I like a good, deep literary novel as much as anyone. There’s a place in my reading world for Ian McEwan or Lionel Shriver, but sometimes I just need a good, funny book, preferably one that can make me laugh out loud. So here are a few I’ve read lately. The first two are mysteries, and the third one is a kind of madcap adventure.
Time’s Up by Janey Mack
Move over, Stephanie Plum, there’s a new amateur detective in town! This book is a hidden gem that got starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. The heroine, Maisie McGrane, is the only girl in a big Irish Chicago family of cops and lawyers. When she flunks out of the police academy, she thinks her world is over until she snags a job as a meter maid and finds herself drawn into a murder investigation. There’s even a little romance thrown in. This is the first book in a series, and I can’t wait for more!
Veronica Speedwell is the 1880’s equivalent of a liberated woman, an intrepid lepidopterist (butterfly expert, so you don’t have to look up the word like I did). She fends off villains with her butterfly net and her specially designed sharpened hatpins. Feisty and headstrong, she escapes her own attempted kidnapping and ends up on the run with Stoker, a handsome, brooding natural historian. This book has razor-sharp wit, good dialogue, mystery, and romance to boot.
Crosley has written some funny non-fiction best-sellers, and her acerbic wit shines through in this novel. Reunited at a wedding, a group of college friends falls back into old patterns of interacting with each other. Then Victor, a gloomy, newly unemployed Adrien Brody lookalike, passes out in the bedroom of the groom’s mother. When he awakens to find her standing over him, he learns the story of a valuable family heirloom necklace that disappeared in France during World War II. And so Victor and his friends Kezia and Nathaniel find themselves in the midst of an adventure tracking down the necklace, while also figuring out who they really want to be when they grow up.