It really is no mystery to me as to why I am such a mystery novel junkie. This is the book that started it all. There used to be a book store in Westboro called The Book Corner. It was not unusual to go there on a weekend with Mum & Dad. It was a small bookstore and back in the day, you could let a small child wander the store without fear of predators. Naturally I always went to the kids section first. In June 1977, Dad mentioned that these Nancy Drew books had been around when he was a kid and that he thought that some of his sisters had read some of them. I was intrigued. So on that fateful day a little over thirty years ago, my parents bought me my first mystery novel. I loved those books. I devoured the book, figuring out from the clues what the mystery was all about. It took me a few years, but I went through the whole series.
As I got older, I continued to read some mystery books, but mostly fiction. Then the school years dictated what kinds of books I read for reports.
During the last couple of years I found myself wanting to read something that I could use my brain on. The mystery section called to me in the local Borders. First I found a series by Monica Ferris set in a needlework shop called Crewel World. It is a fabulous series with a wonderful cast of characters. Now I'm to the point that when something bad happens to a beloved character I'm shouting to the book, "Oh no Betsy!" or "Poor Goddy." Since discovering that series, I also found a few other series, the tea shop series by Laura Childs, as well as her scrapbooking series, and the Mrs. Malory mysteries set in a small English village by Hazel Holt.
This past spring I found myself at a terrible crossroads. I had read all my beloved characters stories. Often I look on Amazon to see if one of my favorites has something on the horizon, but back in the spring after reading Laura Childs' Dragonwell Dead, nothing new would be coming out until the autumn. Sigh.
This meant either not reading or finding some new authors. Not reading was not an option for me. My cousin had given me a few Diane Mott Davidson books when her library had thinned out their collection. So I started with the first one, Catering to Nobody and really liked it. I would visit Borders and start at the beginning of the mystery section pulling books off the shelf and reading the first few pages. Either they would grab my attention or they wouldn't. This summer I've discovered some wonderful new (to me) authors Madolyn Alt, Kate Kingsbury, India Ink, Ann Purser and M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin series, not Hamish MacBeth--he doesn't do it for me).
Now I start haunting not only Borders, but the local used bookstores for the titles in the series. The Annie's Book Stop in Marlboro has one of the best mystery sections around. One day I hit a treasure trove of 3 Aggie's, 4 of the Kate Kingsbury books in both the Pennyfoot Hotel as well as the Manor House series, and an Ann Purser.
It's no mystery to me why these books make me happy.