I wrote on Tuesday that this week is unofficially Thriller Week at BookPage—but there are a lot of different flavors of suspenseful plots. For example, Bruce Tierney—our Whodunit columnist—favors "Nordic noir" a la Jo Nesbo or Henning Mankell. I can't say no to a literary thriller with a strong female protagonist. (I'm looking at you, Laura Lippman.)

Graphically violent scenes do not deter me from reading a mystery—so many of the plots are grisly, after all—but many readers want a suspenseful book that will not make them wince. These recommendations are for you.

If you love cozy mysteries and are looking for a smart new series, I'd recommend What the Cat Saw by Carolyn Hart. The plot revolves around the murder of the founder of a charitable foundation. Add a protagonist who can understand a clever cat's thoughts plus a nice dash of romance, and you have a winner from multiple award-winning author Hart. Read more about the novel, book #1 in a series, here.

Homages to classic novels and authors have become de rigueur in the world of cozy mysteries, but Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely is a winner—especially because the author is obviously so well-versed in Austen's body of work, packing Austen allusions into her novel. In the book, the series heroine, Elizabeth Parker, goes to Bath's annual Jane Austen Festival—and is greeted by a murder or two. Shortly after, a strange assortment of suspects present themselves. Read more about the novel in this review.

What books would you recommend for readers who want a lighter mystery?

Psst: Our giveaway of 10 thrillers is still going strong. Enter now!


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