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Janet Evanovich and the Comedic Mystery

There are a number of genres within the mystery books category. Early mysteries include the detective stories of Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the locked room mysteries, the 1920’s Golden Age whodunit’s, and the hard-boiled detectives of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Other genres include suspense thrillers, police procedurals, and juvenile mysteries.

A more recent addition to the mystery genre is the comedic mystery. Although quirky characters were introduced as early as the 1930’s with Charlie Chan, Donald E. Westlake is credited with bringing the genre to the forefront in the 1960’s. Other comedic mystery authors include Carl Hiaasen, Lillian Jackson Braun, Rita Mae Brown, and Janet Evanovich. Throughout the last thirty years, numerous authors have joined the popular genre by featuring amateur sleuths, quirky PI’s, lovable characters, and exotic locations.

One popular character is Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter located in Trenton, New Jersey. The cast of characters created by Janet Evanovich has thrilled readers through fifteen novels in a series beginning with One for the Money (1994) and continuing to the most recent Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (June 2009). Four “between-the-numbers” Holiday novellas include Visions of Sugar Plums (2003), Plum Lovin’ (2007), Plum Lucky (2008), and Plum Spooky (2009). The Last Peep is a Stephanie Plum short story included in Mary Higgins Clark presents The Plot Thickens (1997).

Stephanie Plum works as a bail bonds enforcement agent for her cousin Vincent Plum, often travels with side-kick Lula, is in and out of a relationship with Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and always has her mentor, the mysterious Ranger, at her back when she needs him the most. Her roommate is Rex, her hamster and her parents still live in a residential area of Trenton called the burg. Her Grandma Mazur is often included in the high jinks taking place as Stephanie tries to bring in her assigned share of bail jumpers.

Like many series, the Stephanie Plum novels are considered stand-alone books. However, beginning with the first book provides a deeper understanding of the characters and their relationships as they sometimes move in and out of later stories.

The variety of themes, interesting characters, and hilarious situations are as varied as the number of authors who have entered this growing genre. Loyal readers have their favorite authors, and are willing to read a complete series with joyful abandon. You will find plenty of enjoyable stories in the comedic mystery genre at your local bookstore or library.


You can buy the Stephanie Plum books at Amazon.com
You can by Visions of Sugar Plums at Amazon.com

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