Summer is here with a vengeance, and that puts everyone in a vacation or lazy weekend frame of mind. The higher the thermometer climbs, the more readily I turn to light, fun listening. For me, nothing’s better than a good cozy mystery to take my mind off the heat or to keep me company when traveling, both in reality and from my armchair.
Today’s audiobook recommendations take you around the world and introduce you a diverse group of women, all of whom have a knack for getting involved in murder or other criminal investigations. As with all cozies, the following auidobooks tend to focus more on the characters and the puzzle than they do on the gory details of the crime.
Crank up the A/C, turn on the fans, and pour your favorite ice-cold drink. Then get ready to try to figure out who the villain is before the audiobook ends.
J. New’s THE RIVIERA AFFAIR takes us to the beautiful French seaside during the interwar years of the 20th century. Our hero, Ella Bridges, isn’t there to enjoy the beach, though; she, her aunt, and a friend have crossed the channel to find a missing person and clear Ella’s mother of a murder charge. Narrator Jilly Bond charms with her portrayals, highlighting the sleuths’ quirky personalities and giving life to the period details. You will enjoy getting to know the characters and may empathize with the British women as they attempt to solve a murder in a foreign country.
In the 1920s, India was still occupied by the British, but that didn’t stop palace politics from bubbling up around the Satapur royal family. In THE SATAPUR MOONSTONE by Sujata Massey, Bombay lawyer–detective Perveen Mistry is tasked with trying to settle a dispute between the mother and grandmother of the crown prince. Narrator Sneha Mathan clearly distinguishes between the underlying humor and growing danger as the lawyer tries to make family peace while protecting the royal children from a supposed curse.
Donna Andrews’s TERNS OF ENDEARMENT takes us on an ill-fated trip to Bermuda. Meg Langslow, an artist and amateur detective, joins various members of her family on a Caribbean cruise, which features educational lectures and a writers’ retreat. When the ship has power problems and a little-liked author goes missing, Meg and her family rally their fellow passengers to the brink of mutiny as they ask for help solving the murder. Veteran narrator Bernadette Dunne won an Earphones Award for her “seamless performance,” which underscores the characters’ emotions.
Both newcomers and established fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s mysteries starring Botswana female detective Precious Ramotswe will enjoy the full-cast performances of the eight stories included in THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY: BBC RADIO CASEBOOK, VOL. 4. Among the narrators, Claire Benedict returns to portray Mma Ramostswe and Nadine Marshall voices Mma Makutsi, the agency’s only employee. The sounds and accents of Africa and the variety of investigations transport us to Mma Ramotswe’s side as she helps her clients resolve their troubles and she restores the local harmony.
In THE SPOTTED DOG by Kerry Greenwood, bakery owner Corinna Chapman finds herself at the center of a number of crimes, all of which occur near her Melbourne home. Besides serving warm pastries to her customers, Corinna becomes caught up in solving a series of burglaries, figuring out who hacked a café’s computers, and helping an Afghanistan war veteran find his missing service dog. Narrator Jennifer Vuletic’s Australian accent and good pacing keep us fully invested as Corinna, her boyfriend, and their eccentric neighbors work to identify the bad guys.
I love traveling the world via a good audiobook, and when that trip includes a mystery to solve and a friendly hobbyist detective to meet, I’m a happy listener. What are some of your favorite light mysteries, and where do the stories take place?
More from AudioFile