The best books set in small communities where murder and humor abound

The Books I Picked & Why

The Quiche of Death: The First Agatha Raisin Mystery

By M. C. Beaton

Book cover of The Quiche of Death: The First Agatha Raisin Mystery

Why this book?

The Agatha Raisin series features a 52-year-old successful PR executive who retires to a small country village in England. Agatha is a force of nature, she’s irascible, difficult, and determined but utterly endearing. She’s not averse to cheating either and it’s when she passes off a quiche as her own in a village contest (the quiche turns out to be poisoned) – Agatha is the prime suspect. The situations Agatha gets into are very much like I Love Lucy.  


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Homicide in Hardcover

By Kate Carlisle

Book cover of Homicide in Hardcover

Why this book?

I love the adventures of bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. There are 15 books in the series and each one features a well-known book as a backdrop that is integral to the plot. The plots are clever with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Most of all I enjoy the interaction of the characters – Brooklyn was brought up in a commune and was named after the bridge beneath which she was conceived … which says it all really!


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Her Royal Spyness

By Rhys Bowen

Book cover of Her Royal Spyness

Why this book?

The Royal Spyness series is a cross between Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence and Nancy Mitford. It’s set in the 1930s and stars Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. Lady “Georgie” is 34th in line to the throne. When her allowance is cut off she is forced to earn her own money … with disastrous – and deadly – results.


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Murder with Peacocks

By Donna Andrews

Book cover of Murder with Peacocks

Why this book?

A bookseller recommended the Meg Lanslow series to me years ago and I’ve read them all – 31, as of 2021.  I like Meg’s character – she’s a decorative blacksmith. Each title is a play on birds (no pun intended). They are all fast-paced and witty. 


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Cloche and Dagger

By Jenn McKinlay

Book cover of Cloche and Dagger

Why this book?

Full disclosure: I love all Jenn McKinlay’s books, but the Hat Shop Mysteries are my favorite – probably because I know the area of London she writes about. I also love the Cupcake Mysteries, the Library Lover’s Mysteries as well as her stand alones. Her sense of humor is laugh-out-loud funny and the plots, twisty and fun. 


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