Book Report: Summer of Mysteries

July 14, 2022

Note: I’m taking a break next week. The next post will be Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

I’ve always loved reading mysteries, beginning with Nancy Drew, of course. Later, I worked my way through Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers and more recently, I’ve indulged my Louise Penny and Jacqueline Winspear addictions. (The next Louise Penny, by the way, won’t be released until November.)

I’ve always balanced reading mysteries with reading nonfiction and literary fiction, but this month? Not so much.

At the beginning of the month I read one of Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. My only regret was that I wasn’t on vacation at a lake resort where the only diversion was the occasional putt-putt of a motor boat or the haunting call of a loon. It is that kind of book –witty and subtle and oh, so upperclass English.

Then I got sucked into the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. I recall reading at some point the first book in the series, The Crossing Places and enjoyed it, but I did not feel compelled to grab the next in the series–and there is a total of 14 of them with a new one planned for 2023. This month, however, that changed, and not only am I reading them, but so is my husband and our daughter.

I am currently reading #5, A Dying Fall, and will more than likely finish that today.

Ruth Galloway is an English forensic archaeologist who often helps the police, developing a close relationship with copper Harry Nelson. The unfolding of the plot is always interesting, but as is usually the case for me, the characters interest me more. I just discovered when I looked up the author website that she has also written other mystery series and stand-alone books as well. Oh no!!!

I know I don’t need to justify, nor should you, why I choose to read a particular book or series of books or genres, but I admit I am curious why I am so enamored of mysteries right now. I seem to need lighter reading, a quick read, or what is often called “summer reading,” or “beach reading.”

Yesterday I received the weekly online newsletter from one of my favorite bookstores, Arcadia Books in Spring Green, WI, and the opening column referenced a bumper sticker, “It’s brutal out here.” How true that is. Often, the crimes committed in the mysteries I read are brutal, too, but in 300 or so pages, the mystery is solved and good people have worked to make that so. The known is made known. The uncertainty is resolved. And life goes on.

if only the real world was that simple.

So…to balance watching the January 6 hearings and listening to the news on NPR and reading the NYTImes and Washington Post, as well as informed and thoughtful online newsletters, I am reading mysteries, and Elly Griffiths is a good choice.

An Invitation

Has your reading changed in recent months? I would love to know.


Arcadia Books :

4 thoughts on “Book Report: Summer of Mysteries

  1. For the last few months I have been recovering from knee replacemdnt surgery which included the hiccup of a three day hospital stay several weeks in. I had been unable to concentrate to read which was unusual for me. I had seen a list online of supposedly overlooked crime fiction. I got them from the library and ended up reading them as one book a day while home alone over the 4th. So these were different for me but they reset my reading switch. No title recommendations except maybe Eight Perfect Murders. I think I will try a few of yours. I did read The Expats and have the next one waiting.


    • So sorry to hear about the knee surgery and even more the complications and recovery. Glad to know you have had a reading reset. I remember that after my mother died I was not able to read books. Magazines kept me company during what would have been reading time. And I know COVID has played havoc with many peoples’ reading. How important it is to be patient with ourselves. May you be well.


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