Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'll let you in on a little secret...

I like to think of myself as still being young and at least a tiny bit cool, and because of that most of my reading is of the graphic novel, sci-fi, steampunk sort. But, dear readers, I have recently discovered a new guilty pleasure. I enjoy *looks around furtively* cozy mysteries featuring cheeky ladies of a Certain Age. Promise me you won't tell anyone, I have a reputation to maintain, after all.

It all started with our Blind Date With a Book display in February and a customer challenging me to put my reading hours where my shelf space was. I ended up grabbing Parnell Hall's Arsenic and Old Puzzles: A Puzzle Lady Mystery. This was definitely NOT a book I would have picked up on my own, but I encourage readers to push their boundaries every day so I took it home and just enjoyed the heck out of it. Once again Cora, the Puzzle Lady, is called in to help solve a perplexing series of murders in her small hometown. It begins when a gentlemen of unknown origin has mysteriously died at the local bed and breakfast in a manner evocative of the classic movie Arsenic and Old Lace. While the two elderly spinsters who own the place seem innocent enough, individuals connected with their B&B keep meeting sinister ends. Cora, with the help of her daughter-in-law, follow their noses and a trail of puzzles (by the great puzzle master Will Shortz if you need any other excuse to read these books) to figure out who dunnit. Arsenic and Old Puzzles was a really fun, silly, and quick read and provided an excellent respite between more meaty tomes. This is a series I will definitely continue to read when I need a bit of a break.

More recently I found myself again needing a quick, fun read to lift the spirits so I wandered over to our shelves to see if anything else in this new found genre jumped out at me. I decided to try Antiques Disposal: A Trash 'n' Treasures Mystery by Barbara Allan. Brandy Borne and her colorful (and somewhat infamous) mother Vivian Borne, get drawn into a murder mystery after purchasing the contents of a storage locker at auction. Things get personal when someone breaks into the Borne home searching for an old cornet found in the haul, which leads the mother/daughter team to uncover some of the juicy secrets of the town's most prestigious residents. Like Arsenic and Old Puzzles, I enjoyed the crazy antics of Vivian Borne and had a good time reading this silly romp. Where Hall's books feature puzzles, Allan's have fun tips for those with an interest in antiquing at the end of each chapter. While neither of these series are deep, meaningful literary masterpieces, they are fun, quick reads for when you don't want to think too much and I will probably be going back for more.

So there you go, dear readers, get outside of your comfort zone and pick up a book in a genre different from your usual fare. You might just find that you enjoy things that you would have never given a second glance or, as the Borne ladies might say, you'll find a treasure in something you may have considered trash.

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