Cozy mysteries are a large subset of the mystery genre they are what harlequin romances are to the romance genre – a quick story with an ending that may make you feel warm and fuzzy. But what is it exactly?
Cozy-Mystery.com defines a cozy mystery as:
- “Fun read” that engages the mind, as well as provides entertainment…
- The crime-solver in a cozy mystery is usually a woman who is an amateur sleuth
- Usually takes place in a small town or village
- Tend to be fast-paced, with several twists and turns throughout each book
- Emphasis on plots and character development
So while a cozy mystery may seem simple, there are a lot of important aspects to make a story believable. It is also important to note most cozy mysteries belong to a series, but don’t let that deter you from picking one up. These stories are usually great to read after finishing a really deep and intense story.
So what are some good Cozy Mysteries to read on a cold, snowy (or rainy!) day? I’ve compiled this list of ten great stories to help get you started.
1.) The Hannah Swensen Series by Joanne Fluke
Start with: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
This cozy mystery series follows Hannah Swensen, a baker living in small-town Lake Eden, Minnesota. Knowing that the main character is a baker should make all of the titles make sense (and possibly hungry) as they are all named after some type of bakery item – cobbler, cookies, cheesecake, etc. The books in this series are suspenseful while still managing an upbeat tone. While you might not zip through these books in a single sitting, they do keep you coming back for more.
Extra bonus – Hallmark has made movies based off this series too!
2.) Bibliophile Mysteries by Kate Carlisle
Start with: Homicide in Hardcover
Okay, so this series may not interest you if you don’t enjoy being in a setting where there’s a collection of books such as a bookstore or library. I personally find the titles punny and are able to get my attention which is always a plus when it comes to starting a new series. To sum up the series in a few words, rare book expert/bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright loves to get her hands on old books. Each time she does, there ends up being a death associated with the book and she ends up dealing with parts of the investigation.
3.) The Meg Langslow Series by Donna Andrews
Start with: Murder with Peacocks
This is a series that will get you hooked and continues on in roughly 24 titles – the 25th will be released on August 6th, 2019. This series has received several awards such as the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Award and the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards. The series opens with the main character, Meg Langslow, planning the wedding for which she is the maid of honor and all of the stress she has to do with during the process keeps piling up. In addition to maid-of-honor slash wedding planner she also adds on amateur sleuth as she tries to catch the killer in small town Virginia.
4.) Food Lovers’ Village Mystery Series by Leslie Budewitz
Start With: Death Al Dente
I do warn you, the titles of this series may make you hungry. With titles containing ribs, jam, and Christmas cookies, you’ll certainly want to pick up a snack while reading this series of five books by Leslie Budewitz. Based in a small town in Montana, this town is known for making everything by hand – from scratch. Things take a turn for the worst for the main character, Erin Murphy, when she finds a former employee of their family’s general store dead. I’m sure by this point in this cozy mystery list, you are catching the drift and seeing the patterned that there’s almost always a death that the protagonist ends up solving.
5.) Magical Cats Mysteries by Sofie Kelly
Start with: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat
Alright, so in this series the main character is a librarian who owns cats and I’m certain no one is surprised by this and your mind immediately went to something like this:
Big city librarian, Kathleen Paulson moved to a small town in Minnesota and ending up being adopted by two stray cats. When she’s framed for a murder, her cats step up with their special skills to help her find the culprit.
6.) Poppy McAllister Series by Libby Klein
Start with: Class Reunions are Murder
Great News! This series only has three books in it so far because its a newer cozy mystery series. We meet the main character of this series, Poppy McAllister as she is in a low point in her life. She’s newly widowed and just feels in a rut. I’m sure we can all relate to having felt that way at least once in our lives. Poppy has no desire to even want to leave her house to attend her 25th class reunion, but a strange letter from the most popular cheerleader in her class intrigues her and she ends up at the reunion thanks to her best friend. Unfortunately, the popular cheerleader ends up dead and Poppy is the prime suspect.
7.) Grace & Favor Series by Jill Churchill
Start with: Anything Goes
If you enjoy reading historical fiction, then you might find enjoyment from this series by Jill Churchill. It starts off in 1929 when socialite Lily Brewster and her brother, Robert, lose everything when the stock market crashed in October. Their only saving grace is that they need to live in Grace and Favor Cottage for a minimum of ten years in order to access the fortune left by they late great-uncle. Soon they learned that their great-uncle may have been murdered and they work to uncover who did it.
8.) A Mystery by the Numbers series by Casey Mayes
Start with: A Deadly Row
If you enjoy math puzzles, then they short series is right up your alley! This three-part series is based around the life of math puzzle editor Savannah Stone and her husband Zach in a small town in North Carolina. Between death threats to the mayor, a dead editor and a dead town gossip, Savannah has her hands full trying to solve these puzzling murders.
9.) Sudoku Mystery Series by Kaye Morgan
Start with: Death by Sudoku
Keeping with the puzzle theme, the Sudoku mysteries take place in a small town on the Oregon coast. Sudoku puzzle creator, Liza Kelly mixes up puzzles that keep the townspeople on their toes. In each of the books, Liza has to solve murder after murder. I hope that you might enjoy reading one of these books too.
10.) Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery Series by Bethany Blake
Start with: Death by Chocolate Lab
Alright, so I had the magical cats series. To keep things balanced, that means I need a dog mystery series too, right? Well look no further than the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries! Anyone who has ever watched someone else’s pet understands how stressful the situation can be for both human and pet. The pet is confused because there’s a new human around, the smells might be different if they aren’t home, and they just don’t like the changes. Enter the world of Daphne Templeton who truly has a love for animals – its their humans who can be hard to handle. Daphne and her partner, the loveable basset hound, Socrates, take on various murders in their small town to find who-dun-it.
That wraps up this list of cozy mysteries. I hope even if you don’t start and finish and entire series, you find one book to curl up with!