Mystery

  •  Funny Television

    There are a lot of good reasons to read, and many of them are important reasons: it develops empathy, it encourages creativity, it makes you a more informed and thoughtful citizen, it reduces stress, it builds your critical thinking skills, etc. All of that is wonderful, but there's another, often ignored reason why reading a lot is great - it makes pop culture more fun.

    Once you start watching for them, you'll notice literary references all over the place, and one of my favorite feelings is watching a sitcom and catching a joke I would have missed if I hadn't read a particular book recently. These are just a few of my favorite bookish jokes from recent TV shows.

    NEW GIRL (Episode 1.21 "Kids")

    Referencing: BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
    By Katherine Paterson
    (1977)

    Jess's day bonding with her boyfriend's daughter is ruined thanks to Nick.

     New Girl 2

     
     

    PARKS AND RECREATION (Episode 6.8 "Flouride")

    Referencing: MOBY DICK
    By Herman Melville
    (1851)

    Chris reads too much into Ron's woodworking lesson.

     
     

    BROOKLYN 99 (Episode 1.15 "Operation: Broken Feather")

    Referencing: OTHELLO
    By William Shakespeare
    (1622)

    Amy reveals that she's considering a job in another precint, and Jake feels betrayed.

    Brooklyn 99

     
     

    HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (Episode 7.3 “Ducky Tie”)

    Referencing: THE MILLENNIUM TRILOGY
    By Stieg Larsson
    (2008 - 2010)

    Ted: Oh, guess who I ran into. A girl from my past. Any guesses?

    Lily: Stella.

    Barney: Zoey

    Marshall: Karen?

    Lily: The girl who beat you up.

    Barney: The girl who ruined a photo with Slash!

    Marshall: The girl who made you get the butterfly tattoo?

    Ted: You make it sound like I've dated a series of Stieg Larsson novels.

     
     

    THE MINDY PROJECT (Episode 1.4 "Halloween)

    Referencing: TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY
    By John Le Carré
    (1974)

    Hoping to impress her new boyfriend, Mindy dresses in a series of punny Halloween costumes.

    Tinkerbell

    Tinkerbell Tailor Soldier Spy  
     
     

    Referencing: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
    By J.K. Rowling
    (1997)

    Dirty Harry Potter

    Dirty Harry Potter
      

    Referencing: LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE
    By Laura Ingalls Wilder
    (1935)

    Lil Wayne on the Prairie

     Lil' Wayne on the Prairie 
     

    THE GOOD PLACE (Episode 1.3 "Tahani Al-Jamil")

    Referencing: The works of Plato and Aristotle

    Chidi spends weeks trying to teach Eleanor the history of philosophy, hoping that an understanding of ethics will help her keep her spot in The Good Place. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be sinking in.

    Plato

     

    GILMORE GIRLS (Episode 4.22 "Raincoats and Recipes")

    Referencing: THE LORD OF THE RINGS
    By J.R.R. Tolkien
    (1954)

    Lorelai’s not sure if her “will-they-won’t they” relationship with Luke has actually turned into something after he’s asked her to a movie and to his sister’s wedding.

    Bonus joke: In Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Rory has taken on running the Star's Hollow Gazette only to find the staff aren't especially efficient. When Ethel refuses to answer the phone because she's busy with paperwork, Rory replies: “I don’t want to say you’ve been filing that same piece of paper for a long time, but when you started, Nora Ephron felt good about her neck.”

     
     

    FRIENDS (Episode 3.13 "The One Where Monica and Richard are Just Friends")

    Referencing: LITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    Referencing: THE SHINING
    By Stephen King
    (1977)

    After Rachel finds Joey's copy of THE SHINING in the freezer (where he puts it when things get too scary), they agree to swap favorite books. She'll read THE SHINING if he'll read LITTLE WOMEN.

    Scary Little

     
     

    Things are going great until Joey accidentally reveals major spoilers.

    Friends

     
     
    Once again, things get a little too scary.

     

    UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT (Episode 1.11 "Kimmy Rides a Bike!"

    Referencing: THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
    By Michael Crichton
    (1969)

    "Reverend" Richard Wayne Gary Wayne unexpectedly wins over the jury while on trial for Kimmy's kidnapping.

    Good Book

     
     
  • Book Blind Date

    We have all been there: caught by the intrigue, longing for the the possibility for love. Or just the next good read. After an excursion out to the bookshop, you carry the small stack of books you decided to buy and stand in line for the cashier. Your eyes wander, naturally still looking, and they notice a stand of what appears to be books entirely wrapped in brown butcher paper.  A piece of twine warps around the edges and makes a perfect bow on the fronts. In black marker, bullet points are listed, telling you three random details about the book hidden underneath. All you must do is go up to the counter, purchase the mystery, and start your next adventure.

    But do those kinds of dates ever really work out?

    Personally, I have never been able to commit to a blind date with a book.  It’s always seemed like a lot of commitment for a book I don’t even know. Right?

    That’s why our blind date with a book series is going to work a bit differently. If you find that you are interested in one of the fabulous mystery books below, click the link and it’ll take you start to its catalog page. There you can come face to face with the book you’ve chosen and truly decide if it is the one that you have been longing for. All the intrigue with none of the worries.

    Now, I hope you and your book have good time! 

    BLIND DATE #1

    • Murder mystery
    • First-person narrator
    • Quick read
    • Just wait until the end…

    BLIND DATE #2

    • Time travel
    • Female protagonist
    • Fast paced with plenty of action and danger
    • And who is that stranger anyway?

    BLIND DATE #3

    • Nonfiction
    • Underdogs
    • Redefining Success
    • What if our weaknesses give us an advantage?

    BLIND DATE # 4

    • Regency romance
    • Utah author
    • Difficult mothers
    • Childhood friends.
    • Will they find love?

    So, which did you choose?

    6.7 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd#1: THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD
    By Agatha Christie
    (1926)

     

    6.7 Lightning#2: LIGHTNING
    By Dean R. Koontz
    (1988)

     

    6.7 David and Goliath#3: DAVID AND GOLIATH
    By Malcolm Gladwell
    (2015)

     

    6.7 Blackmoore#4: BLACKMOORE
    By Julianne Donaldson
    (2015)

     
  •  scottish mysteries

    It could be because I miss living in Scotland, but I've been drawn to books with Scottish narrators lately, and since I'm a mystery fan, I've found myself listening to Scottish mysteries. Whether you like the cozy stories or tough detectives, there's a series here for every mystery reader.

     

    5.25 Death of a GossipDEATH OF A GOSSIP
    by M.C. Beaton
    1985

    Constable Hamish MacBeth investigates the murder of Lady Jane Hamilton who has a nasty habit of digging up dirt on the residents and guests of Lochdubh. 

     

    5.25 Raven BlackRAVEN BLACK
    by Ann Cleeves
    2006

    When the body of a teenage girl turns up on the Shetland Islands, Inspector Jimmy Perez launches an investigation into the killing, taking him into the heart of sinister secrets from the past. 

     

    5.25 The Sunday Philosphy ClubTHE SUNDAY PHILOSOPHY CLUB
    by Alexander McCall Smith
    2004

    When Isabel Dalhousie witnesses the death of a young man falling from the balcony of the Edinburgh concert hall, she decides to take it upon herself to solve the murder. 

     

    5.25 Resurrection MenRESURRECTION MEN
    by Ian Rankin
    (2001)

    Sent to a rehabilitation school after a serious mistake, Inspector John Rebus discovers that his classmates are plotting a drug heist and might be connected to Detective Sergeant Siobhan Clarke's investigation to an art dealer's murder. 

     

    5.25 A Wee Murder in My ShopWEE MURDER IN MY SHOP
    by Fran Stewart
    (2015)

    While searching for hidden treasures in the Scottish Highlands, shop owner Peggy Winn purchases an old tartan shawl that unexpectedly comes with the ghost of a 14th-century Scotsman, who, once she returns to Vermont, helps her discover who murdered her ex-boyfriend.

     
  •  junior mysteries

    Last year I went to different schools around Salt Lake doing book fairs. It was a dream and a panic induced nightmare because while I was excited to tell the students about all the books we had available, it also meant that I was expected to know a lot of books in all the genres. (Not much has changed in my current librarian position.)

    Unfortunately no one has asked me for mystery suggestions lately, so I am offering them to you now. These are some of my favorite mysteries which we had at the book fair that are also at the Provo Library!

    4.27 HostageHOSTAGE
    By Willo Davis Roberts
    (2016)

    Kaci comes home in the middle of the school day to find her house getting robbed. The thieves take her hostage and when her nosy neighbor suspects something is wrong and starts nosing around the outside, she gets taken as well. Kaci discovers that her neighbor has more to offer than spying on her neighbors and they must band together to escape.

    Willo Davis Roberts has written a slew of other mysteries that also includes Babysitting is a Dangerous Game. I really enjoyed both of these and would absolutely recommend her. She does a great job creating suspense without it being too intense. 

     
     

    4.27 Tell Tale StartTELL TALE START: THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLEN POE
    By Gordon McAlpine
    (2013)

    Think the Weasley twins. Ultimate tricksters who are able to read each other’s minds. In the first chapter Edgar and Allan Poe get kicked out of school for some legendary pranks. When their beloved cat is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, they convince their guardians to take them on a road trip. Mayhem and mysteries ensue as they go on their adventure as well as more questions. This series has great witty banter and fun literary references.

     
     
     

    4.27 Wait till Helen ComesWAIT TILL HELEN COMES: A GHOST STORY
    By Mary Downing Hahn
    (1986)

    Twelve year old Molly is not happy when her mother remarries and is less thrilled that they are moving into an old converted church. The graveyard behind the church gives Molly the creeps, but her new stepsister Heather is drawn to it. Heather meets a lonely ghost who realizes that she doesn’t have to be lonely if she lures the lonely Heather to a similar death. It is up to Molly to thwart Helen’s plan.

     
     
     

    4.27 Friday BarnesFRIDAY BARNES, GIRL DETECTIVE
    By RA Spratt
    (2016)

    Friday Barnes, girl genius, solves a bank robbery and decides to use her reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country- and discovers a hotbed of crime! She starts investigating cases from disappearing homework to a yeti haunting the school swamp.

    It’s a great book full of mystery, adventure and great characters.

     
     
     

    4.27 Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieSWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    By Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    11 year old Flavia de Luce loves chemistry and poisons. In the summer of 1950 in a sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey, a dead bird is found on her doorstep with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and sees him take his last dying breath. Flavia is appalled and delighted and decides she’s going to follow the clues and solve the crime herself, to help the police of course.

    This is a brilliant series with a clever protagonist that uses the fact that she’s 11 to sneak her way through her village to solve the mysteries.

    The 9th book “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” came out the end of January. This book is technically not in junior or YA fiction. It’s regular adult mystery, but I still can’t help but recommend it to older readers that have an interest 

     
  • Librarian Sleuths

    You can be quite sure that librarians love books. For most of us, books are what drew us to a library career in the first place. We like to read books, talk about books, recommend books, and find great books to buy for the library. If you read the bios of Provo City librarians, you can see that we have a lot of other interests, too: we travel, sew, play Minecraft, cook, go to Comic Con, love pets. 

    Most of us also find that hunting down a hard to find piece of information is part of the thrill of being a librarian, too.  The information age has made research even more interesting and challenging. With so many resources available librarians have an essential role in sorting through the 2,900,000 Google results you get from a query like “What happens when you swallow a piece of gum?” And we can provide access to high quality information in resources the library subscribes to on behalf of our patrons and teach search strategies for using them.

    Since librarians are such interesting people, with skills for hunting down information from a variety of sources, it’s no wonder that a few smart authors have turned librarians into crime solvers.  Combine all our interests and talents with stumbling onto a crime scene and suddenly your local librarian can become a private investigator, too. Here are some of my favorite librarian sleuths:

    BOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING
    by Jenn McKinlay
    (2011) 

    Author Jenn McKinlay has a degree in library science. So she isn’t making it up when she puts in details about libraries and the work librarians do.  Lindsey Norris, the star in McKinley’s Library Lover’s mystery series, is director of Briar Creek Public Library in Briar Creek, Connecticut.  She loves crafts, has a dog named Heathcliff who eats cookies, and her best friend is Beth, the Teen and Children’s librarian. She uses long words like pteromerhanophobia and makes insider jokes about being a librarian such as “working in a library must be lovely because it is so quiet.”

    SEW DEADLY
    by Elizabeth Lynn Casey
    (2009) 

    Elizabeth Lynn Casey features librarian Tori Sinclair in her Southern Sewing Circle series. Tori is a recently divorced Yankee transplant to Sweet Briar, South Carolina and works at the Sweet Briar Public Library.  She is slowly getting to know members of the community as they come in to the library. And her new friends in the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle fill her in on local gossip and help her solve mysteries. 

    REAL MURDERS
    by Charlaine Harris
    (1990) 

    Librarian “Roe” Teagarden is the sleuth in Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series. Recently widowed, she keeps her house immaculate since the death of her husband. She is famous for helping solve the mystery of a serial killer in Lawrenceton, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. She is a member of a local club called Real Murders, which meets once a month to discuss famous crimes.

    LENDING A PAW
    by Laurie Cass
    (2013) 

    Laurie Cass portrays librarian Minnie Hamilton as kindhearted, loyal, and resourceful in the Bookmobile Cat Mystery series. Minnie has a degree in Library and Information Science and works as the assistant library director in Chilson, MI. She lives on a houseboat. One of her secret hobbies is spending time in cemeteries where she encountered a stray cat she named Eddie after he followed her home. Because of her passion for sharing books, the library now has a new bookmobile to serve areas outside of the town. Eddie sneaks into the bookmobile, obviously determined to come along for the daily ride. Without Eddie, Minnie would probably never have become involved in murder cases.

    CURIOSITY THRILLED THE CAT
    by Sofie Kelly
    (2011) 

    In author Sofie Kelly’s Magical Cats mysteries, librarian Kathleen Paulson leaves Boston and moves to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, where she is supervising the restoration of the Mayville Heights Free Public Library, a Carnegie Library built in 1912. Along with the building restorations she is updating the collections and computerizing the card catalog. Lucky for her, stray magical cats, Owen and Hercules have insinuated themselves into her life, or she might have found herself behind bars for murder.

  • puntastic titles

    I love a good pun. We have recently been evaluating the mystery section and the titles of cozy mysteries, in particular, frequently feature puns. Below are 10 of my favorites. While I haven’t read any of these books, the titles alone make me want to check them out!

    lord of the wingsLORD OF THE WINGS
    by Donna Andrews
    (2015)

    It's Halloween in Caerphilly and the town has come up with another festival to bring in the tourists. Meg Langslow is heading up the “Goblin Patrol,” there's trouble at the Haunted House, and body parts are being found at the zoo. Meg is once again called in to save the day and solve the crime. (Meg Langslow Mystery #19)

     

     

    seven threadly sinsSEVEN THREADLY SINS
    by Janet Bolin
    (2015)

    Willow Vanderling has never wanted to be a model, yet surprisingly, here she is voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show. But the director, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow. (Threadville Mystery #5)

     

     

     

    arsenic and old cakeARSENIC AND OLD CAKE
    by Jacklyn Brady
    (2012)

    Cake shop owner Rita Lucero agrees to help blind trumpet player Old Dog Leg Magee solve a family mystery, and, while undercover at a bed-and-breakfast with Cajun bartender Gabriel Broussard, finds more than one mystery to solve. (Piece of Cake Mystery #3)

     

     

     

    silence of the llamas

    THE SILENCE OF THE LLAMAS
    by Anne Canadeo
    (2013)

    The Black Sheep Knitters attend a thread and fiber festival and end up investigating an attack against the local llamas in this fifth title in the charming mystery series, with bonus recipes and knitting ideas. (BlackSheep Knitting Mystery #5)

     

     

     

    rest in pizzaREST IN PIZZA
    by Chris Cavender
    (2012)

    Cozy towns like Timber Ridge—the home of Eleanor Swift's delectable pizzeria, A Slice of Delight—don't take well to prima donna celebrities. So no one is pleased when famous chef Antonio Benet roars into town for a book signing and insults Eleanor, her saucy sister Maddie, and everyone else within earshot.Insults are one thing, however...but a cold dish of murder is quite another. (Pizza Lovers Mystery #4)

     

     

    from here to paternityFROM HERE TO PATERNITY
    by Jill Churchill
    (1995)

    Jane Jeffry, suburban sleuth extraordinaire, and her friend, Detective Mel VanDyne, have braved a blizzard to join her friend Shelley at a Colorado ski resort. In spite of having all their kids along, Jane and Shelley imagine a few days of relaxation. But their hopes are dashed on their first attempt to ski when Jane careens into a snowman that hides a very real, and very dead, body. (Jane Jeffry Mystery #6)

     

     

    license to quillLICENSE TO QUILL
    by Jacopo Della Quercia
    (2015)

    This is a page-turning James Bond-esque spy thriller starring William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. The story follows the golden age of English espionage, the cold war gripping post-Reformation Europe, the cloak-and-dagger politics of Shakespeare's England, and lastly, the mysterious origins of the Bard's most haunting play: Macbeth. You won't want to miss this fast-paced historical retelling!

     

     

    freezer ill shootFREEZER I’LL SHOOT
    by Victoria Hamilton
    (2013)

    Trying to escape her overbearing mother, vintage kitchenware enthusiast Jaymie Leighton retreats to her family's cottage. While there she hopes to write an article about the Ice House restaurant, owned by good friends and neighbors. One night, Jaymie overhears an argument and, ever the sleuth, sets out to explore. But when she stumbles upon a dead body her blood runs cold. (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #3)

     

     

    crepes of wrathTHE CREPES OF WRATH
    by Tamar Myers
    (2002)

    Magdalena Yoder investigates the murder of Lizzie Mast, the worst cook in peaceful Hernia, Pennsylvania, while coping with an influx of new guests at the PennDutch Inn and a killer who will do anything to stop her from uncovering the truth. (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery #9)

     

     

     

    fleece navidadFLEECE NAVIDAD
    by Maggie Sefton
    (2008)

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the knitters of Fort Connor. Juliet’s new romance has given her an extra reason to be joyful this year. But as soon as she finds happiness, death finds her. Suspicion falls on a newcomer to the knitting group; the crew isn’t convinced of this person’s guilt. It’s up to them to separate the true lion from the lambs before someone else gets fleeced. (Knitting Mystery #6)

     

     

  • Graphic Novels

    It’s okay to have a favorite genre. It’s okay to be afraid to branch out. Though a rare event, I know how bitterly disappointing it is to try a new book and hate it. Such travesty I would not wish upon my worst enemy! (Kidding, I would, #slytherin). That said, I wouldn’t be doing due diligence as a librarian if I didn’t give you a helpful nudge out of your reading rut.  

    May I suggest reading graphic novels?

    “Graphic novels aren’t real books.”

    “Those are just for kids, people should grow out of that.”

    “What’s to read? They’re just pictures with blurbs”

    “I’m not into superheroes or that Japanese stuff.”

    If you had any of these thoughts, please allow me to meme at you for a moment.

    2gzi50

    Don’t be afraid. I’m here to guide you.

    Graphic novels are certainly real books, with character development, rich plotlines, exploratory themes, symbols, morals – you name it, they’ve got it. They aren’t just for kids, though there are titles written for all audiences. And there’s plenty of graphic novels written in all styles and genres, not just superhero comics or “that Japanese stuff” - or as it’s actually called, manga. And sure, you’re allowed to read what you already know you love (that’s one of the joys of reading!), but you’re missing out if you wave off this versatile, engaging medium.

    That’s right, graphic novels are a medium of storytelling, not a genre. Understanding this concept breaks many of the misconceptions I mentioned above. The visual component of graphic novels is part of the storytelling. And I don’t mean just the illustrations, but all its facets:  style, color, division of space on the page, panel shapes, panel borders, speech bubbles, captions, and more! Like other novelists write books in verse, prose, letters, journal entries, and more, graphic novel artists use visual elements to best present the story. It’s fascinating to see how different artists employ visual techniques in their story telling!

    Just like traditional novels, graphic novels cross all genres. It’s one of the beauties of the medium! With that said, that can make it hard to know where to start. Here are some suggestions for you:

    Genre: Memoir

    I could really go on and on about graphic memoirs, but I’ll let you explore this past blog post. My first non-manga, non-superhero graphic novel was MAUS, a popular, compelling read that introduces many people to the world of graphic novels. If you want something with a lighter tone, anything by Lucy Knisley (author of RELISH: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN) is an excellent choice. Her friendly, relatable tone and use of light, pastel color palette make her books, especially this one, a great choice for the shy newcomer.

    11.2 MausMAUS I
    by Art Spiegelman
    (1980)

     

    11.2 RelishRELISH: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN
    by Lucy Knisley
    (2013)

     

    Genre: Classics

    11.2 MetamorphosisMETAMORPHOSIS
    by Kafka 
    (2003)

    Kafka’s tales lend themselves so very well to visual interpretation. Acclaimed graphic artist Peter Kuper presents a kinetic illustrated adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Kuper's electric drawings--where American cartooning meets German expressionism--bring Kafka's prose to vivid life, reviving the original story's humor and poignancy in a way that will surprise and delight readers of Kafka and graphic novels alike.

     

    Genre: Magical Realism

    11.2 I Kill GiantsI KILL GIANTS
    by Joe Kelly
    (2008)

     

    Genre: Mystery

    11.2 Girl Over ParisGIRL OVER PARIS
    by Kate Leth
    (2016)

     

    Hopefully I’ve shown you how graphic novels would be a great addition to your to-read list! If you’re interested in reading more, check out this blog post that provides some fun fact and additional reading about graphic novels. And if you want a personalized recommendation, please come see us at the Reference Desk!