Several of my previous posts were about some pretty serious reading, but sometimes I read very different types of books, when I just need to escape and be entertained – my so-called “frivolous” reading. When I am looking for this sort of reading, one genre I tend towards is the light-tone murder mystery, where the enjoyment comes as much from the entertaining characters and setting as from the murder mystery itself. Two of my favorite series are the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman, and the Cat Who… books by Lillian Jackson Braun. The Mrs. Pollifax mysteries are about an older woman who is bored with life, becomes a CIA agent, and gets involved in adventures all over the world. They are decently well-written and quite clever and funny. The Cat Who… books are about a journalist with two very smart cats who lives in a tiny nothern town in the Great Lake region and gets involved in mysteries which his cats usually help solve. I really enjoy the small-town atmosphere and characters in this series. Sadly, I have read every book in both of these series (except possibly the very latest cat books, but unfortunately I have found that her recent books are not nearly as good as the earlier ones. I am afraid that she is past her prime). However, I recently discovered a new series that is quite similar in some ways to the cat books — the Hannah Swensen mysteries by Joanne Fluke. They also take place in a small Minnesota town, and bring out the small-town characters and atmosphere. I have read two so far and found them decently entertaining, although I do not think they are as well-written as the cat books. However, the major draw for me is that the title character owns a bakery and each book includes several cookie and pie recipes! Since I love to bake and I love this type of mystery novel, it’s the perfect combination.