Philly… It’s Murder: Eight of the best mysteries set in Philadelphia
(Amy Korman a native of Philadelphia offers us a list of the top mysteries set in the city brotherly love)
She’s the ultimate Philly insider author and captures the city’s lovable craziness in her bestselling mystery series anchored around the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm. Scottoline, who attended college and law school at the University of Pennsylvania, is as funny and cool in person as she is on the page and writes frequently about her adventures with her family. Grab any chance to attend one of her speaking engagements or book signings. She’s hilarious and down to earth, and her personal appearances and readings are awesome!
Swierzcynski’s latest mystery starts with the killing of two Philly policemen in 1965 and weaves a tale that sees one of the cop’s sons and granddaughter tackling the crime in 1995 and again in present day. In addition to several mystery series, Swierczynski writes for Marvel
Comics and DC Comics, is an accomplished journalist, and once plumbed the mysteries of how to get great abs at Men’s Health magazine. (Full disclosure—so did I!)
It’s pure joy to read the Trenton adventures of Stephanie, Lula, Morelli, and Range—and to Philly natives, Trenton is basically a sister city. Bond enforcement agent Stephanie Plum frequently trails criminals around Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and regularly travels to the Jersey Shore, so she’s a Philly girl in our book.
Cordelia Frances Biddle, The Martha Beale series
Biddle is part of a well-known family that generously gives back to the community, cares deeply about the city’s past and future, and has longtime Philadelphia roots. Her Martha Beale books, set in the 1840s, capture classic Philly settings including Eastern State Penitentiary (these days, this former prison is open for tours and well worth a visit—it’s truly evocative, sad, creepy, and unforgettable).
The Blackbird Sisters mysteries feature a plucky ex-debutante and have a real insider’s voice into a certain old-Philly, horsey elegance and the quirky charms of Bucks County. If you’ve ever thrown on a Lilly P. dress and visited the Devon Horse Show, you’ve found your beach read. (Ideally, you’ll also be sipping a lemon-stick-lemonade, the signature Devon drink.) Ms. Martin also writes books about New Jersey mobsters and a Texas sleuth/dogsitter, all with an easy charm.
In this fast-paced read, sports agent/sleuth Myron Bolitar is visiting Philly’s Main Line when the son of a top golfer who’s playing in the U.S. Open is kidnapped. Coben nails the understated, leafy beauty of the area’s storied old golf clubs and manor houses and captures the golf fever that grips our town when the Open is here.
In 2010, the owner of Burgundy’s treasured Domaine de la Romanée-Conti estates received a threat that his grapevines would be poisoned—unless he paid a ransom of one million Euros. Potter weaves an intriguing nonfiction narrative. And, okay, the book isn’t set in Philly, but the author is a native of the city, a former editor at the city’s top magazine, and built his investigative-journalist skills right here.
John D. Macdonald, The Travis McGee series
Macdonald is a Pennsylvania native, and among his many hard-boiled, awesomely titled short stories is a gem called “The Filly from Philly.” In his Travis McGee series, the author brings Northeast-city grit to the sun-soaked beaches of Fort Lauderdale, which we like to think of as “Philly south.” Just the thought of sipping Plymouth gin aboard the Busted Flush houseboat, docked in Slip F-18 at Bahia Mar, makes us thirsty.
(In Killer Punch, the new book in the Killer Wasps mystery series, crime once again strikes the leafy town of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: A valuable painting is missing, there’s fraud amid the festivities at the town’s beloved Tomato Show, and Kristin has concocted a new signature drink, Paul Masson Peach Punch, to lure shoppers into her store, The Striped Awning. (The e-book is out from Witness Impulse/HarperCollins on August 23, 2016.)
Amykorman.com; Twitter: @killermysteries