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 Peggy Ehrhart’s Knit & Nibble 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 2022 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Susan Wittig Albert: Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter Mystery Series
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey): A Friend For Hire Mystery Series
Emily Brightwell: Mrs. Jeffries Mystery Series
Vivien Chien: Noodle Shop Mystery Series
Nancy Coco (aka Nancy J. Parra and Nell Hampton): Oregon Honeycomb Mystery Series
Ellen Crosby: Wine Country Mystery Series
Dianne Day: Fremont Jones Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Catskill Summer Resort Mystery Series
Peggy Ehrhart: Knit & Nibble Mystery Series
H Y Hanna: Oxford Tearoom Mystery Series (first entry A Scone to Die For) AND English Cottage Garden Mystery Series (first entry Deadhead and Buried)
Libby Klein: Poppy McAllister Mystery Series
Nikki Knight: Vermont Radio Mystery Series (first entry Live, Local, and Dead)
Maria Mankin and Maren C. Tirabassi: Death at Fair Havens
Gigi Pandian: Secret Staircase Mystery Series
Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels & Barbara Mertz): Jacqueline Kirby Mystery Series
Linda Reilly: Grilled Cheese Mystery Series
Peggy Rothschild: A Deadly Bone to Pick
Nic Saint: Mysteries of Max Mystery Series (first entry Purrfect Murder)
Josephine Tey: Alan Grant Mystery Series
Auralee Wallace: Evenfall Witches B&B Mystery Series (first entry In the Company of Witches)
Valerie Wilson Wesley: Odessa Jones Mystery Series
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.
April Recommendations – 2022
Bitter Roots — Ellen Crosby
Love this series by this very intelligent and talented author with many national journalistic creds. It’s set in a VA vineyard.
Many trees from a planting three years ago are dying from a disease. Several other area vineyards have the same problem. This is a huge monetary loss for these vineyard owners. These farmers were sold diseased trees from a local nursery. A consultant to this nursery is murdered.
Surprisingly, the focus of the book is NOT on the mystery. There are a couple of side stories that come into prominence. One is a catastrophic wind storm which does extensive damage. The other is the wedding of Lucy and Quinn.
What really impresses me about this author is the extensive research that goes into her books. Many kudos to her for all this background info which adds immensely to the story.
This book is SOOOO good. I often suggest you read a series from book one. However, you can read this as a stand-alone because Crosby does a great job of explaining all the characters and their relationships. It is VERY WELL written and difficult to put down.
A Matter of Hive and Death — Nancy Coco
This is the second book in a new series by this author, set in Oceanview on the Oregon coast. Wren Johnson (an intelligent and likeable character) owns a honey shop, “Let It Bee”. When she goes to get some more supplies from a bee keeper, she finds him murdered. Someone in the community is destroying bee hives of the various beekeepers.
As par for the course with this author, there are several twists and turns to the story. Wren’s Aunt Louise is an especially enjoyable character. The bee and honey info is interesting, too. This is a ‘light’ read which I enjoyed. Perhaps you will, too.
Local, Live, and Dead — Nikki Knight
This is a new to me author. Nikki Knight is a pen name for Kathleen Marple Kalb, a New York radio news anchor.
The lead character, Jaye Jordan, in this story is a DJ. She left the NY market and bought a small radio station in Vermont. Previously the programming included an extreme right wing personality (Edwin Anger) from Atlanta. Jaye dropped his program, angering many of his followers. He comes to this small community and is murdered.
I really like the uniqueness of this story. There are well developed and very likable characters, including the VT governor who lives nearby. Jaye is divorced with a very precocious 10 year old daughter, Ryan. Also enjoyable is the companionable relationship between Jaye and her ex as they co-parent their daughter.
The plot is well paced with some twists and surprises. Then, there is this friendly MOOSE – really cool! 🙂 Actually this story is written with a lot of wit. SOOO entertaining.
Hopefully there’ll be a second book. I’m one reader who is looking forward to it.
Plus One for Murder. — Laura Bradford
This is the first book in a new series. I’ve read some, but not all, of this author’s books. First, I’m going to point out a negative — in hopes the author may read it and correct it in the second book.
Emma Westlake is the main character in this story. But the author gives absolutely NO background info about her. Was she ever married? Divorced? Widowed? Any siblings? Any parents? Any friends at all? NADA. Nothing. According to the story she’s only been in this community a couple of years. Where is she from? How and why did she come to this community? Evidently at some point she had a great aunt (now deceased) who once lived in this town, but no more info is offered.
One thing you do know about Emma is she is a very compassionate character. I assume this author believes this is all the reader needs to know. Emma is developing friendships with three other (continuing?) characters. Stephanie is fortyish and currently a client, Dottie (a WONDERFUL quirky character) is a widow and in her 80’s, the third is the deputy sheriff (divorced with a delightful son). Bradford has created background depth for each of these three characters, adding immensely to their respective parts in this story.
HAVING SAID ALL THAT, I found the concept of this series delightful and unique. Emma’s travel business is failing. She has tea with Dottie every Tuesday who suggests the ‘friend for hire’ concept. In other words she gets paid for being a ‘helpful’ friend.
On one of her first business ventures, Emma attends an open forum with a man who is a ‘thorn in the side’ of four community members, including the sheriff and the mayor. They are all at this event. He’s uncovered negative info about them and plans to reveal the info at this poetry forum. He only reads the first sentence or two of his poem when he collapses and dies onstage. Of course, these four community members are under suspicion, as is Emma.
An ironic aside………..the author devotes a paragraph in the story talking about another of her series – Southern Sewing Circle mystery series.
With his many antics, Emma’s dog (Scout) is front and center a main character. This story flows nicely and evenly.
Don’t let the missing background info about the main character deter you from reading this new series. Overall, it’s a good mystery and an enjoyable read. “Perilous Pal”, the second book in this series, release date is July 5th.
Lynn T. says
MJ-I just finished The Bordeaux Betrayal last night. It is the 3rd book in the series. It has been on my TBR list for years. (as are many other books) You are right. You always learn something in Ellen Crosby books. I enjoyed learning about the growing wine in Virginia. There was some history of Jefferson and Washington. Lucie is an independent and feisty character. It is a very good series. Looking forward to reading the next book. Need to look in my book tubs to see if the fourth book is waiting for me.
I forgot to mention this when I wrote my recommendation for Local, Live, and Dead by Nikki Knight. There is a ‘bedroom’ scene.
I wanted to let you know because some may find it objectionable. Actually, I do, too. In this case it certainly wasn’t necessary to the story.
However if the mystery is good, I can easily skip these paragraphs or page. If it continues throughout the story, that’s when I stop reading it. In this book there is only this one ‘scene’.
C. Marriage says
To celebrate Easter, I reread the entire Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert. Set in the early 1900s, these books weave history, whimsy, and mystery seamlessly with all of Albert’s craft & humor. I love how she combines English Victorian mores, Miss Potter’s personal dilemma, and Potter’s skill with imagined animal behavior & communication. Peter Rabbit for adults! So much fun!
I recommend the new series A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery. Set in 1953 before air conditioning when New Yorkers fled the summer heat for the country. By Vicki Delany. Well-developed characters, engrossing very detailed story.
Sally Fortney says
I read Hot and Sour Suspects by Vivien Chien. I love hearing about her family and restaurant. Also read Deadly Director’s Cut by Vicki Delany about a 1950’s hotel where they were making a movie. Put Out to Pasture by Amanda Flower about an organic farm was great, too. She and her husband really have a farm. I really enjoy the quilting world in Needled to Death and Elizabeth Craig’s other novels.
Sherrie Wood says
I read A Deadly Bone To Pick by Peggy Rothschild. It was very good and I did give this one 4.5 stars. A good main character and enjoyed the information about dogs especially when to know that a dog is deaf. Thie was a new author to me. I am hoping that this will be a start to a new series. This is one of those books that you do not want to put down.
I read Annie’s Mystery Books I love the mystery of Chcolate Shop,Mystery of Flower Shop and the Bake house mysteries.Theyre good mysteries books and Guideposts Mysteries series are good books to.
I just finished the last Peggy Ehrhart one. Another I recommend is Libby Klein’s Poppy McAllister Mysteries. They are hilarious.
I read Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian. A brand new series… It was AWESOME!! I’ve been recommending it to everyone. Main character is a magician, who’s family builds homes with secret passages. Great mystery with great characters!
Linda Mabry says
I am reading a kindle book series by Nic Saint. This is a wonderful series in which there are four cats who help their human solve mysteries. The cats talk to their human and she talks back to them. These books are part of the Mysteries Of Max series. I suggest you start with book one. I am currently reading book 27. You will love these books. The books are offered in kindle where you can get about 5 books at once and so on. I highly recommend these books.
I love reading this series! I just read the latest one, Death of a Knit Wit (#8 published February 22, 2022). This is one is preordered each titles as soon as possible.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
The Peggy Ehrhart Series Knit & Nibble series.
Lynn T. says
I have a favorite new cozy series. It is the Odessa Jones series by Valerie Wilson Wesley. There are two books in the series. Odessa and her husband had a catering business. He has passed away and Dessa must find another job to support herself. She becomes a realtor. In the first book, it is not the happiest place to be. Dessa still does some catering on the side and wants to be able to do it full time.
She has a friend who owns a barbeque restaurant and she goes to him to talk. He is a retired cop or detective. She also is an empath and can see glimmers that surround people. You will never think of nutmeg the same way again. I loved the first book and eagerly awaited the second book. Now I have read both books. In the second books, the agents at the real estate office were happier and friendlier. Dessa is making new friends. Now I am waiting for the third book. I enjoy and really like this series.
Regina Williams says
Up to No Gouda by Linda Reilly was such a great book! It is the first book in the author’s grilled cheese mystery series and what a great debut
Cheddar off Dead by Korina Moss ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Julie F. says
I just finished the second book in the Evenfall Witches B & B series, When the Crow’s Away by Auralee Wallace. It’s the story of Brynn Warren, who has the ability to pass along last messages from recently departed to their loved ones. In this installment, a candy shop owner asks her to solve his murder before he goes into the light. If you like a little magic with your cozies, I recommend this series. The first book is titled In the Compant of Witches.
Bekky King says
I just finished A Death in Fair Havens by Maren Tirabassi and Maria Mankin. This is the first cozy mystery written by this mother-daughter duo; although both are accomplished writers individually.
I liked the fact that the main characters, Rye and Wanda are both professional women who take their jobs and their positions in the community seriously. (one is a vice-principal and one a local church pastor). Their professional lives overlap after the sudden death of the father of a teenage girl they both work with. When they encounter the family and the care center staff they take on more than they bargained for. These women are not ditzy, they are not impulsive, they are both caring and compassionate. I did appreciate the humorous word plays that were sprinkled throughout. I highly recommend this book and I did not want it to end.
I’ve been reading Dianne Day’s Fremont Jones series, set around San Francisco in 1906ish. My favorite so far has been the second book, set right after the great earthquake and fire. Our heroine is an early feminist and very feisty.
I also read Neal Placksy’s In Dog We Trust and one other in the series. The dog is the star, and the owner “inherits” him from his dead neighbor. They become fast friends and partners in crime, but the dog is a whole lot smarter.
I read the third of Anthony Horowitz Detective Daniel Hawthorne books: A line to Kill. Horowitz writes as himself, a famous writer and TV producer who is “invited” by detective Hawthorne to follow him solving a crime. This time the two are invited to a small island for a new book festival. None of the other guests are well known and each harbors a secret. In contrast to the first two book, I did no share Horowitz exasperation with Hawthorne but just followed the ability of Hawthorne to unravel all of the secrets.
I continued with Elizabeth Peters’ Jacqueline Kirby in The Murders of Richard III. The librarian with a vast knowledge of books and an ability of observation of human nature is invited to a country house in England where a group of supporters of Richard III are going to expose a new proof that the king did not murder the two princes in the Tower of London and that history painted him as a cruel monarch. The participants are dressed as figures from that period and almost immediately they are victims of “accidents” that resemble the way they were killed. But are they accidents? Will they lead to a real murder?
I also read Josephine Tey’s A Shilling for Candles. A famous actor is hiding in a country house, away from her adoring crowd and from a busy schedule. One morning while going to her regular early swim she is found drowned. Who would know that she was there? And why kill her? Inspector Alan Grant is constantly bumped into dead ends but eventually, really by a coincidence finds the solution.
Janice G says
Like Regina, I am also recommending Up To No Gouda by Linda Reilly and Cheddar Off Dead by Karina Moss. This is the first cozy by Karina Moss and it was really enjoyable. The main character Willa has opened a cheese shop in Sonoma Valley. A food critic with a nasty reputation ends up dead outside her shop. There are a lot of suspects and interesting characters.
In Up To No Gouda Carly, a young widow, opens a grilled cheese restaurant in southern Vermont. When one of her employees is the main suspect in the murder of the landlord, Carly sets out to prove her innocence. I liked the supporting cast in this story.
I also recommend Murder on an Irish Farm by Carlene O’Connor and Deck the Donuts by Ginger Bolton.
I just finished The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell. While it is a little off the cozy mystery path, I feel it’s worth mentioning. It takes place in late 1890’s London. There is a suicide, a rash of missing girls, and a bit of the supernatural thrown in.
It is up to Inspector Cutter to figure out how it all comes together. It was a little slow at first, but stick with it and the roller coaster ride it will take you on is well worth it.
Now I’m beginning Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Suanto, it’s been on my list for a while.
Rob Jarrad says
I’m actually reading quite a few selections from Anne Perry (although I don’t know that I would call her books cozy) with her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. All are very good. Just finished Bedford Square, Farrier’s Lane and Hyde Park Headsman. Very spine tingling if you like that kind of thing. I’d recommend her none-the-less.
Another Victorian series by Robin Paige written by Husband and wife team of Susan Whittig Albert and Bill Albert. She writes the China Bayles spice series too.
A third Victorian series-definitely Cozy is the Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries series and that is FUN! Romance, Humor and just plain adorable. I’ve read everything Emily Brightwell has written in this series and her newest is Mrs. Jeffries and the Midwinter Murders.
I just finished the third book in the M. Warner Annals by GS Boardman. The first book, “One April After the War” was later split into two books being “One April After the War: Louisville to Cumberland” and the second one is “One April After the War: Cumberland to Washington”. The third one is “The Will of the Turntable: The Way Home”. The books are set in 1870 and are about Mary Warner and the two Secret Service agents who are assigned to escort her from Louisville, KY to Washington City to meet with President Grant, and later, escort her back home. The things they go through are too numerous to mention here, but suffice it to say each book ends with the reader wanting more.