Much as I love reading about serial killers, thrill killers, and just stone-cold killers, I regularly look to cozy mysteries to act as a palate-cleanser, so to speak, something to chase the dark away. The violence is off the page, and the read—funny, charming, and maybe with a dash of romance—makes for a fabulous, entertaining escape. Here’s a selection of our favorite cozies.
Bark of Night by David Rosenfelt
Cozy mysteries usually feature an amateur sleuth so, being a defense lawyer, Andy Carpenter has a bit of an advantage. He has one other advantage: his faithful golden retriever, Tara, who helps him solve mysteries. When Tara’s vet tells him a tale about a French bulldog named Truman being dropped off days ago with instructions to euthanize him though he’s clearly healthy, Andy is outraged. And even more outraged when Truman’s chip reveals that the man who dropped him off wasn’t his owner. But his real owner has been murdered and Andy, Tara, and Truman, plus the rest of the gang, are on the case. Dog lovers will drool over the latest in this charming, fun, and canine-friendly series.
Egg Drop Dead: A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien
Proprietress of the Ho-Lee Noodle House, Lana Lee’s first-ever catering event threatens to get her in hot water when a domestic worker turns up dead. Could the party’s host Donna Feng, the owner of the Asia Village shopping plaza where Ho-Lee is situated, have something to do with the death? Judging by the piece of evidence Donna handed to Lana before the police arrived, the answer is yes. Now Lana is investigating Donna’s secrets, all the way back to China, while trying to keep her own disapproving mother and her boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau, off her case in this fun, entertaining cozy.
Mooved to Murder by CeeCee James
When a friend asks her to watch her kid and her pets while she’s out of town, Chelsea says yes. But what she doesn’t realize is it means looking after a precocious little girl and a micro-farm. Nobody mentioned a dead body. Or a car full of money in the woods. Or the hostile locals. Turns out she needs to deal with all of this too, or there may not be a farm for her friend to come home to, and it will be Chelsea’s fault. Luckily, this city girl is tough. And she’s better at sleuthing than farming. Hilariously funny, fast-paced, with a nice puzzle of a mystery to solve, readers will be ready for the follow up, Farmer in the Dead.
The Stolen Letter by Paige Shelton
Heading back to work the day after she returns from her European honeymoon, bookseller Delaney Nichols collides with her doppelganger in the street. No big deal. But learning that Edinburgh city council wants to close bookshop where she works, the Cracked Spine, citing code violations, is a big deal. And realizing that a murdered council member has a connection to her doppelganger may be a deadly big deal. An endearing and witty group of booksellers, clever plotting, and the backdrop of beautiful Edinburgh will make readers want to read this and go back to the start, with The Cracked Spine.
Cherries, Berries, and a Body by Cindy Bell
In Cherries, Berries, and a Body, Amy Sweet and her grandmother Charlotte take their faithful companions, Peaches and Arnold, (a cat and a pig) to a nearby farm to try a new range of jams to use in their baked goods. But a murder casts a pall over a lovely day. And worse, the victim had a few enemies, one of whom puts someone Amy and Charlotte love at risk, and they need to solve the murder before there’s another. The mystery is satisfying but the loving humor between Amy and her grandma is what makes this series a joy—not to mention the antics of Peaches and Arnold—and there’s a recipe too!
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
How does one spend one’s day if one is 34th in line for the English throne, and flat broke? For Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, having a title but no money to go with it in 1930’s London is a problem. An attempt to start a maid service is marred by the discovery of a dead Frenchman in the tub and so Georgie turns detective. It’s no job for a Lady, and Georgie must keep her new role from her quirky family (though a distant relative whose name includes the initials HRH becomes one of her clients). A murder to solve, a funny romp through English society between the wars, and even a little romance by way of a sexy Irish lord, makes this series awfully fun.
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