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Mess- With- Your- Mind Mysteries

For Adult Mystery Lovers

Adult Mystery Lovers :

10 Mess-With-Your-Mind Mysteries by R.Matthews


Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves

Cleeves, A. (2014). Harbour street. New York, NY: Minotaur Books.

An Intellectual Puzzle Mystery

    Vera Stanhope, is not your typical detective. Approachable, long time member of her British village, whose coworkers are more like family, is not your typical, self-important detective. Her power is the ability to blend in with the villagers. Language is meticulous in detail, without graphic gore, and the perpetrator usually turns out to be a neighbor. Set in Newcastle, next to the Scottish border, a woman is found dead on a train abandoned in a snow storm.  DCI Vera Stanhope, looks into Margaret’s death, a woman whose circumstances are protected by the town locals.  When another is found murdered, Vera, must act fast.  Through Vera’s people skills and her knowledge of every nook and cranny of contemporary Newcastle, she gets right to the heart of the story. 


Moriarty: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz

Horowitz, A. (2014). Moriarty. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Formidable Forensics Mystery

  Unassuming, unmarried Frederick Chase, whose clothes belong in a museum, is an American Pinkerton Detective sent to look into the death of Sherlock Holmes, and arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty at the Reichenbach Falls, Switzerland in 1891.  Moriarty’s death opens up a position for the leader of the largest, underworld ring in Europe.  Chase brings us along, seeing it through the eyes of Sherlock Holmes and Watson.  Fascinating twists and detailed forensics, only a Sherlock Holmes novel could provide, prevails in a breathtaking backdrop.  This book is approved by the Conan Doyle Estate LTD., and is as intriguing in details as the originals.  Everyone is questioning this rather plain American’s motives; even Scotland Yard is there to thwart his efforts.  Will Chase discover the truth?  There is nothing “elementary” about this book.


The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton

Beaton, M.C. (1992). The quiche of death. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

A Cozy Quirky Character Mystery

Meet Londoner Agatha Raisin, a social snob, thrown into the quiet English village of Carsely.  Formerly a high-profile member of a P.R. firm, she finds her life a dour, lonely existence, until the quiche purchased for a local baking contest kills the town’s judge.  She finds herself in the middle of a crime investigation.  Her high-strung, high-maintenance personality lands her in hot water with local police.  No blood- and -guts-details, just the tension she creates among her neighbors as she tries to settle into retirement.  She is constantly trying to get herself out of a jam, whether investigating a murder, or trying to prove she isn’t the perpetrator.  You will find yourself feeling a little sorry for Agatha Raisin, and even laugh at her lack of humility.  Each book of the Agatha Raisin series is short and sweet.


Still Life by Louise Penny

Penny, L. (2005). Still life. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Minotaur.

A Classy Classic Mystery

    The story is nestled in the snow covered hills of Canada, so far off the grid, cell phone coverage is non-existent.   Inspector Gamache brings familiarity through sympathetic and keen observations like Agatha Christie’s Poirot.  Though not as well dressed, with large hands of a laborer, and knees that crackle with age, he never misses a detail.  Gamache finds the body blankly staring.  Jane Neal, an upstanding member of the community, is found in a thicket with a bow through her chest.  With long time friend and colleague, Beauvoir, and a young ambitious detective Nichols vying for his job, Gamache navigates into more sinister waters.  You want to follow Gamache through the breathtaking Canadian mountains of the following books.  More than just a mystery, the language is unhurried, and elegant, even amidst a crime scene.


Open Season by C.J. Box

Box, C.J. (2001). Open season. New York, NY: Berkley Prime Crime.

The Western Way: Crime Does Not Pay Mystery

   An unassuming pocket paperback, chock full of descriptions and angst, brings an unforgettable Wyoming game warden, Joe Pickett.  Everything in this book carries strength-survival, justice, and tenacity.  The bang of rifle fire sets off a chain of events that might keep him from protecting an animal species bound for extinction, as well as lose his entire family.  Through rough terrain, suspense rules rapid-fire decisions-  “When a high-powered rifle bullet hits living flesh it makes a distinctive-pow-Whop-sound that is unmistakable…” (Box, 2001, Prologue). 


One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Evanovich, J. (1994). One for the money. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

An Urban Grime, Life of Crime Mystery

   An ex lingerie buyer falls into employment with her cousin Vinny as a bounty hunter.  Hunting for a dangerous bond-jumper she runs across her first high-school lover, none other than the Police Detective on the case, Morelli.  Set in Trenton, NJ, Stephanie Plum is a whirlwind of curse words and grit. The tension permeates between this seasoned professional with one whose wardrobe consists of stretch pants and hockey jerseys.  Unforgettable characters take center stage, packed full of laugh out-loud antics, passion, and action, in a compact read.  There is much to look forward to, as we can experience these characters through many more novels. 


Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman

Hillerman, T. (2004). Skeleton man. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

An Archaeological Nightmare Mystery

     Joe Leaphorn, previously part of a Special Investigation Department on a Reservation near the Grand Canyon, is forced out of retirement and joins forces with Jim Chee, to figure out how a current and old case intersect.  Skeletons scattered along the canyon cliffs of New Mexico, may hold the key to solving his friend’s death, originally believed to be “of natural causes”:  “…he[Leaphorn] was thinking about how a disaster buried under a lifetime of dust had risen again and the divergent emotions it had stirred” (p. 4).  When an innocent kid, a relative of friend and former colleague, Jim Chee, takes the blame, they join forces to find the real murderer.  Jim Chee puts on his bumbling idiot act, to loosen tongues.   Simple words can be deceiving.  Twists and turns delve deep as these men wrestle with past and present.   Like the Grand Canyon, this novel consists of gritty layers with multilayered levels.


Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Christie, A. (1934). Murder on the orient express. New York, NY: Berkley Books.

Oldie but a Goodie Mystery

     Wealthy gentleman Samuel Ratchett’s knifed corpse is discovered after the Orient Express train is stranded by hills of snow.  Time is of the essence, as Belgian Inspector, Hercule Poirot tries to identify the killer before striking again.  Descriptions reflect the elegant manner in which Poirot proceeds.  This novel requires rumination over delicate details, compact like the people in the box cars.  Typical Agatha Christie style, there is a surprise ending. 


The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Johnson, C. (2005). A cold dish. New York, NY: The Penguin Group.

Justice in the West, Different than the Rest Mystery

     Operating out of an old library building near the edge of Clear Creek in Wyoming, Walt Longmire, long standing Sheriff, looks forward to an uneventful last year until retirement.  His secretary, Ruby, with intimidating eyes, busts into his office, and all heck breaks loose-dead body on the icy contours of the Cheyenne Reservation.  Tensions rise among the Reservation and Walt’s department.  Young Deputy Victoria is still learning the ropes, while best friend, Henry Standing Bear, might be a suspect.  If you want to expand your scenery, hitch a ride with Longmire.  Button up for a wild ride, as justice is best served cold.


Dick Francis’s Damage by Felix Francis

Francis, F. (2014). Damage. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.

Colorful Crime Scene Characters Mystery


    No time to dally in a Dick Francis novel, we are “off to the races” from chapter 1.  Master of disguise investigator, Jeff Hinkley, is sent to trail a shady horse trainer at a British horse race.  It’s just another day on the job, when a bookie goes down with blood streaming down his neck.  While trying to stop thinking about his sister’s serious illness, he must get down and dirty at the racetrack, and keep a criminal from destroying the entire horse racing business.  Plain spoken Hinkley must reach the finish line, before it’s too late.  

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