Cosy Crime Time…

Over the last few weeks, maybe even months, you may have heard me mentioning how my health has been all over the place. This of course has to some extent affected my reading, as while I have had more time for it in waiting rooms and on long bus journeys etc my mind hasn’t been able to concentrate on it in quite the way it should. Not quite readers block exactly more a reading head fog. Anyway this week saw the final results come in and it wasn’t the best news but it wasn’t the worse, it seems a certain bunch of evil cells (and you all know what I am getting at here) have set up home in my colon and over the next week we will be seeing what can be done (more procedures) and where we go next. I didn’t know if I should make this big news as a) I like to keep the blog positive b) I don’t want other people worrying c) I’m never sure how much sharing is too much sharing on the blogosphere?

Anyway, in general I’m doing ok with it all and dealing with it all in bits whilst remaining in quite a positive place. I finally feel like I know what I am dealing with and though its not great we aren’t at curtains just yet plus after having felt so sick over the last few months with no answer I now know it wasn’t just all in my head. I will admit though that I think for the next few days it’s going to need to be a time where I, through whims of course, turn to some comfort reading and one particular genre is calling out to me…

…Those lovely cosy crime novels. I have sifted through some of the many boxes of books in the house and come up with a delightful collection that are going straight on my bedside table for some fun reading times ahead. Some of them are old favourites like the wonderful Agatha Raisin, who I have also been listening to lately and really enjoying, plus some of the Edwardian M.C. Beaton mysteries that have recently been republished with lovely (rather camply fabulous I think) new covers. I am also going to crack on with a whole new series and author Lesley Cookman (though I know her through the Green Carnation Prize I have never read any of her books till now) which I seem to have managed to randomly get the whole ‘Libby Sarjeant’ series of after a trip away this week which I will be reporting back on tomorrow.

It looks like I have some marvellous murders ahead doesn’t it? I know I have some about a crime fighting cat; I just haven’t been able to locate those yet. I’ll have to have another hunt when I re-box my books that have started to go a bit curled in the garage. Which cosy crime novels do you turn to now and again? Any you would recommend I seek out I might have missed?

39 Comments

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39 responses to “Cosy Crime Time…

  1. Hi Simon. I’m so sorry to hear that you have been unwell and of the diagnosis. I have a friend who has been suffering with pain in his side for a year now and has been back and forth for tests and he still has no answer. A colonoscopy is next and we hope that there will be a conclusion to this soon. I sympathise with you and hope that you will start to get better soon.
    Re cosies: I am also a fan of Agatha Raisin, though I have found the writing quality has become more simplistic in the later novels. However, listening to the novels narrated by Penelope Keith is just the thing.
    I’ve also read the Edwardian Murder Mysteries that you have displayed in your pic and enjoyed the first two. Again, writing quality seems to change in the later books but they’re a quick read.
    I’ve read one Lesley Cookman so far (Murder in Midwinter) which was pleasant, especially since I know the area that the novels are set in.
    Other cosy crime series I’d recommend are Simon Brett’s Fethering Mysteries, his excellent Mrs Pargeter’s series (only 6 books and available second-hand), L. C. Tyler’s Elsie and Ethelred mysteries, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs (although dealing with more serious matters, i.e after WWI) and a recent find, Suzette A. Hill’s Rev. Francis Oughterard mysteries which include short entries from a cat and dog who share their thoughts with you. It’s not always a whodunnit and the hero is more of an anti-hero, but I found the two books light and funny and quite well-written. The cat and dog bits are done quite convincingly.
    By the way, I am holding a book giveaway on my blog. Please do pop over and add your name if you fancy the book 🙂
    Best wishes!

  2. Snobbery with Violence. Love it.

  3. Snobbery with Violence and Hasty Death have great covers! I don’t know if it’s your sort of thing but the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley is really good if you don’t mind an 11 year old protagonist.

  4. Simon, I’m so sorry to hear about the diagnosis. At the same time, as you say, it’s good to know what the problem is and be able to deal with something specific rather than an unknown. Stay positive and know that we are all here, thinking of you. Don’t feel you need to keep it to yourself! We are all real people behind our blog pages and we care and want to support you.

  5. Sorry to hear the diagnosis wasn’t as good as you hoped it would be, but at least you are out of that dreadful not knowing phase. I’m afraid I can’t help with the cosies as I haven’t read any of them, but I hope you enjoying solving all those crimes 🙂

  6. Dot

    Sorry to hear about the diagnosis Simon, I hope that you feel better soon, at least they know what they are dealing with now. I think cosy comfort reading is the best idea, hope they do the trick, M.C. Beaton always works for me!

  7. Jo

    Thoughts go out to you regarding your health. However, at least they know what they and you are dealing with. I always think that is a good start.

    I like Agatha Raisin, though I have not read any of Beaton’s Edwardian books, but they are on my wish list.

    I can also recommend Fethering Books by Simon Brett, Royal Spyness Mysteries by Rhys Bowen. Carola Dunn and her Daisy Dalrymple are good cosy ones as well. Just reviewed the first one on my blog in recent days. I will be reading more of these. James Anderson, Burford Family mysteries are quite good as well.

    I am not sure if I have read any Lesley Cookman but they sound good as well.

    Hope this has given you some ideas Simon.Happy cosy reading.

  8. I’ve never read any of these books but they do sound just the thing for comfort reads. I’m glad you are out of the uncertainty even though you’d obviously have preferred a rather different diagnosis. Wishing you all the very best.

  9. Sorry to hear about the diagnosis Simon. Sounds like you have some good comfort reading lined up, hope it will be a good help.
    This autumn a very close member of my family went through the same. It was a difficult time but now it seems like a distant nightmare and life is back to happy normal. Sending you lots of support!

  10. I’m sorry to hear about your health concerns. I think you can share as much as you want. Take care:-)

  11. lizzysiddal

    Take care, Simon. I think you may enjoy reading Teresa Solana’s satirical mysteries set in Barcelona.

  12. Caroline S

    I still haven’t read any Agatha Raison but I really enjoy M.C.Beaton’s Hamish MacBeth books which are also light,fun crime reads and can reccomend them.

    Hope your health issues are resolved quickly.
    Caroline

  13. Thinking of you, Simon, and wishing you all the best.

  14. Simon – I’m so glad you let us know what is going on with you. I’ve been worried for quite some time.

    I am absolutely the same way about cozy mysteries, and those look fab. The two bottom covers are really great.

    Enjoy and take care of yourself. I will certainly be thinking of you. – jenn

  15. Hello Simon. Like everyone else I am sorry to hear your health news. If it helps to talk about it here then you should; if it doesn’t help then you shouldn’t. It’s your blog, so it’s your choice. No one is forcing us to read your thoughts. We can choose which bits to read and which to skip, according to mood, interest or simply the amount of time available.

    Personally I do worry sometimes about this strange new world in which we might know a lot about relative strangers many miles away without even knowing the name of the family three doors away, but that’s why I don’t maintain a blog myself (tweeting aside): I’d end up giving too much away! You really don’t need to know that I am a part-time ostrich farmer, with an extensive collection of Barry Manilow records, who regularly talks to himself in public places. Just joking, none of those things are true.

    It seems you are not alone in turning to crime fiction for comfort. Apparently, crime dominated the list of most borrowed books for UK libraries in 2010. It is now a very wide genre, but even at the darker end of its spectrum I think we take comfort from the sense of mysteries being solved and bad guys (or gals) being apprehended.

    If you want to combine comfort mysteries with your bibliomania, then you might like Ian Sansom’s mobile library series. I wasn’t over enthusiastic about the first of these myself – humour is so subjective – but it might work for you.

    Wishing you a full and speedy recovery.

    David

  16. Sue

    Just read the MC Beaton Edwardian series. Very light but enjoyable. Have you read any of the Laurie R King Mary Russell books? Sherlock Holmes gets a new apprentice – very very enjoyable.

  17. Simon – so sorry to hear about your diagnosis but agree with other comments – at least you know what “it” is and are doing something about it. I hope you feel comfortable and confident in the medical professionals who are attending to you.

    I also agree with David – this is your blog so share whatever helps. I have gone through a horrible tragedy almost 2 years ago and blogging about it has literally saved me. The other two things (besides the love and support of family and friends) are reading and journaling. So I know books will be of comfort to you – probably in unexpected ways.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you….

  18. So sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Here’s hoping your treatment and recovery is quick and that you stay in that “positive place”. M.C. Beaton always perks me up, or good ol’ Agatha Raisin riles me up! I just love to be infuriated by her. ha! I haven’t tried Beaton’s Edwardians – must do that.

    I’m a praying sort, so will do so, and keep positive thoughts crossing the ocean and through the blogosphere.

  19. ana

    Another praying sort here, promising my best efforts for you. A prescription of a little crime novel reading is a wonderful one. Taken regularly it should deliver a range of benefits. Soak them up! And feel all the support and care that’s there for you among your blogging friends.

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  21. Simon, I’m so pleased there’s at least a diagnosis. I shall be thinking of you all the time (was, anyway) and sending positive thoughts. Sounds like a lovely day with Paul – wish I could have been there.

    And thanks for the plug. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but I hope they help.

    Much love
    Lesley x

  22. gaskella

    Courage, mon brave. Seriously, we’re all here if you need to talk, and I hope treatment gets sorted out really soon so that you can be on the road to recovery. Enjoy your cosy reading – sounds just the ticket.
    Big Hugs
    Annabel
    x

  23. Glad to hear that the docs — and you — now know what you are dealing with, it’s the not knowing which is the worst. Here’s to some effective treatment and a speedy return to full health! 🙂

  24. novelinsights

    Oh I’m dreadful for cosy crime recommendation as I only like grim crime, and I know you’re already onto Agatha Raisin because you introduced me to her!

    You know I’m always thinking of you, and the thing to do now is focus on getting better and do exactly what you have been doing getting out and about with friends, fresh-air and keep yourself moving. Not a praying type myself, I have asked my Nan to add you to her prayers. I know it’s strange, but I believe that hers are effective. And I’ll be here for practical Polly purposes as usual.
    xxx

  25. There is truly nothing better to occupy the mind than a good crime novel. Especially when you need the distraction. I have finally given in and am beginning to first Steig Larson, Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. And my old favorites, any Dick Francis Novel will do me fine.
    Warm wishes heading your way over the next few weeks x

  26. I’m glad that you finally know what is happening with your health. Not knowing is hard. My thoughts are with you Simon. For cosy recommendations, I’ll put forward Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. Lots of fun.

  27. You seem to be taking it all in a commendably good frame of mind, so all I will say is keep it up.

    Cosy crime is not really my thing but I did enjoy some M. C. Beaton a while back.

  28. Simon, I’m so sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I agree with David Nolan. Write about it here if it helps you to deal with the whole thing. We can decide for ourselves if we want to read it. I’m thinking of you and I hope they will make you better soon. Take care.

  29. You have been in my thoughts over the past few months, Simon, and I hope that this diagnosis will finally allow you to receive proper treatment and will lead to a full recovery!

    I love the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. It’s set in the heyday of Egyptology so it’s a wonderful escape. Also just finished the third Alan Bradley/Flavia de Luce novel and it might be the best of the bunch. Absolutely wonderful!

  30. Simon, I’m so sorry to hear your news and I AM the praying type so you are in my thoughts and I’m sending big hugs to a fellow book bogger with love.

    I always find that you can’t go wrong with an Agatha Christie for cost crime – seriously, she is da bomb of cosy crime!

    Oh, and if you find those crime fighting cat books I INSIST that you let me know – I can’t think of anythiing more perfect!

  31. teadevotee

    Dear Simon, so sorry to hear of your diagnosis, perhaps (I can only imagine) knowing what you are up against is a step forward from the uncertainty. Wishing you all the very best, Lyndsey

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  33. Mary

    I’m very sorry to read of health blow news, and wish you well!

    As for comfort reads, as regards murder mysteries then I’ve recently turned to reading some of these too. I particularly enjoyed those set in Edwardian times, and if you do too, you might like Patricia Wentworth’s novels and also Dorothy L Sayers’ (“The Nine Taylors” is brilliant).

    Another huge favourite book of mine is by Francis Brett Young called “A Man About the House”. It is absolutely nothing to do with the old comedy series on TV, but has a fantastically wicked, but wholly believable, villain in it, and is so well written. I think it was made into a film in the 1940s, but really feel it would deserve a fresh version made of it – hopefully by someone like Merchant-Ivory.

    Otherwise, I do love the Mapp & Lucia novels of E F Benson – who I see you already have on your list. They never fail to lift my spirits.

  34. Simon, I’m so late catching up on the news…I had to work backwards via your links to get here, but wishing you gentle days and if it’s any comfort I do know that the outcomes for this are really excellent now, new diagnostic techniques mean it’s being caught in the very early stages. I have a friend whose hubby had surgery just before Christmas and he bounced back very quickly indeed x

  35. The Patricia Wentworth books, with the redoubtable Miss Silver, whom I always liked more than Miss Marple, her contemporary, aren’t Edwardian, but go through from the late twenties to the fifties – she never ages, though!

    I re-read Sayers regularly, again, not Edwardian, but Golden Age, and Margery Allingham. Have just been reading her last Campion books. And, of course, the superb Ngaio Marsh, whom I re-read every year. I read all of these from the age of about nine when my parents let me loose on their bookshelves. Thinks – could this be why I write mysteries?

    Hope you’re feeling bobbish, Simon. Love to Paul if you see him.

  36. Jane

    I am new to your blog, but can see so much that appeals. Very very best wishes on the health front,
    Jane

  37. Nic

    Really sorry to hear about the diagnosis, even if it does remove the agony of waiting.

    My comfort reading tends to be a large fantasy tome from an author I enjoy but don’t have to concentrate on too much. Reading one at the moment, actually – Jacqueline Carey.

    But I do enjoy procedurals as comfort TV; not necessarily crime – I’m thinking of something like House. Doesn’t require a lot of brainpower, but very moreish.

  38. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all of you thoughts, comments and emails. Its meant so much to me and you have all been marvellous. I am doing ok, have given you a small update this weekend but more will follow I promise.

  39. I have just read my first book in the Agatha Raisin Series, absolutely fantastic, I loved it and I am looking forward to reading more in the series, have a look at my blog and see if you agree – http://hazellcottrell.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/book-review-agatha-raisin-the-potted-gardener-by-m-c-beaton/
    Would you recommend any similar authors?

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