We’re just about at the end of April, so it’s time to discuss our favorite Cozies that we’ve read this month!
If you read a Cozy mystery this month and want to recommend it to the rest of us, be sure to post it here! For this month, I read the first entry of Jeanne M. Dams Dorothy Martin Mystery Series. For the reasons I want to recommend it, be sure to check out the blog entry!
So, what have you been reading that you can recommend in April ? Please be sure to tell us why you liked these Cozies so much. I know we’re all always on the lookout for more particularly good Cozy Mystery authors! (If you have a lot of Cozies you think are great, please post the ones you like the most at the top of the list.)
As always, please do not tell us about the Cozy Mysteries you did not like.
What really good Cozy Mystery did you read during April 2021 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Catherine Aird: Inspector Sloan Mystery Series
Nevada Barr: Anna Pigeon Mystery Series
Lorna Barrett (aka L. L. Bartlett & Lorraine Bartlett): Booktown Mystery Series
Leslie Budewitz: Spice Shop Mystery Series AND Food Lovers’ Village Mystery Series
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Laurie Cass (aka Laura Alden): Bookmobile Cat Mystery Series
Matthew Castello and Neil Richards: Cherringham Novella Mystery Series (first entry Murder on Thames)
Jeanne M. Dams: Dorothy Martin Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Paws & Claws Mystery Series
Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell & Tace Baker): Cozy Capers Book Mystery Group
Maria DiRico (aka Ellen Byron): Catering Hall Mystery Series
Carola Dunn: Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Series
J.C. Eaton: Wine Trail Mystery Series
Charles Finch: Charles Lenox Mystery Series
Darci Hannah: Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series (first entry Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop)
Elizabeth Logan (aka Camille Minichino, Ada Madison, Margaret Grace, & Jean Flowers): Alaskan Diner Mystery Series
Judi Lynn: Jazzi Zanders Mystery Series (first entry The Body in the Attic)
Charlotte MacLeod (aka Alisa Craig): Peter Shandy Mystery Series AND Sarah Kelling Mystery Series
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Library Lover’s Mystery Series
Carlene O’Connor: Irish Village Mystery Series
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Amy Pershing: Cape Cod Foodie Mystery Series (first entry A Side of Murder)
Barbara Ross: Maine Clambake Mystery Series
Jennifer Ryan: Kitchen Front
Debra Sennefelder: Food Blogger Mystery Series (first entry The Uninvited Corpse) AND Resale Boutique Mystery Series (first entry Murder Wears a Little Black Dress)
I will list the authors and series that have been recommended, but I urge you to read the comments below so you can see the reasons other Cozy Mystery readers thought these were their best reads of the month.
♦To access more Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations, click on this link♦
P.S. I usually don’t comment on your recommendations since they speak for themselves.
Rob J says
Danna: I just finished the Spice Shop Series by Leslie Budewicz. A very fun and hip sleuth in Pepper. She has a gracious way of looking at herself and doesn’t take herself too seriously (except when solving a mystery) LOL> But her characters are great and you f ind yourself wanting to visit the Spice shop and spend time with Pepper and friends! That is the kind of book you want to read.
The whole series is wonderful.
James R Spears says
I have read two cozy mysteries this month that I like. One is an older book that can still be found in print called The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird. It has an of gothic mixed in the story. The other one is more newer. It’s called Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinley. I love the setting and fast pace of this story and her library series.
James, I’ve read most of Catherine Aird books and loved them. There are many historical details in her books.
Paula Catherine says
I would recommend the Wine Trail Mystery series written by J.C. Eaton. Norrie Ellington is a silent partner in her family owned vineyard . She is a successful NYC based screen writer but returns to the finger lake area to run the Two Witches vineyard while her sister and entomologist husband are on a grant driven search for an elusive bug.
Norrie is hoping the vineyard will run itself while she continues her “real job”. It is a really terrific series, great character development with a few murders thrown in.
There is humor and romance. After reading this series I totally appreciate the staff at the vineyards I have visited.
I read Butter Off Dead by Leslie Budewitz. I gave the book 5 stars. I’ve read almost all of her books, and they are all well written and full of intrigue. I’d recommend all of them.
Pattie B. says
I’ve been going through the Daisy Dalrymple series. I’m currently on The Black Ship. Really a fun 1920s England mystery series by English-American author Carola Dunn. I enjoy the history, romance and mystery.
I read 2nd book in Cozy Capers mysteries……by Maddie Day, Murder at the Taffy Shop.
Am enjoying them
April Recommendations – 2021
Big Little Spies — Krista Davis
Love, love this series. I even like it better than the Diva series. It is such a FUN read. The story is set in a tourist community, Wagtail, which caters to pets. A fundraising event is planned to raise money for stray pets.
A dog of a judge in the community is missing. He hires a pet detective to find him. This pet detective has had previous relationships with some of the women planning the event.
As normal for this author it is an intricate story. The characters are very well developed with a variety of unusual personalities.
The book is difficult to put down, written with humor and cleverness. The perfect book when you want to read something ‘lighter’.
Checking Out Crime – Laurie Cass
This series is often recommended at this site. Like most series it is best read from the beginning. Minnie Hamilton is the assistant library director in this small community in northern Michigan. Most of the story centers around the bookmobile that travels throughout the county. Minnie’s cat, Eddie, is actually the ‘star’ of this series.
Minnie’s driving the bookmobile on a county road when she sees a body in the middle of the road. It’s later decided this person was murdered. The plot thickens when another person is later murdered. Lots of twists and turns. But actually it wasn’t too difficult to figure out the mystery about two thirds through. I was also able to figure out the other ‘secret’ personal story line about half way through.
HOWEVER, the characters and their interactions create a truly delightful read. I’d never stop reading it because I think I know the ending. First of all, I may be wrong (ha!). Second, I’d miss the rest of all the delightful interactions. This is an author who writes with immense wit.
Fishing For Trouble – Elizabeth Logan
This series is set in Alaska and written by an outstanding author (Minichino). She really makes you feel part of the story with wonderful descriptive writing.
This story involves the questionable machinations of a local fish processing plant. They hire college students for their summer business. One of these students dies in the diner owned by the protagonist, Charlie Cooke. The story goes in several directions and finishes with a somewhat unexpected ending. It’s a well plotted and well-paced story (as normal for this author).
Murder in an Irish Bookshop — Carlene O’Connor
I really enjoy following the antics of this family that own a local diner in the Irish town. These main characters are so endearing and quite diverse. O’Connor always writes an exciting mystery storyline. She adds many enjoyable characters to each story, and then it’s a bit disheartening to know they won’t be in the next book.
This story revolves around three authors invited to a bookstore opening. Two people are murdered in a very unusual way. There are several suspects, all quite viable. Siobhan and Dara work through many layers of complexities to come to the final solution. This is an entertaining read. Loved the last chapter!! It finally brings together some angst that has plagued the previous books.
Shucked Apart – Barbara Ross
This is another series that is often mentioned on this site. Running clambakes on a nearby Maine island is the family business. Julia Snowden runs the business side of these clambakes. This story focuses on oyster farming. One of the local oyster farmers is murdered.
The many layers to the characters and several layers to the story itself provides a compelling read. The interactions between Julia and boyfriend Chris is a separate story in and of itself, providing a VERY surprising final chapter.
Body in the Attic – Judi Lynn
This series was recommended by two people in the March recommendations. Based on that. I decided to read it.
I liked this story. This author started naming roads, restaurants, stores, etc. in the community. I was quite surprised when I recognized all these identifiers because I know people who live in this ‘fictional’ community (River Bluff). Usually the names of roads, restaurants, etc. are fictional in a fictional community. But not in this case – the identifiers are all real, yet the community name is fictional. So-o-o I really enjoyed the story from that aspect. 🙂
The story features Jazzi Zander and her cousin, Jerod, are house flippers. They find a skeleton in a trunk in the attic of the home they are currently working on. This home belonged to a family friend, who recently died. Jazzi pursues the identity of the victim. It’s her aunt who disappeared 26 years ago. Eventually it’s decided she was murdered.
The one criticism I have (and, it’s a minor one) is this author advanced a romance story line wa-a-a-ay too quickly. I don’t know why. She could have developed it in a slower manner over several books. It just seems VERY unrealistic in the way she has presented it.
All in all – the characters are appealing and the mystery is engrossing with unexpected twists. I found it an enjoyable read.
Barb E says
I’ve been trying some new to me authors lately and am recommending one that isn’t on the author list here. Debra Sennefelder. She writes the Food Blogger Mystery series and the Resale Boutique Mystery series. I have been enjoying both.
I love the Anna Pigeon mystery series by Nevada Barr, recommended by a friend. The author has a way of describing the situations Anna gets into in various national parks – I almost think she must have experienced them herself. These books were written before the era of cellphones and wi-fi, but it doesn’t detract one bit from the amazing stories.
Suzie G says
I am almost done reading Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan. Jennifer is the author of The Spillbury Ladies Choir, which I read last year. I loved that book but I absolutely adore Kitchen Front. It is set in a small English village during WWII. It is so full joy and sadness, grief and yet resilience. It chronicles a few months in the lives of four very differ women, their histories , how they interact and how they unite. The best word for this book is heartwarming. I am recommending it all my friends 🙂
Sally Fortney says
I read Long Island Iced Tina by Maria DiRico. Much as I like cozy villages and small towns, I love that this series is set in the city. Not many cozies have mob connections either. Stay safe and well.
I have just started the Cherringham cozy short series by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards. I’m totally charmed!
Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop — Darci Hannah
I just finished this book tonight at 7:00, so technically it’s still an April read!
I REALLY wanted to give this new series a SHOUT-OUT because I enjoyed it so much.
I had read this author’s previous books in another series (Very Cherry Mystery), but was very disappointed there were only two books. There were ongoing story lines that never got completed. I assume the publisher pulled the plug after the two books. I’d love to see her add more books to this series if she can find another publisher.
Lindsey Bakemore is a successful NYC Wall Street business person. A typical cozy ‘beginning’ results in a change of direction for her. She found her fiance with another woman. Lindsey decides to change career directions and follow her dream of owning a bakery. She buys a lighthouse in a small Michigan city (cherry country) to renovate into her dream bakery. I like the fact that Lindsey is quite wealthy. Quite a dissent from the normal ‘poor’ (struggling to make ends meet) cozy storyline.
On her opening day, Lindsey’s ex-fiance and his girlfriend (Mia) show up at the bakery’s grand opening. They are seeking revenge. Mia collapses and dies. It is later discovered there was cyanide in her coffee. Of course, Lindsey is considered a prime suspect.
The characters in the community and Lindsey’s friends are all enduring personalities. Love, love their interactions with terrific banter and dialogue. Welly is Lindsey’s Newfoundland dog who is the ‘star’ of this story.
This is written in such a way that I kept wanting to jump ahead to see what’s going to happen next. It took a lot of discipline to read it in the normal way. This is a very complex murder mystery. There are so many avenues the story twists down. The author does a great job of keeping the plot well-paced. The reader will be blown away when the culprit is divulged. I definitely never saw that coming!
I strongly suggest you read this book………which is the reason I took the time to add it to this month’s recommendation list. It has all the elements of a fascinating/intriguing cozy. I hope this will be a long running series.
Linda MH says
I enjoyed this book, too. It was entertaining and kept me guessing. Also, as you mentioned, I liked knowing the lead wasn’t broke and couldn’t buy groceries, put gas in her car, etc. etc. LOL
And…Shucked Apart’s ending was a major surprise! I kept thinking “What just happened?”
Enjoyed reading your recommendations. Have a wonderful May.
I read an ARC of Kate Carlisle’s newest in the Bibliophile series called The Little Black Book and Lorna Barrett’s newest in the Booktown series called A Deadly Deletion.
Have just finished re-reading all of Charlotte Macleod’s cozy mysteries. She remains the best of the best. LOL humor and characters are spot on for New England.
Janice G says
I read a lot of good books this month but MJ saved me from having to write as much since my recommendations are almost the same as hers. I especially liked Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop and am looking forward to the second book in the series.
Another new book set on the water and featuring a foodie is A Side of Murder, a debut mystery by Amy Pershing. Samantha Barnes is an up and coming chef in NYC until she loses her job after a very public fight with her husband goes viral. While trying to figure out how to redeem her reputation, Sam gets word that her great aunt left her a house. She returns to her hometown on Cape Cod, planning to get the house ready for sale. Sam still has many friends in town and one offers her a job writing restaurant reviews. On her first attempt, she discovers a body floating under the dock. The harbormaster arrives and turns out to be Sam’s first crush. This was an enjoyable read with lots of twists and turns as well as an adorable dog and interesting characters.
I would also recommend Knitty Gritty Murder, the newest book by Peggy Ehrhart, A Deadly Chapter by Essie Lang, and Wining and Dying by Daryl Wood Gerber.
THANKS so much for your posting, Janice. You are a fountain of information!! 🙂
I wasn’t aware of the latest books you mentioned — the Knitty Gritty Murder, Deadly Chapter, and Wining and Dying. These are all series I read. I missed these in Danna’s monthly postings of new releases. I just put all 3 on my TBR list.
I discovered Charles Finch and his Charles Lenox. I decided to start with the prequels that were published a lot later but the prequels were easier to get from the library.
The stories take place in the middle of the 19th Century London which means no computers, no phones, no fingerprints, no DNA, etc. The Scotland Yard is fairly primitive but the head of the homicide division was a friend of Lenox’s father. His is an aristocratic family but Charles, being the second born will not get the land nor the title. He does not mind. He has great relationship with his older brother and, as a very young man – 23 year old – he wants to be a detective, to the horrors of his friends and family.
Mostly, he has a great sense of observation. The first prequel – The Woman in the Water – we find Lenox and his loyal valet and friend Graham, intrigued by a letter to the editor about someone bragging about committing the perfect crime and is going to do this again. Lenox find the first murder and from there continues to the second one. Yes, they were connected.
The second is The Vanishing Man where an important duke, with inside ties to the palace, is asking for his help finding who is behind a theft of a portrait. Lenox unravels the secrets that the family is hiding and the reason for as well as the location of the stolen portrait.
The third is The Last Passenger where an American abolitionist is coming to London to seek support in abolishing slavery. Lenox observations help identifies the dead passenger and with a help of an American detective unravels the participants. There is an interesting story about how England came, in 1807, to pass an anti slavery act.
Last. Louise Penny’s All the Devils are Here. The story takes place in Paris when several murders get the Gamache family involved. Yes, they are in Paris expecting their next grandchild and both son and daughter with their families now reside in Paris. A convoluted story full of violence and corruptions and questionable practices in many industries. But, as Penny has done before – love and loyalty run throughout the scary events. Also a love story to Paris where real places with their history are detailed. It was nice to meet and to learn of family members – dead and alive – whom we have met in previous books.
Val H says
I love Catherine Aird’s books too and have been reading them for years. It’s nice to know they are appreciated in the States as well as here in Britain.