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Genre: Fiction

Mystery Fiction
Key Authors:


Sue Grafton

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Sue Grafton was one of the first women to enter the previously all-male world of hardboiled private eye mysteries. Her series character, Kinsey Millhone, who narrates the stories in first person, is a tough, stubborn, but self-assured loner. Kinsey is known for her smart-mouth dialog; there is, however, a dark underlying tone without the explicitly described violence found in traditional hardboiled novels. Plots in this series are puzzles and are filled with the details, sometimes forensic, that Kinsey's inquiries uncover. Start with: 'A' is for Alibi.

Vince Flynn

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International intrigue, political crises, technical details, complex missions full of fast-paced action--these are the things that Vince Flynn's political thrillers are known for. While Flynn tends to focus more on plot than on character, his hero, CIA agent Mitch Rapp. is independent, heedless of danger, and moral, and Flynn manages to succeed at capturing intensity between his main characters. Start with: The Transfer of Power.

Janet Evanovich

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Janet Evanovich is best known for her mystery series featuring bounty-hunter-in-training Stephanie Plum, who is often assisted by her eccentric grandmother and equally inept friends and co-workers. While she's sassy and "smart-mouthed," Stephanie's incompetence invites both sympathy and humor. The villains are also more incompetent than evil, and solving the mystery simply creates a backdrop for Stephanie's antics. Though set in urban New Jersey, these slapstick mysteries have a small town feel as the neighborhood's denizens play minor roles. Start with, One for the Money.

James Patterson

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James Patterson began his career writing fast-paced single-title and series suspense novels, but he now publishes multiple series for adults in genres as diverse as crime thrillers/suspense, science fiction, historical fiction, and romance. Whether writing edge-of-one's seat novels of hard-edged suspense or heartwarming tales of romance and relationships, he captivates male and female readers alike with sympathetic characters, short chapters, and compelling, labyrinthine plots. Start with: Along Came a Spider

Dennis Lehane

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Dennis Lehane's powerful evocations of place, intricate plots, and multi-dimensional characters have made him one of today's best crime and suspense storytellers. In his series following PI's Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, Lehane explores crime in Boston's toughest neighborhoods, vividly depicted with physical details and local mannerisms. Violence is graphic in these gritty stories, and often falls on the innocent. Fast-moving plots feature suspenseful twists, as the characters' darkest traits and emotional scars are revealed to both detectives and readers. Start with: Mystic River.

Titles to Try:

Decked – Carol Higgins Clark

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Her College friends had thought she had simply run away, but when Athena Popolous’ body is discovered in an excavation during a ten-year reunion, the victim’s former roommate, private eye Regan Reilly, makes a vow to find the killer.

Dark of the Moon- John Sandford
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Virgil Flowers is sent to Bluestem, a small town where everyone knows everyone else, to investigate the murders of a man burned to death in his home and a doctor and his wife, unaware that he is tracking a murderer who may be targeting Virgil as his next victim.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder – Joanne Fluke
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Cookie-baking sleuth Hannah Swenson must protect her reputation when a popular delivery man is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's cookies scattered around him.

Star Island  - Carl Hiaason
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Ann DeLuisa, body double for drug-addled pop star Cherry Pye, is kidnapped by an obsessed paparazzo, and Cherry's entourage must rescue her while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry's public--and from Cherry herself.

Murder at the Vicarage  – David Baldacci
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Miss Jane Marple, spinster sleuth extraordinaire, is introduced in this first mystery to feature her brilliant talents. Here she must use all her intuitive powers to solve the murder of the detested Colonel Protheroe when he is found shot in the local vicar's study.

Mystery Fiction Websites - These websites include information about Mystery novels, authors, reviews of books, and other information specifically for the Mystery reader.

Reviewing the Evidence

Reviewing the evidence provides reviews of Mysteries from the US, UK, and Australia.  

Stop, You’re Killing Me!

Stop, you’re killing me has lists of authors along with all of their books. It also has reviews and recommendations.

Mystery Net

An online community revolving around Mysteries. Includes online stories, games, and information on mystery books.

The Poisoned Pen

An online bookstore with recommendations, reviews, and mystery links.

Cozy Mysteries

Cozy Mysteries is a site devoted to the lighter side of mysteries.

Mystery Ink

Mystery Ink has reviews, author interviews, and more in the world of Mystery novels.

Mystery Fiction Newsletters- If you are interested in receiving mystery fiction news directly in your email inbox, sign up for one of the following newsletters.

Poisoned Pen Newsletter

Newsletter the Poisoned Pen. Has updates and books and authors

Murder by the book

A newsletter that features reviews, news, and more

Stop You’re Killing Me! Newsletter

Newsletter published twice monthly with new authors, characters, 

Mystery Fiction Awards- for more information on award winners, visit the MCLS Book Awards Page (coming soon).

Agatha Awards

The Agatha Awards are named after famed mystery writer, Agatha Christie, and are presented by Malice Domestic. Malice Domestic is an annual mystery fan convention that occurs yearly in Washington DC.

Edgar Awards

The Mystery Writers of America presents the Edgar Allan Poe Awards every year for achievement in the mystery field.

Anthony Awards

The Anthony Awards are presented by the attendees of Bouchercon. They are named for, Anthony Boucher one of the founder of Mystery Writers of America.

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