When it comes to mysteries, Archer Mayor has put Vermont on the map with his excellent Joe Gunther series. Here is a sampling from other writers about crime in Vermont.
Don Bredes – Hector Bellevance is town constable in his hometown, Tipton, in northeast Vermont. In Cold Comfort his brother, Spud, becomes the suspect when a neighboring couple is found shot to death in their home. Hector teams up with Wilma, a local reporter, to solve the case.
B. Comfort – You’ll probably have to ask for Green Mountain Murder on inter-library loan. The copy is old and ‘well-used’, but it is a fun read. Ski area developers, drug dealers, antique thieves, Act 250 and stolen goods in a barn on Rt 7A south of Arlington all combine to make you feel right at home. I really enjoyed it.
Melissa Glazer – Fictional Maple Ridge, Vermont, is the home of the pottery shop owned by Carolyn Emerson. In A Murderous Glaze, a body is discovered in her shop and she appears to be the main suspect. The characters could use further development, in my opinion, but if you want a quick, enjoyable, light cozy for a cold evening it would fit the bill.
Anna Salter – Forensic psychologist Michael Stone is featured in Shiny Water. She lives and works in Vermont but there isn’t a lot of “local color” in the book. It is not a cozy. Two children are murdered. The book has a lot of information about the sexual abuse of children and its treatment (or lack thereof) in the courts. In fact, I skipped several paragraphs throughout as the character got on a soap-box. It is an important topic, but I often felt it was too heavily handled.
Sarah Stewart Taylor – In O’ Artful Death an unusual gravestone on a woman’s grave leads Boston art historian Sweeney St. George to Vermont. While solving the mystery of what happened to the young woman in 1890, and who sculpted the unusual headstone, she becomes involved in two present-day murders.
Barbara Bretton – Chloe Hobbs is owner of a knitting shop in the small, magical (fictional) town of Sugar Maple. The novels are cozies, almost more a romance than a mystery. There is a dead body and a handsome policeman sent to investigate. They are light and fun. Try Casting Spells.
Virginia Winters – How often have you heard, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? This is a case in point. I would NEVER have taken this book of the shelf to read if I hadn’t wanted to review it for the library’s newsletter. Murderous Roots has a dreadful cover, fortunately, the story is much better. Dr. Anne McPhail, a Canadian doctor, is searching for her ancestral roots in Vermont when a body is found in the library. Lt. Adam Davidson of the Culvers Mills police department, along with the rest of his crew, is on the case. I think the author, or publisher, had in mind to make Dr. McPhail the central character. It doesn’t come across that way. Lt Davidson is the real central character. And, he would be the character to continue with if it should become a series.
R. A. Harold – Heron Island takes place in 1903, just before a planned visit by President Teddy Roosevelt. A murder occurs on the Vermont island retreat where “Teddy” will be staying. Is the murder a plot by anarchists intending to assassinate Roosevelt, or was it driven by personal motives? It’s 500 well written pages and contains interesting things that I didn’t know about Vermont’s history.
Kate George – Moonlighting in Vermont is another cozy with romance thrown in. Bella MacGowan is a very likeable heroine. She works at the local newspaper and moonlights at a local five-star hotel. While working at the hotel she discovers a body and becomes the chief suspect.
John Vibber – Shadow on Cant-dog Hill takes place in the Northeast Kingdom. The parts describing why people live here are beautiful. Reviewers talk about twists, turns and red herrings, but I had it figured out before I reached the half-way point. Tighter editing would have made this a much better read; the last two chapters were unnecessary and should have been omitted. P.S. A cant-dog is part of a cant-hook, used in logging.