There ARE Modern Mystery Writers for Readers Like Me

headshotJacqueline Vick is the author of over twenty short stories, novelettes and mystery novels. Her April 2010 article for Fido Friendly Magazine, “Calling Canine Clairvoyants”, led to the first Frankie Chandler Pet Psychic mystery, Barking Mad At Murder, followed by A Bird’s Eye View of Murder. Her first Harlow Brothers’ mystery, Civility Rules, is out in ebook format and paperback. To find out more, visit her website at


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I love flinch-free fiction. Think Agatha Christie. Rex Stout. P.G. Wodehouse. I want to enjoy the book I’m currently reading, not suffer from nightmares for weeks after I close the pages.  I’m not interested in a sex manual, and I also don’t need to learn any new dirty words. I don’t want the characters to sound like the squeaking mice from an animated cartoon, but I don’t need to be subjected to a diatribe on __________ (insert cause here .) What’s a girl to do?

Fortunately, after reading my Rex Stout and Agatha Christie collection again for the umpteenth time, I ventured–cautiously–into some new writers. New to me. I was pleasantly surprised, and I’d like to share some of them with you in case you’re looking for a good read.

houndedDave Rosenfeld brings us the Andy Carpenter mysteries. His character is a defense attorney who inherited a pile of wealth, so he spends most of his free time with the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue. The rescue is the launching point for the mystery, such as when a dog is stolen from the foundation only to turn up next to a corpse in Who Let the Dog Out? And yes, I do plan to purchase The Twelve Dogs of Christmas for my holiday reading list.

I daeth-wears-a-maskpicked up Ashley Weaver’s Death Wears a Mask based solely on the cover, so I guess good covers do matter. I found a fun world that revolved around Amory Ames and her playboy husband, Milo. The back cover described it as Agatha Christie updated, and I thought it came close. This is the second book in the series, so I’ll have to go back and start with number one.

I discovered Julia Buckley on a blog. Don’t ask me which one, because I can’t remember. I thought her book sounded intriguing. A writer takes on an apprenticeship with her idol, and the first day there, a dead body turns up on the beach below the house. She reminds me of a slightly restrained Dorothy Cannell (The Thin Woman.)

Robert yankee-peddlerL. Hecker’s Yankee Peddler is more of a farcical social commentary than a mystery, but it’s so funny I had to include it. Ambassador Elizabeth Sullivan Wexford Adams sets out to sell the Litanians on “The American Way.”  Hard to do when these isolated islanders have never heard of the USA.

That’s probably enough to get you started, especially since, if you enjoy the books as I did, you’ll want to read the entire series.

17 thoughts on “There ARE Modern Mystery Writers for Readers Like Me”

  1. Love your phrase, “flinch-free” fiction! Death Wears a Mask caught my eye. On the “old masters” front, revisiting John Dickson Carr. Thanks for the recommendations. (there’s still room on my Kindle, ha!) P.D. James is quoted as saying “Read widely and with discrimination….”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d like to take credit, but I heard it somewhere else. I’m not sure if it’s John Dickson Carr or when he writes as Carter Dickson, but in the earlier books, I got tired out from all the shouting. “Hello! Mary! So nice to see you!” I think that’s just the earlier ones, though. Nothing like a good locked room mystery!

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  2. I,too, want to be entertained, not told what to think. And I don’t need a How To manual. The author can throw in a recipe, but that’s about all. I would rather enjoy the story and the people and the location. That’s more than enough. I did enjoy Robert Hecker’s book and read a few others by him. Loved them. I read the dog-mystery on your recommendation and enjoyed it. I’ll have to try a few others. There are a lot of good books out there, but sometimes we need somebody to point out the ones that hit the mark. Thanks for the list.

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  3. I really like the term “flinch-free fiction” as well as the kind of story it describes. Cozy mysteries, and others that tell a good story without detailed and disturbing descriptionss, tend to engage me, especially those with dogs!

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    1. Another cool phrase, Linda. “detailed and disturbing descriptions.” I think I’ve read all but the newest David Rosenfelt books. Would love to have his money to open a kitty shelter.

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  4. I know what you mean about having read novels and then suffering from nightmares after having closed the pages. Who needs that kind of stress? I’d rather read cozy mysteries like the ones you mentioned. Like you, I’ve also read all the Agatha Christie mysteries, but have you read her psychological romance novels, written under Mary Westmacott? I have and believe me, they’re like nothing you’ve ever read before. Very powerful. And they WILL give you nightmares. I was depressed for days after I finished each one of them.

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  5. I’m with you, Jackie. No flinches, cringes or shudders! I would add the Chet & Bernie mystery series, although they’re not quite cozies but the bloodstains are minimal (or I’ve just gotten jaded) and there’s always a satisfying ending. And the narrator is a DOG!!

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    1. Love, love, love the Chet & Bernie mysteries – even the short story (novella?) about the cat. I listen to them on audio books and really hope they never change the narrator. Just the sound of his first words evokes Chet SO WELL in my mind! I recommend listening to them, if you get a chance. Also…. Madeline Gornell has audio recorded Lies of Convenience. I’ve got it and can’t wait to hear her narrator!

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  6. Like my fellow-bloggers, I love the ‘flinch-free’ comment. Neither do I want a manual, or force-fed views. I like ‘a good yarn’ and to be transported into another world, another life. So, thanks Jacquie for more reading suggestions – more for my kindle…


  7. Hi Jaqueline! After reading a guest post I wrote about Literally Dead, the newest book in my Empty Nest Mystery series, Jackie Houchin suggested I check out your post. I’m not familiar with some of the books you recommended and will have to check them out.

    Liked by 1 person

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