12 Bloody Good Mysteries—Even for the Faint of Heart

October 27 2015
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As the days get shorter and crisper I always find myself gravitating toward suspenseful detective stories. Something about this genre feels tailor-made for reading curled up with a blanket and a hot drink—but sadistic murders and nonstop violence don’t really fit that cozy mood. Looking to indulge in a bloody good mystery this fall, rather than a bloody one? Check out our list of twelve whodunits for when you want some good old-fashioned sleuthing sans the gore.

The Spellman Files
by Lisa Lutz

The first novel in the winning and hilarious mystery series featuring Izzy Spellman and her highly functioning yet supremely dysfunctional family of private investigators. When Izzy’s sister goes missing, she has to solve the most important case of her life.

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The Spellman Files
Lisa Lutz

“There’s something delightfully endearing about Lisa Lutz’s kinetic and quirky THE SPELLMAN FILES. It reads like a well-scripted television sitcom/family drama and, considering Lutz’s screenwriting background, that vibe makes perfect sense. As soon as I’d finished reading this offbeat novel, I wanted to binge-read the rest of the books in the series.”

Read the full review by Allison Tyler here.

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One for the Money
by Janet Evanovich

The first of Janet Evanovich’s wildly popular novels featuring the dynamite and larger-than-life sleuth Stephanie Plum.

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One for the Money
Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum is a spunky combination of Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry, and — although a female bounty hunter — is the opposite of Domino Harvey. She is described by the author as "incredibly average and yet heroic if necessary."

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Crocodile on the Sandbank
by Elizabeth Peters

In Victorian-era Egypt, feisty and happily unmarried Amelia Peabody tries her hand at archaeology. As she travels the Nile, she encounters mysterious missing mummies and a burly, opinionated archaeologist who wants no help from a woman—but Amelia’s wit and strong will might just change his mind.

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Crocodile on the Sandbank
Elizabeth Peters

In Victorian-era Egypt, feisty and happily unmarried Amelia Peabody tries her hand at archaeology. As she travels the Nile, she encounters mysterious missing mummies and a burly, opinionated archaeologist who wants no help from a woman—but Amelia’s wit and strong will might just change his mind.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
by Joanne Fluke

When the town milkman is found murdered behind Hannah’s bakery surrounded by her famous chocolate chip crunchies, she’s determined to find the killer. Stuffed with wacky characters and sweet recipes, this deliciously suspenseful mystery will keep you guessing until the last bite.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
Joanne Fluke

When the town milkman is found murdered behind Hannah’s bakery surrounded by her famous chocolate chip crunchies, she’s determined to find the killer. Stuffed with wacky characters and sweet recipes, this deliciously suspenseful mystery will keep you guessing until the last bite.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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A Small Death in the Great Glen
by A. D. Scott

In the Highlands of 1950s Scotland, a boy is found dead and two young girls have an unbelievably fanciful explanation for his disappearance. When the local newspaper staff set out to find the truth, the townspeople’s dark pasts threaten to prevent the crime from ever being solved.

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A Small Death in the Great Glen
A. D. Scott

In the Highlands of 1950s Scotland, a boy is found dead and two young girls have an unbelievably fanciful explanation for his disappearance. When the local newspaper staff set out to find the truth, the townspeople’s dark pasts threaten to prevent the crime from ever being solved.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde

In alternate reality England, time travel and cloning are routine and citizens live in a virtual police state. Thanks to a nationwide obsession with literature, Thursday Next makes a comfortable living as a renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when characters begin to go missing from great works of literature, she faces the greatest challenge of her career.

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The Eyre Affair
Jasper Fforde

In alternate reality England, time travel and cloning are routine and citizens live in a virtual police state. Thanks to a nationwide obsession with literature, Thursday Next makes a comfortable living as a renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when characters begin to go missing from great works of literature, she faces the greatest challenge of her career.

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The Sunday Philosophy CLub
by Alexander McCall Smith

At a concert in Edinburgh, amateur detective Isabel witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Against the best advice of her charming cast of friends, Isabel is determined to find out.

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The Sunday Philosophy CLub
Alexander McCall Smith

At a concert in Edinburgh, amateur detective Isabel witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony. Was it an accident or something more sinister? Against the best advice of her charming cast of friends, Isabel is determined to find out.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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Dog On It
by Spencer Quinn

When a panicked mother approaches Bernie Little’s struggling detective agency with a missing person case, he can’t believe his luck. Narrated by Bernie’s canine sidekick Chet, this is a fast-paced tale of adventure, suspense, and the lovable loyalty of man’s best friend.

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Dog On It
Spencer Quinn

When a panicked mother approaches Bernie Little’s struggling detective agency with a missing person case, he can’t believe his luck. Narrated by Bernie’s canine sidekick Chet, this is a fast-paced tale of adventure, suspense, and the lovable loyalty of man’s best friend.

Amazon logo Audible logo Barnes & Noble logo Books a Million logo Google Play logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo Bookshop logo

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Size 12 Is Not Fat
by Meg Cabot

Former pop star Heather is content with her new dress size and job as an assistant dorm director at a New York college. When a girl is discovered dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft in Heather’s residence hall, Heather knows it’s time to get on the case.

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Size 12 Is Not Fat
Meg Cabot

Former pop star Heather is content with her new dress size and job as an assistant dorm director at a New York college. When a girl is discovered dead at the bottom of an elevator shaft in Heather’s residence hall, Heather knows it’s time to get on the case.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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6 Books to Preorder Now for a Perfectly Timed Arrival

By Emily Lewis | January 14, 2022

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By Book Club Favorites | January 13, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 5 Time-Tested Memoirs to Inspire a New You

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 12, 2022

New in Paperback: 10 January Reads to Start the Year Off Right

By Alice Martin | January 11, 2022

7 Lyrical Stories That’ll Take Your Breath Away

By Holly Claytor | January 10, 2022

January eBook Deals: 15 Superb Reads for Your Digital Library

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 7, 2022

Close
First Grave on the Right
by Darynda Jones

Grim reaper Charley Davidson moonlights as a private investigator for the murdered folks she deals with who demand that their killers are brought to justice. Charley’s job is no walk in the park, but it gets even more complicated when a sexy entity starts following her.

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First Grave on the Right
Darynda Jones

Grim reaper Charley Davidson moonlights as a private investigator for the murdered folks she deals with who demand that their killers are brought to justice. Charley’s job is no walk in the park, but it gets even more complicated when a sexy entity starts following her.

Amazon logo Barnes & Noble logo iBooks logo Indiebound logo

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6 Books to Preorder Now for a Perfectly Timed Arrival

By Emily Lewis | January 14, 2022

8 Book Clubs We Admire for Their Excellent Taste in Reading

By Book Club Favorites | January 13, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 5 Time-Tested Memoirs to Inspire a New You

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 12, 2022

New in Paperback: 10 January Reads to Start the Year Off Right

By Alice Martin | January 11, 2022

7 Lyrical Stories That’ll Take Your Breath Away

By Holly Claytor | January 10, 2022

January eBook Deals: 15 Superb Reads for Your Digital Library

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 7, 2022

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