Category Archives: Humor

Jane Tesh. A Little Learning. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2009.

Madeline Maclin “Mac” Fairweather has it all: an adoring husband, Jerry, recognition as a budding artist, and notoriety as a successful private investigator after solving multiple murders in Celosia, a small (fictional) North Carolina town. Life is never dull for the former beauty queen, and this week is no exception. On Sunday, she is asked to crack a difficult, time-sensitive riddle that involves a large inheritance. While giving an art presentation on Monday, a despised teacher collapses from a heart attack, although Mac thinks the death is suspicious. And on Tuesday, séance-enthusiast and former conman Jerry is attacked while working at the local bookstore. How could seemingly harmless children’s collectible cards drive someone to use force on a stranger?  Are all of these mysteries connected, and will they be solved in time and without more deaths? Mac Fairweather, PI, is just the woman for this complex and dangerous job!

A Little Learning is Jane Tesh’s third book in her Maclin Investigations mystery series.

Check this title’s availability and the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Humor, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Tesh, Jane

Jane Tesh. A Hard Bargain. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2007.

Madeline “Mac” Maclin gained a bit of notoriety when she solved the murder of a local beauty contestant in A Case of Imagination, but the good people of Celosia, North Carolina still see her as a former beauty queen, not a private detective.  Desperate for work, Mac agrees to locate a man who left some cartons stored in Frannie Thomas’ guest bedroom.  Frannie let Kirby Willets store those boxes as a favor to a local librarian, Bernice Coleman, but now Frannie’s mother is coming to live with her and those cartons have got to go.  From this innocuous start, Tesh spins a tale that includes a faded Hollywood star, a monster in the woods, a secret love, and a fair share of small town quirkiness.  While looking for Willets, Mac also tries to help her boyfriend Jerry comes to terms with his childhood; Jerry’s backstory adds depth to the novel.

This is the second novel in the Maclin Investigations series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Humor, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Tesh, Jane

Jane Tesh. Maclin Investigations.

Madeline “Mac” Maclin is the former Miss Parkland, Parkland being a fictitious city in the North Carolina Piedmont.  Mac has left the pageant world behind for a new career as a private investigator.  Love (or, the hope of love) takes her to the small town of Celosia (also fictional) where she sets out to solve mysteries and wear down her boyfriend’s reluctance to give up his questionable businesses and settle down.

Celosia is a town with its share of good folks and crazies.  Each novel is populated with memorable people from boyfriend Jerry to local bookstore owner Georgia, to Ted Stacy (potential rival to Jerry), to the “Pageantoids”–beauty pageant enthusiasts who are sure that Mac’s coaching could help some local girl become Miss North Carolina.  As Mac struggles to get people to take her seriously, danger and humor intertwine.

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Filed under Humor, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Series, Tesh, Jane

Nic Brown. Floodmarkers. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2009.

It is September 22, 1989 and Hurricane Hugo is leaving its dark mark on Lystra, North Carolina. The power is out and the community is astir. The locals, and extended locals, are milling about the town attempting to work, corral their livestock or pets, party, and, of course, make last minute, emergency runs to the local grocery store. During all this the reader gets insights into the lives of the town’s inhabitants through 12 seemingly independent narratives that together tell the story of this small town and the day Hurricane Hugo hit.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brown, Nic, Humor, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Gregory Seaworthy. Bertie, or, Life in the Old Field. Philadelphia: A. Hart, 1851.

This is a novel of plantation life, set along the shores of Albemarle Sound.  It includes scenes of farming, fishing, church events, and socializing, and it gives a nice sense of the landscape of the area.  Most of the action in the novel centers on the romantic relationships of six couples.  The presence of a Yankee “professor” who misunderstands local speech and customs adds humor, but this is very much an antebellum work, and readers today might find some of the humor off-putting.

Capt. Gregory Seaworthy is a pseudonym of George Highby Throop. Throop was once a tutor to the children of Cullen Capehart, a plantation owner in Bertie County.  All Throop’s novels are thought to draw upon his experiences with the Capehart clan.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library online catalog.

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Filed under 1850-1859, 1851, Bertie, Coast, Humor, Novels to Read Online, Seaworthy, Gregory

Wille Thompson. Scratch Golfer. Hickory, NC: Mainland Press, 2008.

Webster (Web) Daniels’ life is a little down in the dumps lately; everything, from his advertising job to his golf game is a bit off. When the newest hire at Hay/Biggs/Pender Advertising, Richards Thomas III, is about to land the huge $20 million account of Ichi-ban Golf, Web finds himself employing the help of a new found ‘friend’ and his special golf balls. Aristotle Mann recently joined Web’s country club as the new golf pro. Aristotle brings with him some unique teaching tools, most of all golf balls that assure the player a par for the course. Once the rivalry between Web and Richards inevitably boils over, everything is left to the outcome of a winner-takes-all game of golf. Web requests the assistance of Aristotle and his magic golf balls to tip the odds in his favor. Of course this type of golf ball does not come at a small price: Web soon learns just how much his win will cost. It seems this time the Devil stopped off in Charlotte on his way down to Georgia.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Humor, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Thompson, Wille

Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia Delivers the Goods. New York: Viking, 2009.

That Hazel Marie! Miss Julia has become fond of her late husband’s mistress and the couple’s son, but Hazel Marie hasn’t always made it easy.  Miss Julia was scandalized when Hazel moved in with a new boyfriend, private detective J.D. Pickens.  Hazel and J.D. are each on the stormy side, and when J.D. has had enough, he leaves town.  Now Hazel finds herself expecting twins, and Miss Julia decides she must get the couple back together.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.

Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia Hits the Road. New York: Viking, 2003.

Miss Julia can’t figure out what is wrong with her friend Sam. He is too old for a mid-life crisis and too young for senility, but he inexplicably shows up in her driveway one day wearing a leather jacket and riding a Harley. Although she can’t seem to wrap her mind around it, he also begins courting her in earnest: flowers, bad poetry, and calling “just to talk.” However, the real problem in this book is that Miss Julia’s housekeeper Lillian and all her neighbors are in danger of being evicted by their shady landlord. Miss Julia comes to the rescue by organizing a Poker Run motorcycle fundraiser, but must also dodge the unwanted attentions of the event’s biggest benefactor. This is the fourth book about the proper widow’s adventures in the fictional town of Abbotsville.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.

Kathryn Lilley. A Killer Workout. New York: Signet, 2008.

The second book in the Fat City mystery series opens with Durham TV reporter Kate Gallagher enjoying both personal and professional success, but once again struggling with her weight. In order to win her diet battle, she signs up for a boot-camp style fitness program run by an old friend in the mountains. When her young roommate is found dead on the obstacle course, Kate finds out that this is not the first death at the camp and starts investigating.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Durham, Humor, Lilley, Kathryn, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Kathryn Lilley. Dying to Be Thin. New York: Signet, 2007.

After being laid off from her Boston-based TV producer job, Kate Gallagher dreams of becoming an on-air investigative reporter. To do so she needs to lose some weight, so she uses her severance pay as a down-payment for a 12-week weight-loss program at the Hoffman Clinic in Durham. She also agrees to produce a story about her transformation for the local news to pay for the balance. Within 24 hours of arriving in the “Diet Capital of the World,” Kate finds the dead body of the clinic’s founder and she starts using her investigative skills to find the killer. This is the first book in Kathryn Lilley’s Fat City mystery series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Durham, Humor, Lilley, Kathryn, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont