I've been on a mystery reading kick for over a month, especially "cozy" mysteries, the kind modeled after Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, the amateur detective. These five mysteries all take place in small towns in the south served up with lots of local eccentrics, gossip, food and customs. The first three have amateur sleuths solving the crime; the last two have local policewomen doing the sleuthing.
Cockatiels at Seven, a Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews (2008) 9th in series.An old friend drops her 2 year old off with Meg before disappearing. Meg, a blacksmith by trade, has a zany family to create complications while she investigates murder in a college town in Virginia.
Paint the Town Dead, a Judge Jackson Crain Mystery by Nancy Bell (2008) 3rd in series. A real estate agent is murdered. Jackson Crain, the local judge, who wished he’d been a cop, helps police investigate in small town Texas.
Murder Past Due, a Cat in the Stacks Mystery by Miranda James (2010) 1st in series. University librarian and his Maine Coon cat solve mysteries in a college town in Mississippi. This book made me want to meet a Maine Coon cat, but being allergic to cats, the book is as close as I should get to one.
Death and the Walking Stick, a Trudy Roundtree Mystery #4 (2006) Small town Georgia police investigate murder. Trudy, the police officer has lots of meddling relatives and town busybodies to deal with. That goes without saying in this type of mystery.
Malpractice in Maggody, an Arly Hanks Mystery by Joan Hess. (2006) Celebrity rehab clinic opens in Maggody, Arkansas. Mayhem and murder ensue.
If you like: amateur detective + small town setting + zany villagers + very little blood and gore, try these authors.