A mystery with a well-developed sense of place makes the story that much more enjoyable for me. I love when I read a mystery and the setting is some place I haven’t visited — I learn so much about the people, architecture, food and the landscape. I also like to read mysteries set in places with which I am very familiar, like Pennsylvania, my home state. Here are a few of the best mystery books set in the Keystone State.
by Sarah Strohmeyer
Meet Bubbles Yablonsky, beautician, reporter and Barbie look-alike who is probably one of the more exciting citizens in Lehigh, Pennsylvania. In this debut of the series, which one the Agatha Award for Best First Mystery, Bubbles starts attending school and ends up discovering a dead body. Bubbles isn’t the only good character in this series, there’s her Kool-Aid-dyed-hair daughter, her mother Lulu (who is true to her name), and her girlfriends from the shop. This series is a treat.
by Thomas Lipinski
Privileged ex-college basketball star Carroll Dorsey was on his way to becoming a professional basketball player, but an injury sidelined him early in his career. Now he is a private detective in Pittsburgh investigating insurance frauds. This excellent first in the series finds Carroll investigating some of his own father’s shady dealings.
by Nancy Martin
The Blackbird Sisters (Nora, Libby and Emma Blackbird) are Philadelphia heiresses whose parents have run off with their trust funds, forcing them to get jobs for the first time in their lives. Nora becomes the assistant to a society page reporter and attends parties and other upscale events on the Main Line for a living... Nora also seems to stumble upon quite a few dead bodies. Assisting Nora in her crime solving are her boyfriend, the son of a New Jersey gangster, and her two wacky sisters. This story is a hoot and well worth a read.
by Barbara Workinger
Unique characters and an interesting setting make this cozy a winner. Grandmother Hannah Miller has more than her quilt-making to keep her busy: she finds her friend has been murdered and decides the police need some of her help in solving the case.
by Jane Haddam
This first in well-written series features retired FBI agent Gregor Demarkian; each title in the series is set in Philadelphia and takes place around a holiday. Gregor moves back to Philadelphia after his wife’s death and becomes the person that people in his neighborhood turn to when they need help. If you have an interest in learning about Armenian immigrants, this series will teach you about these wonderful people. This is an excellent series, filled with well-written, interesting characters and I guarantee you will fall in love with Gregor Demarkian.
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About Leah Smith
Leah lives near Washington D.C. and is an obsessive list maker. She loves lists so much that she creates topical bibliographies -- for fun. She also collects volvelles, nutcrackers, unusual names and map hankies. She talks about books and many other things on her blog, Fig Newtons and Scotch.
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