Many book clubs choose novels that deal with serious issues, grappling with strong emotions and the darkness of the human heart. After several books like this, though, sometimes you need a break. You need something lighter, something fun. That’s why I’ve asked these authors to tell us a bit about their humorous mysteries. Wouldn’t a great mystery with some laughs be perfect to pair with something bubbly at your next book club?
Many thanks to these authors who stopped by to tell a bit about their books and why they’d make a great choice for your next book club discussion.
Wanna Get Lucky?
by Deborah Coonts
Everyone has a hidden talent. For Lucky O’Toole it’s murder . . . solving it. Surviving in Sin City takes cunning, a pair of five-inch heels, and a wiseass attitude. Lucky has mastered them all and has a pair of legs she uses to kick butt and turn heads. As the Chief Problem Solver for the Babylon, Las Vegas’s most over-the-top destination, mischief is in her job description. She’s good at her job. She’s less good at life. But who has time for a life when there’s a killer on the loose?
A funny, light read with deeper themes of personal growth, the challenges of family and career, and the always intriguing city of Las Vegas, Wanna Get Lucky? was praised by New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs as “funny, fast-paced, exuberant and brilliantly realized.”
Class Reunions Are Murder
by Libby Klein
Poppy McAllister is in a depressed funk when she's summoned to attend her 25th high school reunion to help her best friend face off against the bullies who made their lives miserable. Poppy packs her loopy cat Figaro, and heads to her home town of Cape May, NJ, where she finds that things with her great Aunt Ginny aren't as ducky as she remembers. The night of the reunion she finds the dead body of one of the bullies lying in front of her old locker, then another bully arrests her for the murder.
Class Reunions Are Murder is a fun, funny read that touches on several social issues: Bullying, fat shaming, body acceptance, senility, aging, and falling in love the second time around.
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc
by Jennifer Kincheloe
It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world, women are not allowed to hunt criminals.
This "I Love Lucy meets Agatha Christie adventure" details a young woman's journey from sheltered socialite to crime-solving police matron. It's a genre-busting mix of humor, mystery, history, and romance with a controversial heroine who is sure to spark discussion.
Your Killin’ Heart
by Peggy O'Neal Peden
Campbell Hale tags along when her attorney friend Doug Elliott retrieves paintings from the home of the widow of country music legend, Jake Miller. Alone for a few minutes, Campbell wanders down a hallway, opens a door, and finds herself in a bedroom where a woman lies perfectly still, asleep. Do the curtains flutter? When Hazel Miller is later found dead in her bed, Campbell realizes she may have been the last person to see the woman alive. Single father and homicide detective Sam Davis must find the killer and keep Campbell from becoming the next victim.
With humor and rich Nashville settings, Your Killin' Heart follows Campbell and Sam as they explore the complicated lives of legendary country stars and their families as well as their own developing relationship.
The Good Byline
by Jill Orr
Meet Riley Ellison, a quirky young library assistant with an odd habit of living vicariously through people she reads about in the obituary pages. It hits a little too close to home when she is asked to write one for her childhood best friend, Jordan James, whose unexpected suicide has left Riley desperate to understand why a young woman with so much to live for would take her own life.
Things get messy, however, when Jordan’s co-worker convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?
The unique premise opens up many avenues for conversation regarding the meaning of one’s life and what’s left after we move on, allowing for weightier conversation, though the book itself is a funny and fast-paced read.
by Catriona McPherson
Scottish therapist, Lexy Campbell, married after a whirlwind romance and moved to California. Six months later she's divorced, broke, and headed home. But as she leaves for the airport she discovers that her client, eighty-six-year-old Mrs. Bombaro, is in jail for murdering her husband. Lexy thinks the cops have got it wrong and checks into the Last Ditch Motel (the only place in town she can afford) to try to find the true killer.
This book gives a stranger's eye view of American life and culture, allowing discussion of American norms and travelers' tales of other places. The motel residents and the way they live opens up questions about how we survive our families and how we make families of the heart.
by Wendall Thomas
In Lost Luggage, a Lefty Nominee for Best Debut Mystery 2017, Brooklyn travel agent Cyd Redondo specializes in senior citizen travel and in truth, has never been farther than New Jersey. So, when she reads about smugglers stopped at JFK with snakes in their socks or monkeys down their pants, she laughs, until murder sends her to Tanzania on safari and throws her heels first into the bizarre and sinister world of international animal trafficking. There, she crashes an eco-safari, hijacks a Fed-Ex truck, faces off with a cobra, and winds up in a leopard trap, all while wondering whether her new boyfriend and "plus one" is really a minus.
Although this is a comic novel, it does offer insight into the world of endangered animals and animal smuggling and so offers the opportunity to discuss this issue and ask how readers can become part of the solution. In a starred review, Library Journal said, "Thomas makes a rollicking debut with this comic mystery featuring an unconventional protagonist who proves to have the skills of MacGyver. With its sexy overtones, this fun, character-driven novel will appeal to Janet Evanovich fans."
Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun
by Lois Winston
Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but normal deserted magazine craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world the day her husband permanently cashed in his chips in Las Vegas and her comfortable middle-class life crapped out. Now she’s dealing with debt greater than the GNP of Uzbekistan, not to mention her husband’s loan shark, her semi-invalid Communist mother-in-law, her much-married and self-proclaimed Russian princess mother, and more dead bodies than anyone should ever discover in several lifetimes. With Anastasia’s complicated family life, there is a lot to discuss.
Midnight Ink, 2011.
Native New Englander Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack mystery series coming from St. Martin's Press in 2018. She loves being the Sister in Crime's Library Liaison because the role combines two of her favorite things: writing and libraries.