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Top 25 Best Romantic Mystery Books

Best Romantic Mystery Books

Do you long for a sizzling literary mix of steamy, passionate romance tinged with mystery and intrigue? Then you're in the right place! 

Welcome to our list dedicated to helping you find those mysteries with a decidedly strong romantic angle to the story. These books are classified as mystery books with a mystery of some sort being central to the plot but they can also double in for a romantic novels as well (though you probably won't find them classed as 'romance' in the genre section of the book store. These novels both intersect the romance and mystery genre and are defined as a subgenre of mystery called mystery romance

Note that you have 'mystery romance' and you have 'romance mystery', and while both of these indicate an intersection between the two distinct genres, the genre that comes first in the title often indicate what the book is mainly classed as (i.e. romance or mystery).

For our list, we've focused mainly on the mystery books that are more...romantic in nature than a regular mystery with a romance sub plot (which, you'll find most regular mystery books do indeed have).

So we've searched far and wide and compiled a list of the best romance books mysteries we could find, the ones that get hearts racing and brains whirring, from classic murder mysteries with clandestine romance, to cute and comforting cosies, there's something here for everyone. 

And if you are trying to find the best pure romance books, check out our sister site over at bestromancebooks.net -- this site recommends ONLY romance books.

Let's kick off with a hefty literary mystery/romance that is highly praised as one of the most beautiful novels, and one of the greatest romances, ever written. A.S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance follows the story of two literary scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets, trying to uncover rumors of their alleged affair. The mystery is slowly unraveled through letters, journal entries, full length Victorian style poems and critiques and criticisms of said poems.

Some people have deemed this novel and it's reliance on poetry as pretentious, but really when writing about over-educated Victorian poets with literary hard-ons and their aficionados, is there any way to be anything but pretentious? While it's penchant for poetry may seem self-gratifying and pretentious, it's more impressive that Byatt created full-length Victorian poems and the lives and loves of their poets, and managed to intertwine them so masterfully.

The poems are far from pointless, serving to drop hints about the central mystery and the characters, and everything converges in exquisite style. Possession is a sweeping literary romance mystery perfect for those for those of you out there who admire delicately constructed prose and aren't put off by poetry or deconstruction of literature, if you're ready to engage your literary brains and dive right in, you'll be richly rewarded.

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This is a book that a lot of you (especially you ladies out there) will likely have read at some point, usually in your teenage years, but will be unlikely to admit. It's a book that a lot of 12-13 year old girls read in secret as it has a distinct air of illicitness that permeates everything about it, and this leads to it often being read under covers by torchlight, thumbing through for the signs of 'the naughty bits'.

This is it's big selling point: the forbidden brother-sister love. Yep, you heard (or rather, read) me right. This book is at it's core, sick and wrong, and yet alluring because of it. There's child abuse at the hands of the malicious grandmother who has locked the four central siblings away in a small attic, and incesty teenage love between the two older siblings that is written in low-budget soap opera style, but draws in readers and keeps them going to the bitter end.

This is a book that makes a strong impression; it's inherent sense of wrongness from the forbidden romance, along with inciting an urge to figure out why they are in that attic in the first place, why on earth the Dollangangers' grandmother is the grade-A-bitch-from-Hell, and if they will ever be released from their attic prison, makes Flowers in the Attic a strongly impressive, if solidly seedy mystery that will likely put you firmly on the path to its sequels.

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If you like your romantic mysteries with a touch (and only a very light feather-touch) of science fiction then you're in luck with Naked in Death. Set in New York in 2058, this romance-mystery centers around a New York cop who is investigating a high profile case that takes her into the world of politics and society, and straight into the arms of the main suspect. The first in the astonishingly long (over 40 books and counting!!) In Death series, this book brings us Roarke, a character who is so popular among the ladies that he has his own groupies.

He's a romance novel trope if ever there was one; a handsome bad boy, rich (owning a large portion of the 2058 world), confident, intelligent, driven and determined to get the girl. From those readers who love biblio-bad-boys, Roarke garners swoons and sighs for his scintillating sexiness that is sometimes offset by sickly sweetness. It's Roarke that brings in the readers, and the lady he has his eye on, our protagonist Eve, is a tough chick who tries to fight her attraction to his forbidden fruit.

Now, I do have to put in a word about the "science fiction" elements. Whilst this is supposed to be set in a world in which technology dominates, we are exposed to very little of this, a few mentions of minor technological advances like AutoChefs, but it is difficult to get immersed in this future in which humans apparently no longer cook for themselves, as it is never described in much detail. For most who read Naked in Death though, this is not much of an issue, because let's be honest anyone who reads a book with "Naked" in the title that features a hunky bad boy is not looking for fantastically visualized worlds everything else, including the central mystery, is second fiddle to romancing the marvelous man, and that is definitely what you get.

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Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca is a classic love story tinged with mystery that people looking for love and Gothic masterpiece will adore. It's the story of a young girl (who is not called "Rebecca", her name is actually never revealed) who is swept off of her feet by an older, rich gentleman, and is struggling to find her own identity in a new and mysterious home.

This is one of those books that is best enjoyed with a cup of tea, under a blanket on a rainy day (inside, of course), a true literary classic in the vein of Jane Eyre that is well-written to the point that characters come to life, and can be empathized with, even when there is the creeping suspicion that something is very wrong. Battling the memory of her husbands deceased wife is a tough shtick for our nameless heroine, and this endears her to the reader even more, who are likely to want to protect the charming creature and try to right her situation.

Whilst it is a classic and powerful novel that won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1938, bear in mind that this is not a novel that just anyone will love. Rebecca is a novel of dramatic proportions that is best left to those with a penchant for classic literature, those who take pleasure in the Austens and Bronts; it is a beautifully and meticulously crafted master stroke of Gothic romance, that will tug on the heartstrings of those who are empathetic and more erudite of the genre.

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Now we have a paranormal romance mystery compound mixture that sees our main mademoiselle Megan meeting up with some long lost family members, and taking to others much, much, more readily than others, like her (distant) cousin Matt who is mysterious, classically handsome and exudes a strong magnetism over Megan as well as making her extremely mad. Meeting her family calls into question all Megan thought she knew about herself, and as we learn the dark secrets in her family's past it takes some interesting turns into paranormal territory.

Overall it is a considerably well-written and thought out storyline, with some pretty interesting twists along the path to the truth. Our characters are likable and relatable too, which always helps. Megan is a smart mouthed girl, but not brash or one to overstep boundaries, and she always seems to know just who to ask to get the right information. Matt is a cold and distant chap, but his reasons for being so are also revealed in time, and fit well into the overarching story - an odd and creepy tale that will keep you hooked and guessing right until the very end.

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Our next offering is almost like a literary cross between Sex and the City and Murder She Wrote, as four friends meet for lunch and begin to contemplate what would make the perfect man. What started as a fun game escalates though as their list gets out and apparently someone is not too pleased by the women's standards and begins terrorising them. It's a bit of a far-fetched plot to be sure, the idea of a ladies' lunch discussion becoming the focus of national attention and making them targets for a psychopath is frankly, absurd, but it's fun and it works for what it is.

It also features a refreshingly written romance for chick-lit. There is no love at first sight, jumping right into bed for insta-love and fucking, in fact, our main character Jaine and her primary beau Sam don't even particularly like each other at first, they have issues to work out. Not that there's no standard chick-lit fare here for those of you who love it, our guy is still a hunk, an alpha male, and as Jaine puts it: he's a jerk. But a jerk that you can swoon over, so thumbs up, hey ladies? It's not all sunshine and rainbows though, this book is sad and disturbing at times, even including a look at events from the perspective of the killer, seamlessly switching between the multiple points of view. Mr Perfect is one of Linda Howard's greatest, and a solid romantic mystery for anyone who adores love blended with suspense, tension, and murder.

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Now here's a slice of chick-lit comedy romance-mystery for those of you out there who love mystery, romance, and shoes. Spying in High Heels is the story of a shoe designer who unwittingly sashays into a criminal investigation after her boyfriend disappears but no worries for her love life, there's a new romantic interest in the form of Ramirez: the cop on the case. The steamy officer is a mysterious workaholic who acts as Maddie's protector, and is just one in a cast of quirky and colorful characters. Maddie herself is a stereotypical dumb blonde think Reese Witherspoon as perky lawyer Elle Woods, if she'd taken a turn into fashion instead of law.

Although unlike Elle, she has a very strong inability to think at times which can really grate at times is it really possible to be this stupid?! Nonetheless, she is a sweet and charming character that fans of chick-lit are bound to love, and she does manage to somehow solve the case. Then again, it's a no-brainier, so maybe that's why. If you love your mysteries complex and twisty, this isn't for you. This is a simple, quick and easy read, and it's the romance that keeps pages turning rather than the mystery, best suited as a light beach read or an option for those looking for something cute and cosy, Spying in High Heels is a perfect romantic mystery for the truly girly and glam.

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With Lowcountry Boil Susan M. Boyer brings us a finely crafted mystery about a modern day Southern belle trying to solve her grandmother's murder. Despite being strong-armed out of the picture by her Police-Chief brother, feisty private investigator Liz won't let that stand in her way, and sets about trying to solve the case herself in smart, piercingly observant and quirky style. As Liz returns to her island hometown, we experience Southern small-town life, and Boyer details it masterfully - it's cosy and relaxing, and filled with diverse people with various motives and personalities, and this attention to detail in the creation of this fictional island and its inhabitants makes the overall mystery spring to life.

It's a surprisingly complex and twisty plot, one that relies more heavily on it's mystery roots than it's romance ones, but don't despair! With two strong contenders for Liz's heart, both of whom are gratuitously gorgeous, there's plenty of romantic interest here to keep you lovelorn literary fans out there satisfied. This is a cunning mystery from a relative newcomer, and a brilliantly executed one, earning Susan Boyer the Agatha Award for Best First Novel (2012) for her efforts. Fans of smart cosy romances, hardy heroines and Southern sensibilities would be foolish to pass up the chance to delve into Lowcountry Boil.

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Ah, Stephanie Plum! Her first outing and boy, is it a good one. Die-hard chick-lit mystery buffs will no doubt be well acquainted with Miss Plum, or at the very least other works by her creator, Janet Evanovich. Evanovich is one of the greatest chick-lit/romance/humor/mystery authors around today, enjoying much success as a result of her books which feature strong, funny female protagonists who kick-ass, take names, and solve devilish mysteries. Stephanie Plum is one such heroine, if less seasoned and skilled than most others.

Stephanie Plum is a recently fired femme who takes a job from her cousin to make a quick buck, and thus begins hunting down bail jumpers. It gets better for her when she finds out that old flame Joe Morelli has a hefty price tag on his head, and Stephanie sets out to bring him in to bring home the bacon. Plum is a..well, a bit of a plum, really. She's a bungler, new to the job and has no clue what she's doing. Luckily she gets training from sexy stud, "Ranger" while the heat between the inept investigator and her ex still radiates, making for plenty of romance and man-candy for those with an appetite to sate.

Tracking down Joe brings Steph face-to-face with dangerous men, and some very helpful ho's, and makes this first threat-fraught outing a fun one, even if not one for everyone. It's not the greatest book ever, but this is Evanovich's debut, and it showcases her innate ability to write funny and fresh female flatfoots that are so enthralling that this one was picked up by Hollywood to be made into Katherine Heigl blockbuster "The Bounty Hunter". So if you want to see where Stephanie Plum began before she was embodied by Heigl and her perfect ass, One for the Money is (don't shoot me, I can't resist it) one for your money.

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This next novel is a bit different from your typical romantic mysteries, it's main duo are a tough female investigative reporter, and an honest good guy politician (that settles it, this is definitely fiction!), who end up embroiled in a steamy affair and on the wrong end of a political scandal. Our reporter, Kara, is a hardworking single mother, trying to juggle the balance of career and child. Clare realistically draws the struggle for single mothers with demanding careers, and while Kara doesn't always make great choices, she has a wonderfully supportive mother herself, who also happens to attend topless demonstrations in her spare time which makes for some fantastically funny moments.

Lets not forget Kara's partner in crime (so to speak), Reece provides us with a look into a life of a Senator, and with him being an honest one (shock-horror!) it is certainly an interesting and refreshing change of pace to most mystery novels. The developing romance between Reece and Kara is a deliciously slow-burning one that sizzles, building up over time to a sensuous and seductive climax. Extreme Exposure is a delightfully well-balanced novel, filled to burst with action, sex, drama, suspense, sex, passion, mystery, and did I mention sex? It's the erotic romance mystery jackpot, hot and inviting and begging you to come and get it, it's the perfect novel for those who want their romantic mystery with a lot of added spice.

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This next book dishes up a serial killer mystery with a side helping of romance to offset the horror of this sick killer's spree. We have two strong and interesting protagonists in our couple, Laurant and Nick. She is a sweet and determined dame with courage and inner strength, and he is an archetypal strong, solid hero who falls for a woman he's determined not to. This sweet romance against-the-odds takes place on the backdrop of a serial murder case, and this is one fucked up killer.

Those of you with a strong aversion to graphic descriptions of gore will be glad to hear that Garwood never goes overboard in her details of the murder or actions of the killer, she gives just enough to show that this is a nasty human being without devolving into gratuitous over description. Our killer is also not an easy one to pick out, Garwood does some very clever work with red herrings in a bumper suspect list, and he's not one that can be identified at first appearance.

He's dangerous, and creates a suitable sense of risk that leads up to a thrilling climax. This strong plot is backed up by a fun and interesting cast of supporting characters that help provide a great sense of depth and comic relief. Overall, Heartbreaker's strongly written romance and exhilarating mystery and intense suspense make it a top-notch example of a simultaneously tender and thrilling teaser.

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Mary Stewart, unofficial Queen of Suspense now delivers just that, with Nine Coaches Waiting, a haunting and suspenseful novel of love and mystery. In true Mary Stewart style, we have a prim and proper young English governess who travels to a chateau in rural France where she meets a charming and enigmatic French noble. There is instant attraction between the two, though Linda senses underlying darkness in the ravishing Raoul, and she has to navigate this potentially rocky relationship whilst also having to contend with an apparent sinister plot against the young Count in her charge.

Stewart's inherent ability to exquisitely write locations and transport her readers to them through her prose is ever present in this novel, with the opulence and prime historical context of 1950's rural France permeating every page. This is a splendid setting for a pleasantly powerful web of intrigue, which is among the masterful Mary Stewart's best, and is certainly one that fans of both Stewart and romantic mystery won't fail to be impressed by.

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We continue our opulent Gothic trend with Anya Seton's 1944 classic, Dragonwyck. The story of a young farm girl who dreams of a richer life is unexpectedly granted her wish by a distant and mysterious relative. Clearly not a believer in -- if it seems too good to be true, it probably is -- she runs off to Dragonwyck, where I'm sure nothing will go wrong, right? Wrong. Though perhaps Miranda thinks its worth the danger to meet handsome, brooding, charming distant cousin Nicholas, who instantly enchants the nymph, along with a number of notable persons of the time, including the prince of Gothic literature himself, Edgar Allen Poe.

Not one to be starstruck, Miranda is a selfish and shallow girl, which in its own way is a refreshing change of pace for a genre which usually features demure, sensible and outwardly altruistic and delicate heroines. Jane Eyre she is not, despite the tale being in a similar vein. Dragonwyck is a compelling and mysterious tale of Gothic romance that despite having characters with intrinsically detestable characteristics is unusually endearing, and one that shouldn't be missed.

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Gothic fare is aplenty today with this next artistic blend of old-school gothic romance with Italian history. Barbara Michaels brings us the story of a nubile young English-Italian girl caught up in the midst of the Italian Unification (that's in the mid-1800s for those of you who aren't up to scratch with your Italian history), and the hunt for the mysterious rebel leader, Falcon. It's not an entirely unpredictable mystery nor exceedingly simple, rather it's a nicely plotted one that can be discerned with enough attention to the subtle details of the story and implementation of brain power.

Those of you who enjoy history, particularly of the Italian variety are looking in the right place here, but bear in mind that there is a bit of a lapse in description of the actual events of the time, so some of it may pass over the heads of those not fully versed in the events that lead to a united Italy.

Historical quibbles aside, Wings of the Falcon provides a heartfelt romance that supports itself perfectly without the need to prop itself upon pornographically explicit sex scenes (which dependent on your stance could be either a positive or a negative, but here I'm writing it as a very strong point in it'sfavour). Strong and smart characters, plot and romantic elements make this classic historical-romantic-mystery one that stands the test of time.

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Gallows Hill is the tale of 17 year old Sarah who after being persuaded by an attractive classmate to pose as a fortune teller for the school Halloween party, begins to have real visions that tell her things she couldn't ever possibly know. Branded a witch by her classmates, Sarah is thrown into a downward spiralling series of events that mirrors the Salem witch hunts, and the town itself with it's backwards small town mindset is filled with infuriatingly close minded people and resembles a modern day Salem Village in itself.

Now Sarah must find out what her visions mean, and wll discover the truth behind the history of the town. Gallows Hill has a predictable plot and is filled with lots of super faux spiritualistic bullshit, but this makes it a perfect example of a typical (pre)teen horror story tinged with mystery, far from complex but capable of holding your attention in its silver-crossed palm.

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Gallows Hill is the tale of 17 year old Sarah who after being persuaded by an attractive classmate to pose as a fortune teller for the school Halloween party, begins to have real visions that tell her things she couldn't ever possibly know. Branded a witch by her classmates, Sarah is thrown into a downward spiraling series of events that mirrors the Salem witch hunts, and the town itself with it's backwards small town mindset is filled with infuriatingly close minded people and resembles a modern day Salem Village in itself.

Now Sarah must find out what her visions mean, and will discover the truth behind the history of the town. Gallows Hill has a predictable plot and is filled with lots of super faux spiritualistic bullshit, but this makes it a perfect example of a typical (pre)teen horror story tinged with mystery, far from complex but capable of holding your attention in its silver-crossed palm.

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Our next author is somewhat royalty among suspense novels, writing multitudes of books (under multiple names no less), though typically her romantic suspense/mystery novels are a bit sub-par to say the least. This one is an anomaly though, arguably her best of the genre. The Witness is a story of (wait for it) a witness to a murder in witness protection who's on the run to save her life and conveniently finds a cop to fall in love with her and protect her.

Some witnesses just get star treatment, it seems; protection detail, new identity, sex with a hot cop... Unusually though for a romantic mystery, our heroine is smart, really smart, like genius-level-daughter-of-a-neurosurgeon-smart. But she stills gets mixed up with the wrong people. Typical, really.

The story is tightly written though, filled with interesting characters, and featuring a central romance that is passionate, heart-warming and hot enough to make you lovesick puppies out there swoon --  in fact swoon-worthy is the most common description of it. Filled with just the right amount of suspense to keep you on tenterhooks without becoming so overblown as to become comical, The Witness is a pitch perfect, thrilling romantic mystery with characters that you'll never want to let go of.

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If you're looking for a novel with thrills, chills and serial kills, with some suspense, sex and steam, look no further than You Belong to Me, in which we meet a sexy widower cop and a troubled medical examiner who find love in the midst of a serial killer investigation. Is it just me, or is it a bit strange how serial killing somehow seems to create so many romantic couplings? Weird. Anyway! The romance presented here is intense, passionate and sexy, filled with heat and over-boiling emotions.

The overall story can drag it's ass at times, and can get a bit bogged down in over-complicated minute details, but it has a satisfyingly sadistic serial killer and is filled with suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat right to its nail-biting conclusion. In the meantime it skips along merrily at a nice easy-yet-brisk pace, taking a number of twists and turns along it's way, not really leaving any form of breadcrumb trail as to the identity of the killer so if you like to try and figure it out as you go, you may take issue with this one. On the other hand, if you're happy to sit back and just let the story take you where it will, and like mysteries where the baddie can't be picked out at first appearance, you'd be remiss to pass up You Belong To Me.

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Here's another Sex and the City style tale for your reading pleasure, with a lot more murder, but still retaining the lunching ladies talking openly about their men and sex lives. These are women who do pretty much what they want, having casual make-out sessions and affairs with executives, trying to navigate a murder mystery, whilst engaging deeply in their respective romances. Refreshingly, these are romances that feel real, and the women themselves feel like real people -- they make mistakes, they have flaws, but they're still smart and strong, not polar extremes of either absolutely flawless and pure as virgin snow or absolute stupid and/or slutty.

They have complexity and it seems for once as if women are y'know, human. The actual mystery itself is pretty easy to figure out, one that sort of accidentally reveals itself without trying, but it's the interesting characters and their fun antics that'll keep you engaged past the obvious plot. There are genuinely humorous moments scattered throughout Fast Women, which adds greatly to the readability of this fun, frivolous and light mix of romance and mystery.

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This next novel brings an added (if slight) paranormal element to our current selection of romance-mystery hybrids. Focusing on an interior designer who can sense emotions in walls -- yes, emotions in walls -- who thinks one of her clients is hiding a dark secret and so calls in a private investigator. Of course, a romance develops between the two (you don't need supernatural powers to see that one coming!), but it's a nicely slow-burning romance in a story that progresses nice and quickly whilst retaining it's element of suspense and timing, refraining from dumping character background and plot on the reader all at once.

The only thing really missing from the romance is sufficient sizzle -- it's got emotion and sex, just not super-hot steamy erotic love. Nonetheless, this adds for a slightly more realistic romance than is often depicted. Furthermore, the novel's added paranormal element, whilst hardly the most developed, or the most useful, or even the most interesting power, adds an extra level of depth to a story that would otherwise be indistinguishable from your typical cookie-cutter romantic mystery. Overall, Jayne Ann Krentz's Light in Shadow is an enjoyable and multi-dimensional romance mystery with a number of intriguing side plots that keep you asking for more.

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Next up we have a dynamic and action-filled mystery, tinged with romance; a story of dirty cops, cover-ups, a man on the run and the widow he holds hostage as he searches her home for something unknown. What is everybody searching for? It's a cleverly constructed mystery, and one that you're unlikely to guess.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, which does add to the overall depth and level of detail, but to be perfectly honest, there are some characters whose points of view really aren't that interesting theres no need to give voice to side characters who frankly, nobody really gives a damn about. The big selling point of Light in Shadow, lies with it's main duo, Lee and Honor are two characters that are instantly likable. Lee is direct and to the point, Honor is brave, intelligent and will do anything to protect her daughter.

Also, Lee is one of those guys that gets his own literary groupies, women read the book and want to throw themselves at him, they want to be held hostage by this man because Brown has written a hero who is smoking hot with an air of danger and mystery, that makes women go weak at the knees. If you're looking for a hot hero to sink your teeth into (down, ladies!) and take you on an action-packed, mysterious, thrill-ride, get to grips with the enchanting Lee Coburn in Light in Shadow.

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Right, now to hand you a female protagonist who really is very unlike the others - I'm not just saying that this time, I swear, she stands out more than the others! Our main character is a food critic, Agnes Crandall, better known as "Cranky Agnes" - a good indicator that unlike a large number of females in chick-lit romantic mysteries, she is not sickly sweet.

Agnes is just a normal, down-to-earth woman who loves food and gets involved with a hitman after someone tries to steal her dog. Normal, right? As you may expect, this is a book that doesn't take itself too seriously; it's filled with humor and is the source of some downright hilarious lines and moments courtesy of its unique protagonist.

Furthermore, the blooming romance between hitman Shane and angry Cranky Agnes is a nice simple one; its not complicated, there are no typical romance novel mix-ups or misunderstandings, and yet it still manages to be hot and heavy. Following Agnes and her anger issues through a hilarious whodunit adventure and her courtship with the hitman makes for an entertaining, engaging and quirky story that is difficult to put down.

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Our next protagonist, Alexandra Lovell, is an expert in making people disappear --  no, she doesn't kill them, she helps them gain new identities to get away for whatever reason. But she has to enlist the help of a crack forensic team and a sexy police detective when one of them actually vanishes for real. Sure, she has no proof but of course the hunky homicide detective sticks around anyway because of his magnetic attraction to Alex -- great police work there Nathan, I hope real detectives think with their actual brains more, and less with their dicks.

So yes, going on the unsubstantiated word of Alex and her hunch, they try to find the (possibly) missing and hastily-presumed-dead woman. Alex's dependence on word of mouth and instant belief that everyone tells the truth can make her annoying, as she never actually does much investigating even though she's a private investigator (it's in your job title, love!), and then she expects everyone else to always take her word for everything.

Frustrating is not the word! Massive character flaw aside though, the actual story is an engaging one, fast-paced, sexy and romantic -- Nathan and Alex's romance is hot, spicy and sweet. Untraceable is an overall fantastic start to a series with the uniquely intriguing premise of "tracers", a group of interesting and diverse experts working together tracking down hard to find people.

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Evanovich is back in the house with another comedy/chick-lit/romance/mystery mash-up. Not as popular as her iconic Stephanie Plum series, but still worth a mention as she cranks up the comedy in this first of her "Full" series. It's largely focused on the developing romance between the two main characters; both of whom are slightly bonkers, and really quite strange, but Evanovich's talent for writing these weird characters, putting them in over-the-top silly situations and managing to make them still seem at least somewhat believable shines through and makes for great comedy.

The mystery element is subtle, starting off slowly with minor strange occurrences that seem so insubstantial that at first nobody really pays them any mind, that is until they begin to snowball and everything starts to get just a bit more frightening, and even more unusual. It's the type of book you'll read and possibly feel a little cheated or even a little guilty after you're done(kind of the same feeling induced by most books of its type... or porn) but that's what comes with the territory of fun and simple chick-lit, which is exactly what you get.

Full House is a fun, quick mystery romance read perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich's brand of comedy, or anyone looking for something that'll provide them love, laughs and mystery in one neat, albeit slightly stupid, package.

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Our final offering is a historical romance mystery; Silent in the Sanctuary, the second book in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series. Raybourn brings us a mystery set in 1800's Italy, with a nice quirky mix of characters who are pretty much all suspects in a whodunit style mystery that is almost reminiscent of some historical version of Cluedo. The series' staple characters are just as intriguing as in their first outing, Julia continues to provide charming dry humor, and Brisbane continues to be a brooding bastard.

The interactions between the two reflect both their reluctance towards their crime-fighting partnership and their clear yearning for each other, filling the spaces between their arguments with longing stares, and it makes for a cracking read. The story is filled with danger, darkness and gets ever so slightly creepy at points, making it a brilliant addition to a series which continues to impress and provide a heady mix of mystery and romance in a period setting that fully engulfs the reader -- a true must read for fans of all things historical, romantic, mysterious and charming.

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