Tough Cookie by M. Ruth Myers

I used to love watching old black-and-white movies from the 1930s and ’40s. The clothes were beautiful. The women were bright and witty.

Nearly every Saturday I’d go to town with my mother, where we’d visit the little hole-in-the-wall used bookstore. She’d stock up on Harlequins and I’d get new Nancy Drews, Dana Girls, and Judy Boltons. They cost 60 cents then. (Huh. I completed my series of Judy Boltons a few years ago, and the books cost $6 and up now.)

I enjoyed the older books the best. I always checked the copyright page on the Nancy Drews. The newer books just didn’t have any flavor.

What a delight it was when I finished reading M. Ruth Myers’ The Whiskey Tide on my Kindle and saw the promo chapter for No Game for a Dame. I think I read just one paragraph before I downloaded it.

Although I read mostly fantasy now, mystery was my first love. And I love the Maggie Sullivan mysteries. There’s all the atmosphere of period hardboiled detective novels but better. The heroine is smart, tough, and worldly-wise without being cynical, and she has friends among the other women in the boarding house where she lives.

Reading the Maggie Sullivan mysteries is like reading an old Judy Bolton. Myers doesn’t just use period language but also knows what the houses and streets and backyards look like. Really, it’s like reading a fantasy in that I’m pulled into a completely different world.

There are only three Maggie Sullivan mysteries so far: No Game for a Dame, Tough Cookie, Don’t Dare a Dame. I hope there will be many more!