I started reading E. V. Cunningham‘s mystery novels several years ago. I enjoyed them so much that I put several of them on my Wish List for possible Christmas/birthday gifts for me… and was delighted to get all of the books I requested.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with E. V. Cunningham… “he” wrote the Masao Masuto Mystery Series. As Howard Fast (his real name) he wrote many (historical) novels including Spartacus, The Immigrants, Citizen Tom Paine, and Bunker Hill.
The books take place in Beverly Hills, back when it wasn’t over-populated, and had a very small police force. Masao Masuto is the head of the homicide department. He enjoys his rose garden at home, has a small room where he meditates in his saffron robe, loves his wife (Kati) and his two children, and sees the good in people, places, and things… doing so while he experiences the ugliest of things/circumstances that a homicide detective encounters.
I started reading the novels at a time when I wasn’t familiar with their chronological order… If you are a reader of this blog, you know how much I hate reading a series out of order! The series was a little confusing since, let’s take the first book as an example… it is named both Samantha and The Case of the Angry Actress. I think that I actually read the fourth novel first, then the second… and then the first. That was several years ago…
I recently got all of the Masao novels on my TBR bookshelf before even starting the first one (again!)… This is one of the instances where having a not-so-great memory for books’ details comes in handy—> When I want to enjoy a series from start to finish… even if it means reading a few of the novels for the second time, if it has been a matter of several years, then I’m OK.
These are books that were written in the 1960s, ’70s, & 80s… a much “gentler time.” So, although they aren’t your traditional cozy mystery with an amateur sleuth in a small village full of eccentric neighbors, I think that they still qualify as cozy… in that Cunningham (Fast) doesn’t feel the need to impress us with foul language and/or gruesome details. (***I just re-read a few of these books and see that there actually are a few very adult words in them…)
So far, I am only on the fourth (The Case of the Poisoned Eclairs) of the seven books. I am enjoying the books immensely. I just have to wonder why it took me so long to finally read the series in the correct order!