The best mystery series when you need a laugh

Kris Bock Author Of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven
By Kris Bock

Who am I?

When I make a snarky remark during a party, chances are one person will catch my eye with the amused look that says, “I saw what you did there.” Everyone else will keep right on talking. But in a book, the reader is right there in the character’s head, which lets your audience catch those subtle humorous comments. In my mystery series, The Accidental Detective, Kate shares witty observations about life with the reader – making Kate funnier than I am. I don’t do as much slapstick and joking (in life or in fiction), but I enjoy writers who pull off those forms of humor well. Humor makes life’s challenges bearable

I wrote...

Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

By Kris Bock,

Book cover of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

What is my book about?

In the humorous Accidental Detective series, a witty journalist solves mysteries in Arizona and tackles the challenges of turning fifty. When patients are dying at an Alzheimer's unit, a former war correspondent must use her journalism skills to uncover the killer and save her mother. Kate has followed the most dangerous news stories around the world, but can she survive going home? 

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Die Noon

By Elise Sax,

Book cover of Die Noon

Why this book?

Matilda moves to the small New Mexico town of Goodnight after inheriting a house, a small newspaper, and two dogs. She learns just how odd the town is when she starts investigating the murder of a reporter. The town of Goodnight is pretty bizarre, but speaking as someone who lives in a small town in New Mexico, Goodnight is more believable than it might seem to an outsider. I prefer books where weirdness is something to celebrate, and here the characters embrace their crazy with enthusiastic joy. This story is part screwball comedy and part mystery, and both work.

Murder at Melrose Court: A 1920s Country House Christmas Murder

By Karen Baugh Menuhin,

Book cover of Murder at Melrose Court: A 1920s Country House Christmas Murder

Why this book?

In this historical mystery set in the 1920s, the hero-narrator is likable and a bit goofy. He reminded me of Bertie Wooster in the Jeeves stories by PG Wodehouse, but Heathcliff is more intelligent. The mystery was complicated and puzzling, with added fun from the 1920s setting. It’s hard to investigate when phone lines are down and roads become impassable in poor weather. I've read the rest of the series, and they’re all pretty strong. Some move the action to Scotland or Egypt for extra 1920s travel excitement. They’re perfect reads when you want a light cozy with historical charm and some chuckles along the way.

Devil's Chew Toy

By Rob Osler,

Book cover of Devil's Chew Toy

Why this book?

This lighthearted mystery stars a young gay man who is a teacher and part-time blogger in Seattle. Hayden finds himself caught up in a bizarre mystery when a one-night stand (cuddling only) leads to a disappearance, and Hayden takes responsibility for the missing man’s dog. I loved the quirky characters, who had me grinning throughout the story. Despite how unique they are, they remained realistic, and they were people I would love to know. The book appreciated their weirdness rather than laughing at them, treating the characters with warmth and respect. Added to that, the mystery was tricky with fast-paced action and plenty of twists. I highly recommend you check out this new author’s debut.

The White Magic Five and Dime

By Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco,

Book cover of The White Magic Five and Dime

Why this book?

Alanis moves to a tiny tourist trap town in Arizona after her con-artist mother is murdered, leaving Alanis a New Age gift shop. Alanis doesn't believe in the tarot, but she starts offering readings to learn about her mother's customers, hoping to find out who killed her. The book is darker than the standard cozy, despite a female main character inheriting a shop. It’s not at all gruesome, but it is full of scams and stories of growing up with a terrible parent. The narrator feels unique and authentic, and I loved her snarky voice. The premise is clever, providing a mystery with plenty of complications and twists.

Don’t worry if you don’t like paranormal aspects to your mysteries – Alanis is far too suspicious to believe in anything like that, even if she sometimes gets surprised by the cards’ on-point messages. Steve Hockensmith may be better known for his Holmes on the Range Mysteries, but this is a worthy series too, and the books are shorter and lighter, making them fun beach reads or great stories for challenging times when your mind tends to wander.

Louisiana Longshot

By Jana DeLeon,

Book cover of Louisiana Longshot

Why this book?

This long-running series is ridiculous fun. It begins here when CIA agent Fortune Redding is sent into hiding in a tiny town in the Louisiana bayou. Turns out that small town holds more than its fair share of crime along with a host of wacky characters. In general, the mysteries hold together fairly well and have plenty of twists and turns. But Jana Deleon fans are really there for the zany humor. It isn’t easy to pull off slapstick in print instead of visual media such as TV, but Deleon does a good job. Realistic these aren’t, but if you can suspend your disbelief, get ready for a wild ride. If you enjoy one book in this series, you’ll probably like all of them—over 20 so far.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, New Mexico, and teachers?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about private investigators, New Mexico, and teachers.

Private Investigators Explore 98 books about private investigators
New Mexico Explore 25 books about New Mexico
Teachers Explore 32 books about teachers

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Death at the Seaside, The Neon Rain, and Dancers in Mourning if you like this list.