Comfort reads!

Oh, it’s been cold and blustery and damp here, my dears–a typical start to January in my neck of the woods. It’s perfect reading weather, although I’ve been busy revising the third Veronica book and preparing for the launch of A PERILOUS UNDERTAKING. I have still managed to sneak in some pleasure reading, and here is my perfect list for a cold, drizzly, grisly afternoon!

First, you need something warm to drink. Tea, cocoa, coffee, mulled wine, bouillon–it doesn’t much matter as long as it’s soothing. Next, a flame of some sort. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, I’m envious! I make do with candles and the Yule Log channel for as long as it lasts. (It doesn’t seem possible, but having it on DOES make the room seem cozier.) If you’re the kind of person who likes music when you read, then a little Brahms would do nicely here. Finally, something to keep off the chill, snuggly socks or a lap robe will do. A draft is not at all what you want when you’re reading, particularly if it’s a mystery. You’ll just think the cool breeze against your neck is a villain approaching with a sharpened letter opener in hand…yes, this kind of weather is perfect for a little genteel crime, don’t you think?

Here are some books to while away a winter’s day with pleasant thoughts of murder:

*Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen series. I am a huge Jane Austen fan, and I adore mystery, so what could be better than Jane Austen as discreet detective? For this weather, I’d suggest JANE AND THE WATERLOO MAP as an excellent place to start.

*A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN. If you haven’t already made friends with Sherry Thomas’s delectable new take on Sherlock Holmes, this is a perfect opportunity. Lowering afternoon fogs are just the thing when you’re reading gaslit London…

*Rachel McMillan’s Sherrinford and Watts stories. I do seem to be stuck on Sherlock at the moment, don’t I? Well, if you’re looking for a sprightly pair of female sleuths, this is the series for you.

*THE SECRETS OF WISHTIDE by Kate Saunders. A mid-Victorian series debut with a delightful older female sleuth who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty…

*MY COUSIN RACHEL. A classic by Daphne du Maurier. As much psychological thriller as mystery, it’s a delicious exploration of the effect of a femme fatale upon a younger man.

*COUSIN KATE by Georgette Heyer. Confession, I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my TBR pile, and I am SO looking forward to it. A cross between her bright Regency romps and her Golden Age mysteries, this one is billed as a period Gothic, just the thing for a dark and stormy night…