The first book I’m going to be covering this month for the monthly most popular & recommended mystery series is Leslie Meier‘s Lucy Stone Mystery Series. The first book in this series is Mistletoe Murder – a Christmas themed mystery, which is no surprise since the Lucy Stone Mystery Series is a holiday themed series, with each entry revolving around a different holiday. This series began in 1991, and I’ve been reading it for almost that long! It is Leslie Meier’s only series >>> which means she can devote all of her writing time to keeping her fans (like me!) happily reading.
With the holidays approaching, Lucy Stone is about as busy as you can expect for a mother of three children (son Toby and daughters Elizabeth and Sara), though her husband Bill picks up some of the slack. She works nights at the Country Cousins mail order phone support line. When she discovers the body of Sam Miller, owner of the company, dead in his car with a hose running from his exhaust pipe into a window, she thinks it’s suicide>>> but in a small community like Tinker’s Cove, Maine, it doesn’t take long for word to get out that Sam Miller was murdered.
One of the things I liked about this entry in the series is how the murder investigation needed to bend around Lucy’s schedule, instead of Lucy just deciding to drop everything to pursue something that isn’t really her job. Lucy Stone is a wife with three children and visiting relatives, and at the same time is casually investigating the owner of the company she works at. It’s only natural that something is going to have to give – and during the more thoroughly “holiday” part of the book, she’s definitely in full on “mom mode”, and investigating a murder just has to fade into the background to the practical details of shopping, hosting family guests, managing meals, and child care. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the series so much >>> Lucy isn’t able to just start investigating mysteries while her family is busy doing something else. Her family seems real.
The Lucy Stone Mystery Series takes place in a quaint town in Maine (the fictional Tinker’s Cove) which provides a great Cozy atmosphere. The people are very much like people who you would know. And, as many of you who have been with me a while know, I love different yearly seasons. Tinker’s Cove is perfect for seasonal fun. You’ll “feel” the winter cold while you enjoy the snow, and the fall has its vibrant leaves >>> things I truly miss down here in San Antonio. I very much rely on the Cozy Mysteries I read to provide the seasonal atmosphere that I miss so much down here.
Another thing I really like is that this particular mystery did keep me guessing pretty far into the book. A lot of the time, I’m able to make a pretty educated guess as to “whodunit”, but in this case I actually wasn’t sure. At the same time, when the mystery did resolve, it was obvious in hindsight >>> the clues were all there. To me that’s one of the hallmarks of a really really good mystery.
There are some elements that some Cozy readers may not like. For example, the death of a family pet is a plot point in the novel in an unpleasant fashion, and this is definitely something that I would be surprised to see in a lot of the Cozies released today.
As I said earlier, this series started years ago and I’ve been a fan for many of those years. I definitely recommend this series. This specific book is (in my opinion) the beginning to a “modern classic” Cozy Mystery series. It’s a Cozy Mystery series that should be read chronologically, so you can grow with Lucy and her family and friends.
As always, if you’re interested in seeing more highlights of some of the most recommended or popular Cozy Mystery authors/series, visit the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my site.