We’re just about at the end of August, 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 Stephanie Blackwell’s Wedding Planner 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 August? 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 August 2020 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Mildred Abbot: Cozy Corgi Mystery Series (first entry Cruel Candy)
Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Jennifer Ashley: Below Stairs Mystery Series (first entry Death Below Stairs)
Stephanie Blackwell: Wedding Planner Mystery Series
ACF Bookins: St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery Series (first entry Publishable By Death)
Simon Brett: The Decluttering Mystery Series
Duffy Brown: Consignment Shop Mystery Series
Rita Mae Brown: Mrs. Murphy Mystery Series
Julia Buckley: Hungarian Tea House Mystery Series
Lynn Cahoon: Farmo-to-Fork Mystery Series
Eve Calder: Cookie House Mystery Series (first entry And Then There Were Crumbs)
Hope Callaghan: Divine Cozy Mystery Series (first entry Divine Intervention)
Laurie Cass (aka Laura Alden): Bookmobile Cat Mystery Series
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt): Tea Shop Mystery Series
Jane K. Cleland: Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery Series
Elizabeth Daly: Henry Gamadge Mystery Series
Maddie Day: Country Store Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Tea By the Sea Mystery Series
Jana DeLeon: Miss Fortune Mystery Series
Hannah Dennison: Honeychurch Hall Mystery Series
Sharon Farrow (aka 1/2 of D.E. Ireland): Berry Basket Mystery Series
Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swensen Mystery Series
Victoria Gilbert: Book Lover’s B&B Mystery Series
Sally Goldenbaum: Seaside Knitters Mystery Series
Kerry Greenwood: Phryne Fisher Mystery Series
Sherry Harris: Sea Glass Salon Mystery Series
Heather Haven: Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries (first entry Murder Is a Family Business)
A.L. Herbert: Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery Series
Cheryl Hollon: Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series
Emma Jameson: Lord and Lady Hetheridge (first entry Ice Blue)
Sofie Kelly (aka Sofie Ryan): Magical Cats Mystery Series
Harper Kincaid: Bookbinding Mystery Series (first entry To Kill a Mocking Girl)
Victoria Laurie: Cat & Gilley Life Coach Mystery Series
Virginia Lowell: Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery Series
Karen MacInerney: Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series AND Snug Harbor Mystery Series
Allison Montclair: Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery Series (first entry The Right Sort of Man)
Carlene O’Connor: Home to Ireland Mystery Series
Renee Patrick: Lillian Frost & Edith Head Mystery Series (first entry Design for Dying)
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Barbara Ross: Professional Busybody Mystery Series
Ashley Weaver: Amory Ames Mystery Series
Heather Webber (aka Heather Blake): Nina Quinn 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.
Jo Anne Yerkes says
Last Cozy was newest Donna Andrews book The Falcon Always Wings Twice. Can’t believe the boys are teenagers now.
I’ve been reading the Lord and Lady Hetheridge series, beginning with “Ice Blue”, by Emily Jameson. They are police procedurals but also involve a romance between two characters who are very likeable. There are some other interesting characters who reappear. The writing is a cut above most cozies.
Rita McDonnell says
I found a new author to me ACF Bookens. She writes St. Martin’s Cozy Mystery series. I enjoyed the first 3 books very much (at the time it was a set for kindle for $.99).
Bookstore in a former gas station. Racism is addressed in the storyline.
I loves the setting, the people and the friendships that are developed.
Ian Jopson says
I mentioned in a previous note, I have just finished reading what could be the first of a new series by Simon Brett. This is about Ellen Curtis, a de-clutterer by profession, who finds a body on one of her commissions. There are twists and turns, and a lot of background, hopefully leading to more books. I did not get the perpetrator right, the denoument coming very late in the book.
I began a new series a few days ago, and now I’ll be starting the last one tonight and I don’t want it to end! I’m reading Jennifer Ashley’s Below the Stairs series, and they are a fascinating look at Victorian England. It begins with a novella (A Soupçon of Poison), and has 4 full-length books in the series so far. I’m beginning Murder in East End tonight. *sigh*
Hello! Thank you for posting this recommendation! I downloaded the first book in the series and am racing through it 😀😀 Best, Anne
Robin Buchholz says
Hannah Dennison – Murder at Honeychurch Hall. I love cozies set in England. I was so taken with the first book, I had to order the next two. Now I have to wait till September for my book budget to kick back in. I warn you, start reading on a weekend, because it is hard to put down. I kept looking for a good place to break to walk away from the book for a bit (dishes, laundry, food) and I couldn’t! I really like the relationship between the mother and daughter; the daughter finding out that she didn’t really know her mother that well after all… I found that out with my mom. And my kids think they know me, but they don’t know all I was up to when I was younger – although my life was not as bizarre as Iris’. This series is wonderful and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Catherine St.Germain says
I read the first couple of chapters online of Jane K Cleland’s upcoming book called “Hidden Treasure “. It is really good and I can’t wait to read the book when it comes out on Dec 8,2020! (It is released on my sister’s birthday!!) I highly recommend getting this book!!
Thanks so much for the heads up on Cleland’s upcoming release. It’s been two years since her last book, and I was curious as to whether there would be another. I have found the 12 previous books to be an excellent read. I always recommend them.
My only complaint has been in the past few books, Cleland has either given detective boyfriend a very minor role, or has sent him away on a trip. I really wish she would give him far more depth in the story line.
I followed the recommendations from last month to read Eve Calder’s And Then There Were Crumbs and really enjoyed it. Nice story, nice characters. The whole town comes together to not only, work on clearing the name of a beloved bakery owner, but also to keep the bakery going.
Some years back I was introduced, on these pages, to Louise Penny when visitors selected the fictional village of Three Pines as a place they would like to live. I would add Calder’s Coral Cay (pronounced Key) to the list. The residents like each other and with open arms help one another.
I enjoyed Duffy Brown’s Pearls and Poison continuing with the charming description of life in Savannah, with characters from top society to the disreputable members of the “Seventeen Street” with whom the heroine Reagan Summerside has established unique friendship. This time, helping to clear Reagan’s mother, the judge “Guillotine Gloria” from murder charges.
Last, enjoyed Elizabeth Daly’s And Dangerous to Know. A young, sheltered woman disappears with no clues as to where and when. It takes Henry Gamadge, three weeks after the disappearance, to logically figure out the only place where any details about her can be found.
Carol Chapman says
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver was my favorite read in August. Not only is Amory Ames a bright amateur detective, but she has an unruly husband, Milo, to deal with throughout the book. This is the first of a series, and I’m ready for more.
Sally Fortney says
I read Nacho Average Murder where Robbie attends her high school reunion in Santa Barbara and ends up solving a mystery. Although she communicates with people back in Indiana, a new group of people help her solve the crime. I really liked how she describes places in Santa Barbara. I was only there once but I recognized a lot. You probably have seen some of the places on TV shows, too. Stay safe and well.
I want to give Sally’s recommendation a ‘second’. I already had many books on my list, so hadn’t included it. I normally don’t like ‘away’ settings in a series, but this was excellent. Very well written with scenes/scenery well described. It’s an absorbing read and a real page turner.
Susy S says
I agree with MJ. I didn’t add this to my recommendations because I read over 30 books this month and just focused on the one I like best for now (that might be different in other months depending on my mood).
August Recommendations – 2020
I read a few books this month that were the 1st book in a new series.
Jane Darrowfield. Professional Busybody – Barbara Ross
First I want to mention that Ross dedicates this book to Lea Wait. She also mentions Ms. Wait and several other cozy authors throughout the story. Since I read most of the authors she mentioned, I found this a fun factoid in this book.
This is a delightful story with wit sprinkled throughout. It’s set in Cambridge, MA. The story features a retired VP and widowed woman who often steps in and helps friends with various problems, thus acquiring the title of ‘professional busybody’. There are problems in a nearby senior center and Jane is asked to move in and help resolve them. Of course, a murder ensues and Jane is called upon to use her problem solving skills to find the killer.
This really is a complex mystery with an array of diverse/eclectic characters. Ross develops her characters with depth, which adds much strength to the story. It is well paced and a page turner. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Kudos to Ross for the start of another hopefully successful series.
To Kill a Mocking Girl – Harper Kincaid
This is the first book in the Bookbinding Mystery series, set in Vienna, VA. Kincaid is a new to me author. Quinn Caine is the lead character and is a bookbinder in her family’s bookstore business. She is a smart and clever character. Quinn’s high school nemesis is murdered. Because of their past relationship, Quinn becomes a suspect. Sr. Daria is Quinn’s cousin and BFF. She is ‘in training’ to become a nun. At Sr. Daria’s insistence they team up to solve the murder.
There are numerous delightful characters that really are the heart of the story — parents, aunt and uncle, brother Bash, and Aiden (love interest) to name just a few. The mystery is excellent, side stories to capture your interest, and an ending that is challenging to figure out. What’s not to like? I REALLY enjoyed this book (even though there are a few ‘errors’), and am looking forward to the 2nd book. UGH! I have to wait until next May for its release.
Death of a Wandering Wolf — Julia Buckley
This is the second book in the Hungarian Tea House Mystery series. Another winner from this talented writer.
Hana Keller, her mother, and grandmother manage this tea house in a small community outside of Chicago. I can’t begin to explain the complexity of this story. A well-known area artist is murdered. It occurs just after Hana met him at a yard sale in his home. Hana purchases a wolf figurine and it is a focus of the story. This artist is from the same Hungarian community as Hana’s ancestors. Part of the story involves this city in Hungary and very early family relationships, thus offering multiple stories and locations.
Many females in Hana’s family have what’s described as ‘the gift’ –some psychic abilities. Hana’s detective boyfriend (Eric) accepts her help with some of the investigation.
Buckley’s writing has an easy flow with several plot twists and red herring clues. It’s difficult to put down….I read it well into the night, thus cutting down my ‘sleep time’!
Deep Fried Revenge – Lynn Cahoon
This is the 4th book in Cahoon’s Farm-to-Fork series. It is set in a small community near Boise, Idaho. Angie and her friend Felicia manage a restaurant (County Seat) in this town featuring farm to fork foods. They have decided to enter a restaurant competition in the ID state fair. The various categories are planned over several days. The winner on the first day of the competition is murdered. Then the 2nd day’s winner falls gravely ill. Angie and Felicia are fearful of continuing and putting their staff in danger.
There is so much that revolves around this series that adds to its dimension, including Angie’s animals on her small farm. Another story involves a young girl (Bleak). Her background is in question, but the County Seat restaurant team decide to hire her. There will be more about her in future stories.
This is an intricate story, entwining the side stories, terrific characters, a dark shadowy character, and an ending that’s not easily predicted or guessed.
This author released two books this spring — Anchored Inn (latest release in the Gray Whale Inn series) and Killer Ending (first book in a new series. “Snug Harbor”). I’m going to discuss these books together, but briefly.
IF you’re a Gray Whale Inn fan, then read ‘Anchored Inn’ BEFORE reading ‘Killer Ending’. If not, then it won’t make any difference. I am a MacInerney fan, mentioning this so you don’t make the same mistake I did.
I first read Killer Ending. Really liked it……….good characters, good writing, etc. Newly divorced Max returns to a community (Snug Harbor) she’s knows well because her parents run a summer camp. She purchases a book store. She gets involved in solving a murder………….you know the drill. I really liked it.
I then read ‘Anchored Inn’ and was totally confused. I couldn’t understand why MacInerney was using the names of characters she used in another series. (It was a big, HUH’?) It took a few chapters (I am a little slow!) for me to realize she is laying the foundation for her NEW series by introducing these characters and their backgrounds. They are featured throughout this story.
For MacInerney fans, this new installment in this series is predictable. You know, yada yada. The characters are all familiar to us, the mystery is good, and the various side story lines (all quite enjoyable) keeping the reader interested.
I’m not going into my normal detail, because by now you probably sick and tired of reading this lengthy entry!!!
AS IF I haven’t taken enough space on this blog………..I forgot to add one thing.
In my comments about the MacInerney books, I didn’t mention the recipes in ‘Anchored Inn’. There are several that look good, but she included one for Streusel Maple Walnut Coffee Cake with Maple Icing. It looks ABSOLUTELY DELISH, especially as we head into fall.
In fact, I couldn’t find it online to cut and paste it. So I had to ‘laboriously’ type it all into my recipe file!! Since, I’m a huge maple fan, I can’t wait to make this.
“Design For Dying” by Renee Patrick
I’m not usually one for anything non-contemporary, but as an actor I’m fascinated by anything theatrical – back or front of stage / screen, so I picked this one up – and it was worth it!
Set in the ‘Golden Age’ of 1930’s Hollywood and featuring award-winning costume designer Edith Head, with cameos from famous actors such as Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck.
Told by her former roomate, the story follows who killed good-time-girl and aspiring actress, Ruby Carroll – who turned out to have been pilfering from Paramount’s wardrobe department. – Hence the involvement of the then wardrobe mistress Edith Head.
A little slow to start but I enjoyed it. Everyone – famous and non – felt true to themselves and there were plenty of twists thrown in.
Unusual and interesting. I’m looking forward to finding the rest of the series when I can.
I enjoyed very much The Right Sort of Man by Allison Monclair. It is the start of a new series featuring Gwen and Iris. It takes place in London in 1946. Gwen is widowed as her husband was killed in the war. She is living with her young son in her mother-in-law’s house. The other person is Iris who did secretive undercover work during the war. The two women met after the war and bonded. They decide to start up a marriage bureau business. Gwen is perceptive and can read people well. Iris is adventuresome and skilled in handling whatever comes her way.
A murder soon occurs and it could hurt their business. They decide to investigate. They are two strong women. There is humor. The secondary characters are interesting and I wonder which ones will be in the next book. If you like character driven books that take place in a historical time period, you should like this book. I know I did. I just want to say that English cozies don’t seem so formula driven as U.S. cozies. I don’t think the UK publishing world uses the word cozy.
Debbie Robertus says
I truly enjoyed Divine Intervention by Hope Calleghan. A mystery with inspired theme, Jo runs a hallway house for women recently released from prison, in Divine, Kansas.
A Hoe Lot of Trouble
Trouble in Spades
Digging up Trouble
Trouble in Bloom
These are not your traditional cozy mysteries. I am working my way through the series and they are funny.
Cookie Dough or Die Murder
A Cookie Before Dying
When the Cookie Crumbles
I really like this series. I’m going to finish the series but I am really curious about the author. She did not start another series like a lot of cozy writers do, and she hasn’t written anything in 5 years…..
Barb E says
Sherry Harris has a new series (Sea Glass Saloon) that I enjoyed a lot. The first book is titled From Beer to Eternity. Harris also authors the Garage Sale Mysteries which I’m a fan of.
I read Murder with Honey Ham Biscuits by A.L. Herbert. It is book 4 of the Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery series, which is lots of fun.
Another series I would recommend is The Bookmobile Cat Mysteries by Laurie Cass. I just finished book 8 – Gone with the Whisker.
Valerie Zalewski says
I read the St Marins cosy mysteries by A F C Bookens, and really enjoyed them. There are 4 books in the series so far with another 2 to be released later in the year. They are normal cosies, but always have just a little twist in the final outcome. They are well written, well edited and have very likeable characters.
Joan Eng says
I’ve been re-reading the Donna Andrews series of cozies. They are fun, clean, a little wacky and totally engrossing. Meg Langslow is a blacksmith, which embarrasses her wealthy mother, but Meg manages to come through. I love that the books build the characters and setting, and that there are plenty of them!!! I hate to read a good book and find it’s an only child! There are 20+ in this series and each is as good as it’s predecessor! I HIGHLY recommend these! The first is Murder With Penguins.
Janice G says
I have three books to recommend this month and all three involve Bed and Breakfasts. Peachy Scream is the second book in the Georgia B&B series by Anna Gilbert (Ali Brandon.) The Georgia Amateur Shakespeare Company has booked Nina Fleet’s B&B for two weeks while they rehearse and perform Hamlet at the local festival. Nina is shocked to discover that the director of the troupe is her nemesis, Harry Westcott, an often unemployed actor who claims to be the true owner of her property. When the lead actor is found dead in the garden, Harry and Nina pick up where they left off in the last book to discover what really happened. This is a really fun series with a complex and satisfying mystery.
Tea and Treachery is a the start of a new series by Vicki Delany. Lily Roberts has recently opened a tea shop across the street from a B&B run by her grandmother Rose on Cape Cod Bay. A local developer is trying to get a zoning change so that he can build a hotel next door the the B&B so he, of course, ends up dead at the bottom of stairs. With her grandmother as the prime suspect, Lily sets out to solve the crime. The cast of characters is interesting and the solution surprising. If you like the author’s Sherlock series, you will probably like this one too.
Booked for Death by Vicki Delany is set at Chapters B&B in Beaufort, NC. Charlotte Reed is a young widow who inherited the business from her great aunt Isabella. Charlotte is hosting a week long event exploring the work of Josephine Tey. One of the attendees questions how her aunt, with no obvious source of income was able to buy such an impressive home and amass a large collection of rare books, making Charlette realize how little she knows of her aunt’s early life. He hints at blackmail and ends up dead after the first day of the event. Many of the guests seem to have motives in his death and Charlotte works with her older next door neighbor to solve the case.
Janice, I always like your recommendations because for the most part we enjoy the same books/authors. I haven’t read these books you mentioned today, but all are on my TBR list. I have ‘Tea and Treachery’ on my bookshelf right now.
What’s happening to hallmark movies & mysteries
I am so disappointed it seems they’re leaving cozy mysteries I want to stop them are then ideas or how to let them know a lot of their viewers will be very unhappy. I hope there are others who are concerned and what the channel to rethink this move.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Jena, it does seem like they’re working more toward more holiday fare… though with the year’s production being a bit off due to the pandemic, I’m hopeful that they’re just hard pressed for new programming.
Paula Catherine says
I just finished book 2 of Victoria Laurie’s new series “ A Cat and Gilley Life Coach series.
Catherine Cooper moves to the Hamptons after a bitter divorce from her husband of 20 years. Her twin teen sons have chosen to go to boarding school rather than split their their time between parents, a decision that pains Catherine (Cat).
Her divorce was rather unexpected after she sold her very prolific marketing firm.
Cat and her assistant Gilley , start a new business as a life coach . As a side note Cat is the sister of Abby Cooper , the protagonist featured in Ms. laurie’s other Psychic Eye Mystery series. Cat does not have the same psychic qualities as her sister.
I really enjoyed the first two books, there is romance, murders, naturally and a lot of humor.
Susy S says
This month I was into reading large chunks of series all in a row. First it was the Alvarez Family Mysteries by Heather Haven. Lee is a PI who specializes in tech corporate crimes, but keeps getting pulled into murders. She is a strong, intelligent woman, who is still very involved with her family as she works for the family business with her brother, the tech genius and her mother, the boss who is ‘She who must be obeyed’. Lots of fun and interesting turns in this series.
I also read books 5 through 12 pf Jana Deleon’s Miss Fortune. The characters are a hoot and Fortune is NOT your typical cozy sleuth, but a CIA assassin in hiding. I really like that the series has characters that are the opposite of so many stereo types and the personal growth of Fortune. I have the rest of the series on order for September.
I love the cozy corgi series by Mildred Abbott. She just came out with the 18th book in the series. Set in Estes Park Colorado she describes wonderfully scenic hikes along with her giant sized corgi Watson. It’s been good to see the characters and relationships develop over the series.
Lisa J says
I have read two new cozy mystery series that I’m excited about this month. The first is Hems & Homicide by Elizabeth Penney this is the start of the Apron Shop series set in Maine the main characters are a granddaughter and her grandmother who are opening a textile shop in a tourist destination. The other is a new series by Carlene O’Connor the first tile is A Murder in Galway part of the Home to Ireland Mysteries. Great characters and wonderful descriptions of the area and people.
Julie Rys says
First time viewing this. Thank you for great suggestions. Would recommend Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown A Mrs Murphy Mystery. Joanne Fluke A Hannah Swensen Mystery with Recipes ; Laura Child’s A Teashop Mystery; Sally Goldenbaum. A Seaside Knitters Society Mystery; Sofie Kelly. Magical Cats Mystery
My August recommendations:
Killed on Blueberry Hill (Book 3 in Sharon Farrow’s Berry Basket Mystery Series).
This book is my favorite in the series so far.
Marlee Jacob owns The Berry Basket (a shop that carries all things Berry related) in the fictional town of Oriole Point in northern Michigan. The town is celebrating the annual Blueberry Blowout, where the region’s berry growers compete in various competitions. Marlee’s boyfriend, Ryan Zeller (whose family owns an orchard) has had an intense, ongoing rivalry with Porter Gale of Blueberry Hill. When their two teams compete in the tug-o-war, a fight between Ryan and Porter erupts. Later in the evening, Porter turns up dead, and Ryan is the prime suspect.
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. There is a lot going on, but the story has a good flow and it kept me turning the pages. There are some twists and turns, red herrings, and surprises.
Down in Flames (Book 6 in Cheryl Hollon’s Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series).
This may be my favorite book in this series.
Savannah Webb owns Webb’s Glass Shop in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has just finished teaching the first session of her new class, when the manager of her fiance’s pub next door, is hit by a car right outside their businesses. At first the police investigate this as a hit and run, but soon it appears that it was intentional.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s another one that kept me turning the pages. There was a particular scene later in the book that had me in tears…it was really touching.
Kathie Deviny says
I read another by Kerry Greenwood, set in 1920’s Australia. If you’re uncomfortable with early accounts of gay life and women’s open sexuality, don’t read. But if you appreciate a newly rich woman delighting in helping outcasts, fighting crime, and living a luxurious life, this is for you.
Fran McPoland says
First of all I want to thank you for the many hours of reading pleasure you have provided with your site. I find the descriptions of the books excellent and I can (generally) tell if something appeals to me or not. However, I purchase my e-books from Barnes & Noble. For some reason I don’t like the Kindle format. I am wondering why some of the books mentioned on the site are only available from Amazon?
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Fran, I’m afraid I don’t know – I assume it’s just easier to get a book released as a Kindle and that it gets a wider distribution.