Mysteries for intelligent (but delicate) little old ladies

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Mysteries for intelligent (but delicate) little old ladies

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feb 4, 2008, 4:33 pm

My 85 year old mother is an avid reader, but can't handle sex or swearing in novels. (That is, she can deal with "hell" and "damn" but nothing worse than that.) She's hooked on Mary Higgins Clark right now, but is quickly running out of them. She doesn't hate cozies, but they don't seem to hold her attention well. Does anybody know of MHC "read-a-likes" that might interest her? I'm not really much of a mystery person, but someone suggested Sue Grafton. Are her books similar?

Thanks for your help,


feb 4, 2008, 4:43 pm

Well Sue has a little sex now and then but generally fairly clean with a little swearing now and then.

Peter Tremayne has written a bunch of mysteries dealing with the 7th Ireland. Sister Fidelma. These are very clean and still very interesting, because of the time frame the 'science' used in the forensics is very primitive and so most is deductive reasoning.

and there is always Agatha Christie for a good cozy.

Has she tried Rex Stout? Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolf?

feb 4, 2008, 6:35 pm

Yes, she's done Agatha Christie and all of the Rex Stouts, but those were great ideas, thank you. I'll look for the Peter Tremayne books--those sound good. Thanks!

feb 4, 2008, 6:39 pm

What about Sarah Caudwell? Her stories are narrated by a law professor, but not as dusty as that sounds - they are more British and reserved than Mary Higgins Clark I think, but they're very amusing, and I really enjoy reading them.

Redigeret: feb 4, 2008, 7:47 pm

Does she just read modern settings or would she enjoy a historical, medieval mystery? The Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters usually include a bit of romance, but no sex, swearing & gore. Mary Roberts Rhinehart wrote a lot of mysteries in the 1940's that were made into movies. She might have already read them. If she just wants a good story, Maeve Binchy is a good comfort read.

feb 4, 2008, 9:15 pm

Peter Lovesey's mysteries might work too.

feb 5, 2008, 10:56 am

M. C. Beaton has two mystery series, which are quite "clean", but also definitely cozy, so she might not care for that aspect of them.

feb 5, 2008, 11:00 am

You could try Simon Brett's Fethering Mysteries. They are cozy though a lot of fun. Can't recall much in the way of swearing or sex. Even I like them and I don't mind raciness or foul language.

Redigeret: feb 5, 2008, 11:11 am

If she's not read them already, mix and match from Nicholas Blake, Michael Innes, Margery Allingham, Cyril Hare, Dorothy L Sayers.

Nothing to bring a blush to even the most maidenly cheek in any of them (well, except for a very mild sex scene in one of the later Nicholas Blake books)

feb 5, 2008, 1:57 pm

I want to thank you all so much for your suggestions. I've made a list and am heading for my favorite independent bookstore this weekend to get her some of each of the selected authors to try. They all look worth a try. Thank you!! You'll make a little old lady in an assisted living facility very happy!

feb 5, 2008, 9:44 pm

If you check the Crime Thrillers and Mystery Group there is thread of recommended authors for Agatha Christie fans that will have some more ideas.

feb 7, 2008, 6:41 pm

Let us know how she gets along!

mar 3, 2008, 2:37 am

Might try Ellis Peters "Brother Cadfile" series. They take place in England in the 1100's.

mar 16, 2008, 12:43 am

I wrote a book review awhile back for a journal I read called Read 'Em their Writes: A Handbook for Mystery and Crime Fiction Book Discussions. This may be a title to check out for reading suggestions.

mar 23, 2008, 8:42 pm

You might try J.A. Jance. Her Joanna Brady series I believe is clean. The first book is Desert Heat.

Several of the older ladies I work with like Alexander McCall Smith. I would probably classify them as cozies, but they are clean.

mar 23, 2008, 11:07 pm

Hey there,

I don't know where you are, but if you can get hold of her you might find Ngaio Marsh worthwhile. She's a bit in the Agatha Christie vein, very theatrical, no sex and no swearing that I can remember. But she's New Zealander and I'm not sure how far her books have spread.

Happy reading

sep 26, 2008, 3:16 pm

Your mum sounds a lot like mine so I'm going to recommend a book that mum and I both adore. It's nothing to do with crime but I still suspect your mum might like it as it's such a lovely book: The Enchanted April is beautifully written and is about a group of women holidaying in Italy and 'finding themselves' at the same time. If your mum is a fan of good literature I'm sure she'd consider this one a real gem - even if a bit of a change from her MHC books.

sep 26, 2008, 3:26 pm

Alexander McCall Smith novels are usually categorized as mysteries. They're pretty clean with only occasional references to sex, but certainly not explicit. They're pleasant reading, too.

sep 27, 2008, 8:42 am

More of a mild psychological thriller than mystery (at least in the traditional detective sense) The Education of Mrs. Bemis is a very satisfying novel. I think I have a short review of it in my catalog.