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Mysteries without murder

I'm looking for a mystery series (or single
book) that is not about solving murders but a more petty crime (theft, blackmail, etc.). Perhaps on the more playful side.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ms_geekette
Jan. 14th, 2014 07:37 am (UTC)
Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz, although it could be a stretch to call them "mysteries" most of the time. It's about a family of private investigators.

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has a lot of petty crime (she's a bounty hunter/bailsbondswoman), but there are several murders spread out through the series.

If you want something from the criminal side, there's the Dortmunder series by Donald Westlake. It's about a band of thieves and their associates. Also might have an occasional murder, but it's mostly caper stuff.

All three of the above series have humor in them.
muse_books
Jan. 14th, 2014 07:40 am (UTC)
I agree with the Stephanie Plum recommendation as she is mainly chasing skips. Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series does have some murder mysteries but some volumes are about dealing with blackmailers, robberies and the like.
enleve
Jan. 21st, 2014 06:34 am (UTC)
I third the Evanovich recommendation. I think one of the Stephanie Plum novels that doesn't have a murder is Hard Eight, about a kidnapping, though I'm not 100% sure there is no death in the novel.
ms_geekette
Jan. 14th, 2014 07:45 am (UTC)
Also, you might like to try out Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series. It's not a pure mystery, per se, but there is a kinda law-enforcement bent to it (just highly untraditional...it's an alternate history/fantasy). It also has some humor and is definitely playful. Fforde also has the Nursery Crimes series, but it's a bit more traditional detective stuff (except with nursery rhyme characters ;-D).

ETA: I think probably a lot of cozy mysteries might be of interest to you. One of my favorite ones is Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series, which is a UK historical involving a far-flung member of the royal family. Most cozies have murder, but I find that they are nowhere close to grisly, and tend to be humorous. There are scads of them. Another favorite is Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow series, but I think all of hers have a murder in each story. The Royal Spyness books are bit more varied, from what I recall.

Also, there's Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series, which focuses on spies during the Napoleonic era in France and England. Again, not a straight mystery, but there's usually some intrigue (also mild romance and usually some sort of humor or lightness...it's a split contemporary/historical sort of thing). Not many murders that I remember.

Edited at 2014-01-14 07:56 am (UTC)
ticktockman
Jan. 14th, 2014 12:27 pm (UTC)
Try the Nancy Drew series. (They are written under the house name Carolyne Keane.)

They aim young, but there isn't a corpse in a bushel full.

*daha*
hyarrowen
Jan. 14th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Ellis Peters 'An Excellent Mystery'. Brother Cadfael, unravelling a mystery in the mediaeval sense.
enleve
Jan. 21st, 2014 06:45 am (UTC)
I like Jayne Castle's futuristic romance mysteries. Some of them are murder mysteries, but in some of the books the focus is on people who chase the main characters, looking for a specific artifact, or solving a mystery related to a paranormal event.

My favourite of Jayne Castle's series is The Midnight Crystal, but I suppose it would not be to everyone's taste. I like how strong the main character is, and how well she deals with events that could each individually be the climax of a less intricate book. I like how the love interest listens to her and defers to her expertise when appropriate.

I also liked Neve Maslakovic's book The Far-Time Incident. In it, there's no body and for a while it is unclear whether there has been a murder or not. But the book spends a lot of time being a time travel book and a historical fiction book and a comedy of manners in academia book, so the mystery is not the only focus, and the book mostly has a lighthearted feel to it.

Sometimes I've been able to find mysteries about art theft, but I don't recall the titles or authors at the moment.

I wish there were more mysteries without murders.
ms_geekette
Jan. 21st, 2014 09:22 am (UTC)
Oooh, that Neve Maslakovic book sounds pretty good. Thanks for mentioning it! (Why yes, I am tracking the responses to this post. XD )
enleve
Jan. 22nd, 2014 08:07 am (UTC)
I enjoyed the Neve Maslakovic book. It's one of the books I most enjoyed reading last year. I listened to the audiobook version of it, which is excellent. (I'm tracking responses to this post too. :D)
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