Chick Chat: Our Favorite Funny Writers

Besides (obviously) us Chicks, we’re sharing about writers who tickle our funny bone. Who do we love and admire? Find out, and feel free to add your favorites!

Lisa Q. Mathews

Oh, gosh–I do NOT have enough room here to answer this question! But okay, here’s an initial stab (not including my fellow Chicks, of course): Jean Kerr, of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies fame, Erma Bombeck, Beverly Cleary (looking at you, Ramona Quimby), Roddy Doyle, Carl Hiassen (you gotta root for his bad guys), Janet Evanovich, Kellye Garrett, Cindy Sample’s Laurel McKay Mysteries, Lucy Burdette’s Key West Food Critic Mysteries, Lori Roberts Herbst’s Callie Cassidy Mysteries. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of Elle Cosimano’s Finlay Donovan books. Phew! I’m out of breath, and just getting started here…

 Ellen Byron

I must first list my Chicks writing buddies, ALL of whom write great funny mysteries – in case you haven’t memorized our masthead, that’s Lisa Q. Mathews, Leslie Karst, Cynthia Kuhn, Vickie Fee, Kathy Valenti, Becky Clark, and Jennifer J. Chow.

The thing is, I hate listing writers because there are so many cozy authors I absolutely love. But if the criteria is purely funny-bone-tickling, I’ll go with Laura Levine (Jaine Austin Mysteries), Libby Klein (Poppy McAllister Mysteries), and Carl Hiaasen, who doesn’t write cozies but skewers with deft satire. I also get a kick out of Diane Vallere’s witty Samantha Kidd Mysteries and Catriona McPherson’s Last Ditch series.

I know I left someone out. If I did, forgive me! And remind me. Feel free to say, “Uh, Ellen, hello.” *Points finger at self.*

Vickie Fee

My fellow Chicks on the Case, of course. No, really. They even crack me up in our text threads with each other! Not to forget our Chicks emeritus, Marla Cooper and Kellye Garrett. I concur with those authors already mentioned here. A few of my other fave cozy/traditional mystery writers with a penchant for humor, as well as murder: Jess Lourey, Richard Osman, Duffy Brown. And my gold standard for humorous Southern cozies — the late, great Anne George.

Leslie Karst

Okay, leaving aside my hilarious fellow Chicks, the writer I most admire for his humor and wit is Oscar Wilde, hands down. If I’m ever sad or upset about something, simply picking up “Lady Windermere’s Fan” or “The Importance of Earnest” and reading the first few pages will always make me smile, not to mention let out quite a few loud chortles.

In the mystery milieu, on the other hand, I’m gonna go with Wendall Thomas’ Cyd Redondo Mysteries, which are truly laugh-out-loud funny (and very few books make me literally laugh out loud). As for Wendall, herself, you really don’t want to be drinking a glass of milk when she gets going with a funny story or it’s liable to end up coming out your nose…. Oh, and of course I have to add Catriona McPherson, too–both the gal and the writer!

Kathleen Valenti

Ooooooo…where to begin? Or end? Of course Chicks (current and emeritus!), and so many authors from our wonderful mystery community, are a given. In addition…I absolutely love David Sedaris. His unflinching look at life, relationships, and, occasionally, Santaland, is one part hilarious and one part poignant. (Thinking of Sedaris reminds me of the time I went into a bookstore to buy Me Talk Pretty One Day, his memoir on life and language in France, and the salesperson gently corrected me, “You mean, I’ll Talk Pretty One Day, honey?”) Also a big Dave Barry fan. Oh the trials and tribs of Floridian life!

Jennifer Chow

I grew up reading columnists, so I enjoyed the humor of Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck. And I devoured cartoon strips. My brother and I would often fight over the comics. I appreciated all kinds of funny, even stuff I didn’t get, like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

As an avid mystery reader, it’s no wonder that I enjoyed cozies when I found that they often combined clues and wit. There are too many great authors to choose from in that subgenre (including friends), so I won’t even try!

I’m also a big fan of stand-up comics, even though the jokes don’t always land for me. Plus, I’m fascinated with memoirs of people I find funny—my current read is Betty White’s If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t).

Readers, drop us a note in the comments below!

19 thoughts on “Chick Chat: Our Favorite Funny Writers

  1. Loving all of these lists–I feel like I’m desperately raising my hand in class here, saying, “Ooo! Ooo! I have another one!” (No, of course I was not one of those kids.) Can’t wait to hear more.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. So, so many great recommendations! I’ll add Terry Pratchett. From GOOD Omens with Neil Gaiman to his DISCWORLD books, nobody could blend biting satire with humor and fantasy like him.
    I also want to tip my hat to Elmore Leonard, and also Sarah Strohmeyer for her BUBBLES YABLONSKI mysteries.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The Chicks are a given, right?

    I have to second Beverly Cleary. The chapter “Ramona and the PTA” from the book Henry and Ribsy is a masterclass in comedy from the set up to the laughs that just keep coming.

    I’m also going to second Laura Levine.

    And I have to give a shout out to Donna Andrews. Her books are so much fun!

    Parnell Hall’s books were great.

    Sue Ann Jaffarian is always good for a laugh.

    If you can dig up Kris Neri’s Tracy Eaton mysteries, they are wonderful as well.

    And so many more….

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I remember “Ramona and the PTA,” Mark! I also loved a book of Cleary’s not many people seem to know called Mitch and Amy (sibling rivalry at its finest, based on her own twins). Hilarious.


  4. Thanks for the mention, Lisa! I would throw your name out there for sure. Summer and Dorothy’s rapport is gut-bustlingly funny. Janet Evanovich is a for-sure vote. And I laughed out loud so many times at Frederik Backman’s A Man Called One. Cried a lot, too—a sure sign of a great book.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with so many of the listed authors.
    I would like to add a few more authors that give me a laugh:

    Steve Brewer (Bubba Malloy)
    Harlan Coben (Myron Bolitar)
    AJ Devlin (Hammerhead Jed)
    Joan Hess (both Arly Hanks and Claire Malloy series)
    Stuart M Kaminsky (Toby Peters)
    Denise Swanson (Scumble River)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My #1 is John Dickson Carr. If you don’t know him, he was the master of the locked room mystery in the 1930s and 40s. He created the traditional detective Dr. Gideon Fell and the off-beat Sir Henry Merrivale, fondly known as H.M. Carr could actually use humor as a device for obfuscation in a whodunnit – it’s hard to keep all the clues in mind when you’re wiping the tears from your eyes because you’re laughing so hard. I recommend The Blind Barber and the Case of the Constant Suicides as two of his funniest, as well as any of the H.M. mysteries.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Besides all of the above, there’s Gigi Pandian’s Alchemist series. And going back, Rex Stout with Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. I also like the wit in “serious” mysteries by Walter Moseley and Donna Leon.

    Liked by 1 person

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