Amateur investigator mysteries feature a protagonist who isn't a law enforcement officer, bounty hunter, or licensed private investigator.
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Why they go together:
These mysteries are all about the protagonist learning how to sleuth, be it by accident or design. The main characters may stumble into a sweet career, or find the job bitter and unforgiving. Similarly, those who are just starting to appreciate coffee take it with flavored creamer. It’s easy to make, gives the sensation of drinking coffee, but can be as bitter or sweet as you choose.
Where to start:
Pestered by her close New Jersey family, Stephanie Plum offers to catch high-school crush Joe Morelli, cop turned bail jumper, for her cousin Vinnie's company. She questions "working girls" to find the missing girlfriend of vicious prizefighter Benito Ramirez while Joe secretly watches her back. Ranger mentors her and supplies vehicles when hers explode.
It's Sharon McCone's first case as staff investigator for All Souls Legal Cooperative. She knows nothing about antiques, yet she has an affection for Salem Street with its charming mix of antique and curio shops. Now elderly dealer Joan Albritton has been found dead, stabbed with an antique dagger.
With her gift for sniffing out the malevolent side of human nature, Miss Marple is led on her first case to a crime scene at the local vicarage. Colonel Protheroe, the magistrate whom everyone in town hates, has been shot through the head. No one heard the shot. There are no leads. Yet, everyone surrounding the vicarage seems to have a reason to want the Colonel dead. It is a race against the clock as Miss Marple sets out on the twisted trail of the mysterious killer without so much as a bit of help from the local police.
Interior decorator Madison Night might look like a throwback to the sixties, but as business owner and landlord, she proves that independent women can have it all. But when a killer targets women dressed in her signature style—estate sale vintage to play up her resemblance to fave actress Doris Day—what makes her unique might make her dead. The local detective connects the new crime to a twenty-year old cold case, and Madison's long-trusted contractor emerges as the leading suspect. As the body count piles up, Madison uncovers a Soviet spy, a campaign to destroy all Doris Day movies, and six minutes of film that will change her life forever.
When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she's not the only one on the trail.