Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spotlight Series: Jane Jeffry Mysteries

Jill Churchill, winner of the Agatha and Macavity Mystery Readers Awards, and nominated for an Anthony for her best-selling Jane Jeffry series, lives as Jane does, in a midwestern suburb. On purpose! She says writing this series and the Grace and Favor series is the best treat she can have without a knife and fork.

Under her real name, Janice Young Brooks, and various pseudonyms, she's written historical novels, a gothic novel, and a history textbook as well as many articles for newspapers and magazines. When she's not writing, she's avidly doing genealogy which she says is a lot like mysteries with all the red herrings, clues, speculations, and surprises.

She gardens enthusiastically, needlepoints superbly, and plays a mean game of gin against the computer. She has a son and daughter and two granddaughters, Rose Louise and Emma. Janice is currently in a battle of supremacy with her cat Max.

I was a single mom when I came across the Jane Jeffry mystery series and Jane's character really resonated with me. She isn't a slacker, but she's not exactly a Type A mom either. Her husband died in a car accident and at the beginning of the series, she's just starting to think about trying to date again. She and her neighbor Shelley always seem to find themselves in the middle of murder investigations, partly because of their nosiness, but mostly because of Jane's strong desire to see justice done. After a few run-ins with detective Mel VanDyne, they begin to date and we get to experience dating as a single mom right along with Jane. The mysteries are always fun and Jane has a good reason to be involved in each case, usually. These books are becoming harder to find as the series goes out of print, but if you do come across one, I highly recommend checking it out.

Important Characters to Know
Jane Jeffry -Widowed stay-at-home mom to 3 kids. Aspiring author.

Mel VanDyne - Local homicide detective. Dating Jane.

Shelley Nowack -Jane's next door neighbor and partner in amateur crime detecting.

Jane Jeffry series
(in reading order, links lead to my reviews)
  1. Grime and Punishment
  2. A Farewell to Yarns
  3. A Quiche Before Dying
  4. The Class Menagerie
  5. A Knife to Remember
  6. From Here to Paternity
  7. Silence of the Hams
  8. War and Peas
  9. Fear of Frying
  10. The Merchant of Menace
  11. A Groom With a View
  12. Mulch Ado About Nothing
  13. The House of Seven Mabels
  14. Bell, Book, and Scandal
  15. A Midsummer Night's Scream
  16. The Accidental Florist
If you like the Jane Jeffry series, you should try:
The Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews
The Scumble River series by Denise Swanson
The Bed-and-Breakfast series by Mary Daheim
The Hemlock Falls series by Claudia Bishop
The Emma Lord series by Mary Daheim
The Sarah Deane series by J.S. Borthwick


  1. ! out of print!! So.. I went to check when was the first book published, before my birth year. wow

  2. This sounds like a great series--I am going to try to find the first one out there somewhere!

  3. I love mysteries and this serie sounds soooo interesting! Thank you for this post! I'll try to find the first book, too.