour guide for senior citizen groups. Hailing from a small town in rural Iowa and featuring her grandmother, as well as a cast of eccentric, elderly residents, they embark on trips around the globe. There’s always a murder and Emily always has numerous mishaps on the way to solving them, often with some truly comedic repartee.
It really does feel as if we were along with the tour group as they see the sights and deal with culture shock, but they are always punctual, which is an Iowa trait, along with a great sense of direction.Each book covers a different country and the tenth will be published in 2017. These are not fast paced mysteries, filled as they are with all the minutiae and quirks of multiple characters traveling, but the likable, and sometimes outrageous characters are what makes this series memorable.


Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson

Set in New York City in the late Victorian Age, Sarah Brandt is a widowed midwife who assists women across the social strata. She also does volunteer work at a women’s shelter. Between the two, she encounters scandals and murders which need unraveling.
When the series opens, Theodore Roosevelt is police commissioner and one of his detectives is Frank Malloy, an Irish cop who has lost his wife and is caring for his handicapped son. When Frank and Sarah meet in an investigation, there are certainly sparks, and their relationship progresses in a way that’s appropriate to the time.
While not gritty, the author does weave facts about how restricted life was for women in that era and the harshness of poor women, especially. It’s not done in a preachy way, just as part of the settings and events.Each of the twenty books are named after a neighborhood in New York City and the period details are part of what keeps me coming back to this series.

White House Chef series by Julie Hyzy

This is a series that has an unusual setting, the White House kitchen. Chef Olivia Paras (Ollie) and her trusty assistants, Bucky and Cyan, are in charge of preparing not just the everyday meals for the President and his family, but also special events such as state dinners, which can mean a menu for hundreds of people. Ollie’s sharp sense of observation and Secret Service boyfriend often finds her in dangerous situations which are suspenseful and also surprisingly believable.There’s a satisfying behind-the-scenes flavor to the books, too.
Unfortunately, the author has decided to stop writing this series, after some changes at her publishers. However, there are nine books of Ollie’s adventures, and definitely worth checking out if you like cooking and political combinations.

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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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