The best Southern humorous mysteries that will make you snort

Larissa Reinhart Author Of Portrait of a Dead Guy
By Larissa Reinhart

Who am I?

My first editor informed me I was a mystery writer and my first mystery conference categorized me as a Southern humorous mystery writer. I didn’t intend to write Southern humorous mysteries but find the world-view of my characters and the world they live in quite comical and southern (my characters and I live in Georgia). I also abhor crime, so the dead bodies that keep appearing in my stories need to be dealt with lightly. I’m happy to be a Wall Street Journal bestselling and international award-winning author with eighteen books and counting in three series, Cherry Tucker Mysteries, Maizie Albright Star Detectives, and Finley Goodhart Crime Capers. 

I wrote...

Portrait of a Dead Guy

By Larissa Reinhart,

Book cover of Portrait of a Dead Guy

What is my book about?

In Halo, Georgia, folks know Cherry Tucker as big in mouth, small in stature, and able to sketch a portrait faster than kudzu climbs telephone poles -- but commissions are scarce. So when the well-heeled Branson family wants to memorialize their murdered son in a coffin portrait, Cherry scrambles to win their patronage from her small town rival.

As the clock ticks toward the deadline, Cherry faces more trouble than just a controversial subject. Between ex-boyfriends, her flaky family, an illegal gambling ring, and outwitting a killer on a spree, Cherry finds herself painted into a corner she'll be lucky to survive.

The books I picked & why

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Skinny Dip

By Carl Hiaasen,

Book cover of Skinny Dip

Why this book?

Hiaasen superbly blends the Old South with the uniqueness that is Florida, where swamps and shacks meet millionaires’ ranches and beach-front mansions. When it comes to crime, Florida tops the nation with its own brand of wacky, making Hiaasen’s crazy plots and zany stories believable. Skinny Dip is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and I feel the best example of Hiaasen’s work. His books don’t just make me snort, they create a literal blow-out of laughter. The humor is so irreverent and tongue-in-cheek naughty that I picture Hiaasen smirking while writing these comic thrillers. His characters are goofy and bizarre. Sometimes his antagonists make my skin crawl. His sleuths are scheming hot messes. Personally, I love a hot mess hero.

Double Whammy

By Gretchen Archer,

Book cover of Double Whammy

Why this book?

Casinos often bring to mind noirish characters set in stories riddled with vice and violence. The Davis Way Crime Capers are riddled with serpentine plots exploding with quirky characters in hilarious situations. Set in a Biloxi, Mississippi, casino with a smart, edgy heroine hired as a security expert, Davis Way is constantly embroiled in saving the casino, its employees, and her small-town friends and family from more disasters than a tornado in a trailer park. Archer’s distinct voice brings humor to the pages of a byzantine mystery that puts her heroine through the wringer. Likable, smart, and sassy, I thoroughly loved Davis Way from Pine Apple, Alabama. The other characters are engaging and the plot is superbly crafted. Double Whammy is the first book in the series and my favorite.

Savannah Blues

By Mary Kay Andrews,

Book cover of Savannah Blues

Why this book?

I love Andrews’ combination of Women’s Fiction and Mystery, and I think this series creates a wonderful bridge between Andrews’ writing style between the two genres and her pen names (originally, she wrote mysteries as Kathy Hogan Trocheck). Savannah Blues is more character- than plot-driven, but for those looking for a light mystery in a sultry southern setting with all the ubiquitous eccentrics and some BFFs bent on ex-husband revenge, you’ll enjoy the story like I did. You learn a bit about antiquing and Savannah architecture while cheering on amateur sleuth Weezie and enjoy a lot of laughs with her friend Bebe Loudermilk. By the end of Savannah Blues, I wanted to move across Georgia and have Weezie dress me up at home in Savannah.

Them Bones

By Carolyn Haines,

Book cover of Them Bones

Why this book?

Sarah Booth Delaney, Southern belle and failed actress turned amateur sleuth is wily, droll, and full of real Southern charm. She will teach you the art of cloaking an insult in a compliment, the proper way to make an entrance and an exit, and how to save your family’s estate by kidnapping a friend’s dog and rescuing it for the reward. This kind of cleverness lends itself to sleuthing, particularly in an old town full of secrets, lies, and dead bodies - some haunting the mansion she’s trying to save. I loved the dialogue and the cunningness of Sarah in Them Bones and the rest of the series. Set in Zinnia, Mississippi, you’ll fall in love with Sarah and Jitty, the bossy antebellum ghost haunting the family plantation.

The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Book cover of The PMS Outlaws: An Elizabeth MacPherson Novel

Why this book?

Southern Appalachia is as southern as the Cotton Belt, but the Smokies have a culture as unique as the bayou or the western reaches of Texas. Sharyn McCrumb has a wealth of historical knowledge when it comes to the Blue Ridge Appalachians, but she knows mountain folk's minds and motivations even more. McCrumb’s amateur sleuth Elizabeth MacPherson series’ is satirical and wry, full of wit and grit. Rock solid mysteries mired in history and loaded with character. I love them all, but the last is my favorite. The title alone makes me smile.

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