Even though they belong to a relatively young genre, mystery stories are a popular and prolific form of modern literature. If your public library divides the fiction section into genres, you'll probably find that the "mystery" section is one of the largest, just behind the enormous "romance" section, which might as well have its own wing at this point.
With so much sheer volume, the mystery genre can become heavily subdivided, reaching such specificity that you can almost literally find a mystery novel for any reader's taste. Some of these can be deadly serious, and some, like those in the "cozy mystery" subgenre, are lighthearted romps with a goofy theme, barely 200 pages, meant to be easily digestible over the course of a weekend vacation.
However you feel about the latter variety of mystery novel, their ultra-specific subject matter and pun-heavy titles make excellent fodder for this blog, and seeing as there are so many of them in the world, I have no choice but to make them a series of their own. So without further adieu, I now present the first of many Mystery Novel Bundles: Dessert Edition!
Death, Lies and Apple Pies (1998) by Valerie S. Malmont
In a world where every character has an overthought, pretentious name (our heroine is a novelist named Tori Miracle, and her boyfriend's name is--no joke--Garnet Gochenauer), we find ourselves in the midst of the Old Fashioned Apple Butter Festival in Pennsylvania Amish Country where Ms. Miracle is serving as a celebrity judge of the apple pie contest.
As the genre would imply, murder breaks out and Tori and Garnet (would their couple-name be "Tornet"?) set to work exposing a culprit, who, as the synopsis states, has a "recipe for murder!"
Though the book itself isn't really my cup of tea, I'm generally a fan of a book cover that can make an apple core look like a spooky skull, so it at least has that going for it.
Kneading to Die (2013) by Liz Mugavero
Forced puns ahoy!
Not contented to just be a baking-themed or pet-themed mystery series, both of which there are many, the Pawsitively Organic series grabs hold of the "quirky" knob and dials it up to 11, becoming a series about Kristan "Stan" Connor, a baker who makes organic treats for dogs and cats...who also solves mysteries!
In this, the first of the series, Stan starts her new bakery in a small Connecticut town called Frog Ledge, pleasing the many pet-owning customers, but running afoul of the town vet, Dr. Carole Morganwick, a proponent of "old school" pet medicine who is wary of the organic pet food craze.
When Stan's own cat gets sick, she pays a visit to the vet, only to find her dead and buried under a pile of kibble. Worse yet, Stan is the main culprit in the murder investigation. If Stan can solve the mystery and find the actual killer, she can get herself off the hook for murder and continue bringing organic treats to the good cats and dogs of Frog Ledge, Connecticut.
I'm happy to live in a world where a novel like this can exist. Even if I don't read it, it gives me hope and creative inspiration to know that something this hyper-specific can be a success. Makes me want to get to work own novel, DinoVamp vs. Ninja Spider.
(A work in progress)
Latte Trouble (2005) by Cleo Coyle
Did I mention that this genre just loves puns?
Well it also seems to love double-duty heroes, like Clare Cosi, a brilliant coffee shop owner who also happens to solve murder mysteries on the side.
In this, the third installment of the Coffeehouse Mystery series, it's Fashion Week in New York (Wow, I am SOOO not the target audience for this book) and Cosi finds herself trying to vindicate one of her trusted employees when a distinguished guest keels over in the cafe from a cyanide-laced latte. Though to be fair, I imagine if the coffee was any good, the caffeine content would be high enough to wake the dead anyway, thus negating the deadly poisons inside.
Another interesting feature of this book, as advertised on the cover, is that it contains recipes. Recipes. In a murder myster novel. Let's just hope none of them include cyanide.
To get your mystery fix and support this blog, click one of the links below and grab yourself a book today!