I loved reading the Nancy Drew books when I was young, and used to daydream about stumbling onto some kind of crime and solving it. It’s probably no surprise that as an adult I still like to read mysteries, particularly those that feature a plucky, if not fearless, woman who winds up in the midst of a criminal investigation. A few of my favorites:
Size 12 Is Not Fat, by Meg Cabot: Heather Wells, a former pop star who now works as an assistant residence hall director at a university in New York, has a way of finding herself in the middle of trouble. From the moment I starting reading the first in the series, I was immediately reminded of a modern-day Nancy Drew. Size 14 Is Not Fat Either and Big Boned are also part of the Heather Wells series. This would make perfect beach reading this summer, too.
The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz: This is a slight twist on the Nancy Drew theme, since the Spellman family runs an actual detective agency. A dysfunctional family of P.Is makes for some great reading, and Izzy Spellman, the novel’s heroine, is a character that you want to root for. Also check out the other books in this series.
Died in the Wool, by Mary Kruger: Frankly, cozy mysteries aren’t generally on my reading list, but as a knitter I was drawn to this one. When Ari Evans discovers a body in her knitting store, she finds herself in the center of a murder investigation. And yes, she uses her knitting knowledge to help solve the crime. You can also check out the sequel to this, Knit Fast, Die Young.
Grave Sight, by Charlaine Harris: You might be familiar with Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books, but you might not know that she also writes another (recently concluded) series of mysteries as well. Haper Connelly’s business is death: after being struck by lightning as a teenager, she now has the ability to locate dead bodies and relive their last moments. Clients often hire her to find missing loved ones, or out of plain old curiosity, but Harper’s gift often leads her into the center of murder cases. When you get through this series, if you’re looking for still more Charlaine Harris you might try her Aurora Teagarden mystery series (featuring a librarian as the starring sleuth!).