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Check It Out

Courier Article by Kate Linderman
Sunday, May 3, 2009

Plenty of Chick-Lit Mysteries to Enjoy

Summer is just weeks away -and with each summer comes the publication of a new Janet Evanovich novel. This year's Stephanie Plum installment is entitled Finger Lickin' Fifteen and it's sure not only to be a bestseller, but also to have a lengthy waiting list at the library.

If you 're looking for something to tide you over while you wait for the newest Evanovich, or maybe for something to read on the beach while you're sipping a cocktail, there are some chick-lit authors who dabble in "Mystery Lit" - chick lit with a mystery theme. Try some of these authors and their books:

Harley Jane Kozak's debut novel Dating Dead Men introduces Wollie Shelley, an inquisitive greeting card artist with a gift for crime-solving. Kozak is an actor-turned-novelist; she was a regular on the soap opera Guiding Light in the 1980s, and appeared in mainstream films like Arachnophobia, Parenthood and The Favor. Dating Dead Men was such a critical and mainstream success for Kozak that she followed it up with Dating is Murder, Dead Ex and the recently published A Date You Can't Refuse.

Sarah Strohmeyer's hilarious "Bubbles" series, which begins with Bubbles Unbound, is also one worth checking out. Bubbles Yablonsky, a Lehigh, Pennsylvania hairdresser who's taken every class at the local community college, realizes her passion is journalism. In pursuit of her big break, Bubbles stumbles on a murder mystery that unlocks the key to a 20 year old crime. Bubbles herself is entertaining, with great supporting characters to help move the story along. Other books in the series are Bubbles in Trouble, Bubbles Ablaze, Bubbles A Broad, Bubbles Betrothed, and Bubbles All the Way.

The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz, features Isabel "Izzy" Spellman as a private investigator in the family business. A favorite among EVPL staffers, The Spellman Files was a 2008 EVPL recommended title for the Summer Reading Program. A cast of rich supporting characters, including Izzy's parents, her sister, and her uncle, make this seriously fun, funny and worth following. Other titles in the series so far are Curse of the Spellmans and Revenge of the Spellmans.

Meg Cabot, author of the Princess Diaries series for young adults, is also the author of the Heather Wells mystery series for adults. The first book, entitled Size 12 is Not Fat, introduces Heather Wells, a washed-up former pop princess who's lost her money, her fame and her famous boyfriend. Forced to take a job as a resident advisor at a fictional New York University, Heather finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and realizes she has a knack for crime-fighting. Her further escapades are explored in Size 14 is Not Fat, Either and Big Boned.

Other authors of chick-lit have written novels with a twist of mystery, such as Alisa Kwitney's Sex as Second Language, and Helen Fielding's Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination. So, if you find yourself lacking something to read while you're waiting for your turn at Finger Lickin' Fifteen - don't despair. These and other great author 'read-alikes' await you at EVPL. Who knows? Maybe you'll find a new character and author you love.