Artificial Intelligence and Murder
Donna Andrews is best known for her mysteries with birds. But, did you know she has an excellent series of four books with the sleuth Turing Hopper, AIP (that’s Artificial Intelligence Personality). Yep, she’s a mainframe computer who became sentient. When she’s faced with murder, she engages her “Miss Marple” brain to solve the mystery. And, throughout the four books she solves more mystery, but digs herself deeper into a dangerous situation. She’d cloned herself, to be in two places at once, but what happened to the clone? Unfortunately, that mystery has never been solved. Evidently, not enough readers were as delighted as I was. With traditional publishing, the publisher has the final say, so the series wasn’t continued. The first in the series, Click Here for Murder, won the Agatha and Anthony Awards. (I still have my four paperbacks, awaiting for a sequel.) In the meantime, read Donna’s other mysteries. Visit the Donna Andrews page here.
Digital Dick is not a series, but it is another mystery with a mainframe heart and human emotions. (John Edward Mullen has written two books so far.) Digital Dick learns how to solve mysteries while wishing he had hands so he could plug in his own electricity. He runs rings around the bad guys, as well as the good guys who just don’t understand him. Oh, yes, he has a human sister as well. Visit the John Edward Mullen page here.
I’m on the lookout for similar books. Do you know of any such books? I’d love to hear about them. (I’m not talking military intelligence here, really, although I might be convinced.)
Killer Debt — Mystery on the battle line
Now that my blog is working again, I can belatedly tell you about an historic mystery from one of my favorite authors. This month it’s on * pre-order * with an option of perks. (Since I’m so late, some of the perks are no longer available.) But let’s forget that and focus on the book. It will come out in May and is the newest in the Michael Stoddard series. Stoddard is an English officer under orders to protect an American arriving under white flag to consult with the British. His main adversary is another British officer, as he also strives to keep an American lady safe. (Or, maybe I’m saying too much here? Can I mention that they really do like each other?)
Author Suzanne Adair brings our American history to the pages, shining a light on much that has been forgotten about our past. The story is fiction, but the history underlying this mystery is real. What better way to discover the forgotten past than in a thriller that portrays colonial life as well as English and American sentiments in our Revolutionary War? While you are on the site linked above, (set off by stars), check out the video telling more, the link to Suzanne reading chapter one, and a link to a PDF of the first chapter.
Mysteries, Boats, and Boaters
Two of my favorite mystery authors are boaters. So, what else do they do but set their mysteries aboard? Actually, not only do I love their stories, they inspire me. (Okay, I have a mystery aboard. Not a series yet, but I’m writing as fast as I can.) So, here they are: Jinx Swartz and Christine Kling.
Jinx Schwartz is the author of the Hetta Coffey series. Her favorite promo line is, “Hetta is a sassy Texan with a snazzy yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it!” One could probably say the same about Jinx! Titles of all the Hetta mysteries start with the word “Just,” and they’re all a blast. Hetta’s life evolves through the series, as do the lives of the supporting characters. She’s written other books, one is definitely the Huck Finn book for girls. (Had to add that.)
has two series. One is the Seychelle Sullivan mysteries featuring the Florida tug and salvage captain. The other is the Shipwreck Adventures, a Caribbean thriller. Both are heart-thumpers. Christine’s life is an adventure as well that she mentions on her Facebook page
from time to time. (With pictures.)
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I had to add my own mystery on a boat. It’s not a series — yet. (I’m hard at work creating the second one.) My Cyd Denlinger mystery
also has a woman at the helm. She’s trying to regain her pilot’s license while working and living on someone else’s neat little boat. My favorite promo line is: “A young widow, a ghost with an agenda, and the boat they share.”
Three Favorite Historic Mysteries
My favorite books are mysteries, true, but I like to read in several genres. When I find a delightful historic mystery, I’m doubly thrilled. In fact, I so love historical mysteries, I have to showcase three series.
The Gaslight Mystery Series, written by Victoria Thompson, is set in turn-of-the-century New York City. Each book is named for the street or area where midwife Sarah Brandt suspects some evil doing has occurred. Police Sergeant Malloy, is involved as well, providing a bit of romance.
Across the country, in 1800s San Francisco, M. Louisa Locke’s Victorian San Francisco Mystery series feature Annie Fuller, a boardinghouse owner and clairvoyant, and Nate Dawson, a San Francisco lawyer. Together they investigate murders and other crimes.
Back in turn-of-the-century New York, the Molly Murphy mysteries feature an Irish immigrant. This series by Rhys Bowen begins with Molly barely escaping Ireland, and by the second book ending up running a detective agency (and solving the unexpected death of its former owner). She, too, meets an officer, NYPD police captain Daniel Sullivan.
Come to think of it, these series hit three genres: mystery, history, and romance. In any event, they provide me with hours of intrigue, lovely prose, and perplexing puzzles.
Of course, I’m always eager to find more stories. Do you have suggestions for a series that hits one, two, or all three of these genres? (Or others, I’m even partial to future stories, which are, of course, ALL completely fiction — at this point!)
Two humorous mystery series
A good mystery may keep me up late at night as I follow an exciting story and try to uncover clues that lead me to who-dun-it before the sleuth. If I’m surprised, that’s an added benefit. Nail-biting? You bet. Fear for the safety of a totally imaginary hero or heroine? Oh, way sure! But laugh all the way through until tears flow? Sometimes that’s exactly what I’m looking for. And two of my favorite series fit the bill.
Tamar Myers is one author. Her Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries (with recipes, even) follow Magdalena Yoder as she solves mysteries while running her own PennDutch Inn. Some books in the series were published twenty years ago, and others more recently. One reviewer of Too Many Crooks Spoil The Broth said, “Part Agatha Christie, part Keystone Kops, with a few tantalizing food stops along the way.” Some titles are: Play It Again, Spam, The Crepes of Wrath, and Custard’s Last Stand. True story: She sold each book on the title alone! Okay, maybe not the first one.
Kaye George is another author who fits the bill. Choke, Broke, and Smoke, are the titles in her Imogene Duckworthy Mysteries. One reviewer said: “Question: If you combined Lucille Ball with Inspector Clouseau, what would you get? Answer: Imogene Duckworthy, amateur PI…” Immy, the amateur sleuth who really wants to be a professional, is one of a kind. She tries her darndest, while the reader wonders how she can possibly succeed, but cheers her every effort anyway. I could add, the reader also enjoys her unexpected detours from those detecting chores.
Both authors have other series as well, series I greatly enjoy, maybe not just when I’m in a silly mood. Do you have a favorite funny mystery or series? I’d love to add to add to my, ahem, overwhelming pile of BTR (books to read).
The Grand Dame of Mystery — Agatha Christie
When I think of all the variety of mystery novels, I have to begin with Agatha Christie and her amateur sleuth, Miss Marple. I read quite a few of those, but I never figured out “who dun it” before the end. And that’s only one reason why I love those books. Another is the wide variety of writers she spawned. But I digress—I’m talking Dame Christie here. And, although I think of her as the author of mysteries involving that nosy lady Miss Marple, her first detective was Hercule Poirot. She wrote many more books about him, but after a few years, she thought him “insufferable.” However, she knew her readers loved him, so she wrote more.
Just recently, I read Christie’s first published mystery (but the seventh mystery she wrote) The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Although I’d seen many Poirot TV shows, I had never read any of the books starring him. In this book, he was a retired detective, with his later sidekick Hastings as the narrator and someone who had met him earlier. Hastings, after watching him at work, thought he must surely have lost his great detecting skills. Inspector Japp was there as well. Dame Christie laid the ground work with her characters, then, in later books, used them to their best advantage. (In other words, read them in any order!)
Although Agatha Christie tired of Poirot, she never tired of Miss Marple who she’d patterned after “the sort of old lady who would have been rather like some of my step grandmother’s cronies – old ladies whom I have met in so many villages where I have gone to stay as a girl.” Definitely, her readers never tire of Miss Marple of St. Mary Mead.
What is your favorite Agatha Christie mystery? Did you know Dame Christie has a Facebook page? She also has an author page on Mystery.net. That’s where I found this picture of her.