Monday, June 09, 2008

Book note: Mysterious Incidents at Lone Rock, by Rajendra Pillai

Believe it or not, I just read a Christian murder mystery starring a Hindu policeman. And liked it, overall.

The first part of Mysterious Incidents at Lone Rock (Heartsong Presents, 2008), I didn't think I was going to like it, but it picked up as it went, and turned into a pretty good little cozy, all in all, plus I found myself rather liking the central sleuth, Chintamoni Roy, better known as Chinni.

So, I went in search of information on whether this was perhaps the launch of a new series, all the more so because the prologue has the narrator (a Professor Richard Harrison) claiming that this case happened over thirty years ago, and that Chinni was 'a new friend at the time'.

So far, so good.

Then I find that the Heartsong mysteries are only available through their book club, which only sends out new releases (as far as I can tell), which means (as far as I know) that to get your hands on a copy of this title you're going to have to find a used book. (Like I did.)

Yargh. I dislike flash in the pan publishing. :(

Anyway, this is a cozy in the true sense. The language is clean, there isn't gore, there are some nice red herrings, there are mysteries within the mystery, and, tah dah, we even have our hero having everyone assemble on the premises for the dramatic unveiling of the solution.

Chinni is a decent and considerate man. If he unearths something that would probably cause 'disharmony,' he doesn't use it if he doesn't need to. At the same time, he doesn't flinch from asking anything he thinks needs asking. And, just to make it more fun, he thinks crime solving is much like algebra, and should be approached as such (to the occasional distress of his more conventional colleagues).

Here's hoping Chinni Roy gets another case. And a publisher that will keep the book in print for people to discover in due time.

(And - is this too much to ask? - a publisher that would make the books available sooner or later to bookstores, because, you know, bookstores have trouble finding good, clean mysteries to stock these days.)

Speaking of authentic cozies, feel free to recommend some in the comments, particularly if you know of any that have been recently published. I am so tired of bad language and worse attitudes in contemporary fiction, and I love to encourage the nice guys, both secular and Christian.


susansbooks said...

Jan and Ron Benrey write authentic cozies. Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense has their Glory, North Carolina Series, consisting of Glory Be!, Gone to Glory and Grits and Glory. The also have a Pippa Hunnechurch series and a Royal Tunbridge Mystery series, but I don't know the publisher on them. They can be found on Virginia Smith has a cozy under the Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense imprint called Murder by Mushroom. Also Steeple Hill is Lynn Bulock's Gracie Lee Mystery Series (No Love Lost, Love the Sinner, Less Than Frank). Peggy Darty wrote a cozy series set in Summer Breeze, FL. The books are When the Sandpiper Calls, When Bobbie Sang the Blues and When Zeffie Got a Clue. They are published by WaterBrook Press. For further titles, you can put Cozy Mystery on the search line on under Books, and you will get a large list.

The Heartsong Presents Mysteries books by Barbour will be reissued eventually as Bygone Bookstore Mysteries, with new covers. They will be available for retail (, CBD, Barnes and Noble, etc).

Kathryn Judson said...

Dear susansbooks, Thanks for the info!

My husband and I have a small, independent bookstore. We carry mostly used books, but we bring in new books as special orders, and as needed to round out the inventory, or to support authors and publishers of worthwhile reads. And, to me, a good cozy is a worthwhile read. I'll be checking out your suggestions.

My problem with using search lines for cozy mysteries is that some books classified under the heading these days don't meet my language or content standards. That's why I rely on personal recommendations as much as possible. Thanks again for yours.