Favorite Mass-Market Mysteries

Favorite Mystery Reads of The Past

Do you remember going to the bookstore when there were two main ones in the big shopping center and mass-market paperback copies of all the books in a mystery series on the shelves? You’d buy the next one in the series and know all the others would be waiting for your when you came back. Even after one store closed or moved to a remote location, there were still those rows of books by your favorite author.

I got whole series, one at a time. The first would be available as well as the fifteenth and all the others in between. The Cat Who and Mrs. Pollifax mysteries were my favorites. I traded away most of the Cat Who books when we were sailing, passing them on to the next reader in exchange for a fresh mystery. I kept all the Mrs. Pollifax books and still have them. I’ve read the entire series twice. Must be due for a third reading!

Those books and others kept me entertained while my children grew up, and went off into the world. I followed Mr. Qwilleran and his life as his amazing cats helped him solve mysteries. I relived the life of Mrs. Pollifax as she traveled around the world—as a middle-aged, unexpected secret agent. Both series pure fantasy, of course. Did I care? Nope, I ate them up.

How about you? Did you have favorite series that grew along with your family? Gave you moments of pleasure amid chaos? And, like me, perhaps they inspired you to write stories of your own. My first mystery owes a lot to Mrs. Pollifax. And cats? Well, my amateur sleuth does have an imaginary cat. You see, Clyde, the yellow-striped tom, came with the territory. But that’s another story.