BCPL staff top picks to celebrate Mystery and MAYhem!

Each May, we celebrate “Mystery and Mayhem” by highlighting part of our mystery collection and holding a contest for gift baskets at each of our branches. Stop by any branch to pick up a mystery bookmark with suggestions and enter to win a basket. In the meantime, BCPL staff share their favorites to get your mystery reading started.


Jenny Walsh, Book Cellar Assistant and Purveyor of Unlikely Treasures, says her favorite mystery is Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. It features the famously monocled Lord Peter Wimsey and his soon-to-be-fiance Harriet Vane as they seek to discover who is terrorizing the academics at Harriet’s Oxford college reunion (or “gaudy”). Issues of class, education and gender are explored, and Sayers, who wrote in the 1930s, has been called the first feminist mystery writer. Intriguingly, no murder is actually committed in the novel.



Deanna Pina, Teen Librarian, recommends One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Deanna says it is like Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Five teens go into detention and only four of them come out alive. One of the teens murdered Simon, creator of a notorious gossip app at Bayview High, but it isn’t clear ‘whodunnit’. This book grabs you and won’t let you go. You will stop reading and wonder, “BUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?” It will drive you crazy, and you will want to finish it ASAP. It is that good of a book. No pacing issues. No boring parts. No bad characters. Just a mystery that will drive you wild!




Vicki Durham, Public Services Associate, enjoys the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton. Set in a small village in Scotland, police sergeant Hamish Macbeth solves murders. The mysteries are always well written with witty characters.  Vicki also recommends Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series. They are always filled with questions and suspense.




Suzanne Yowler, Circulation Assistant, recommends the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling). The series is well-written, and Suzanne has never solved the mystery before the end. Suzanne loves the characters Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott. Cormoran is a wounded war veteran and former member of the Royal Military Police who now owns a private detective agency. Robin starts out as a temporary secretary for the agency. Her character develops, but Suzanne doesn’t want to share any spoilers! Although the books are lengthy, Suzanne zips right through them because she can’t put them down.



Jenn Ritter, Page, shares her favorite mystery A Quiet Life in the Country by T.E. Kinsey. It is the story of an eccentric widow with a secret past, Lady Emily Hardcastle, and her maid, confidant and martial arts expert, Florence Armstrong.  After moving from London to the country, they stumble upon a dead body hanging from a tree with horse drawn cart tracks leaving the scene.  Suddenly their hopes for a quiet life come to an end.





Holly Calhoun, Youth Services Circulation Assistant, enjoys cozy mysteries. One of her favorite series is the Paws and Claws mystery series by Krista Davis. The first book is Mission Impawsible. The books are fun mysteries without any graphic violence.





Ginger Stapp, Early Literacy Specialist, enjoyed Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Private investigator Jackson Brodie investigates three very different cases that happened over thirty years only to find startling connections between a missing girl, a random attack and a new mother with a demanding husband.


Laugh Your Way Through the Pages of a Book

April is Humor month at BCPL and staff members share the novels that make them laugh their way through the pages of the book.

Chelsea Swinford, Youth Services Associate, tells how she came to love humor books. “Once in high school I was reading in the bleachers during gym class (yes, I was that kid), tearing up over Dave Pelzer’s personal tragedy, when a friend of mine asked me why I always read such depressing books. I offered up some pretentious response about how serious literature had to be, well, serious. The next day, he came to class and handed me his copy of Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. The novel is difficult to synopsize, but it was more Robbins’ style than the plot that made me re-examine my views on humorous literature.”  Chelsea thinks the author himself puts it best: “I write playfully, but I write to change people’s lives. I can come to no other conclusion but that playfulness is a form of wisdom and not of frivolity.”


Kelly Bilz, Local History Associate, recommends her favorite humor book, Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood.  It’s a memoir about growing up as the daughter of a Catholic priest (her father was a Lutheran preacher before he converted), and it had me laughing out loud as I was reading it. For part of her life, Lockwood lived in Hebron, Kentucky, so it was exciting to read about her exploits in places I knew, like the Purple People Bridge or Newport on the Levee!



Suzanne Yowler, Circulation Assistant, finds the early novels of Jennifer Weiner to be among her favorite humorous books. While they frequently deal with serious subjects, there are still plenty of laughs. Good In Bed, Certain Girls, Little Earthquakes and Goodnight Nobody are, in my opinion, her best.




Kathleen Piercefield, Circulation Assistant, recommends Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series beginning with The Eyre Affair.  The Eyre Affair, and the rest of the series, is set in an alternate-reality Great Britain where the Crimean War is still being fought, dodos (cloned and back from extinction) are a common household pet, mammoths run amok through cities in their annual migrations, and time travel is a regular occurrence.  Thursday Next, the main character, works for the special division of law enforcement engaged in preventing literary crimes — such as entering a fictional narrative and murdering one of the characters.  The humor is sly, sometimes dark, and always delightful, especially for readers who pick up all the literary references peppered throughout.



Jenn Ritter, Page, has always enjoyed Can’t Wait to get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg. Her writing style makes the characters come alive from the page. You wish these people were your neighbors!





Deanna Pina, Teen Librarian, recommends The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy.  It is an amazingly funny graphic novel that follows a Dungeons & Dragons adventure from The Adventure Zone podcast. The story follows three brothers and their dad as they try, and fail, to be epic heroes. The humor is incredibly sarcastic and the art perfectly illuminates how awful these characters are.