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 Eve Calder’s Cookie House 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 2021 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Victoria Abbott (Writing duo Mary Jane Maffini & daughter Victoria Maffini): Book Collectors Mystery Series
Sara Nish Adams: The Reading List
Meri Allen: Ice Cream Shop Mysteries (first entry The Rocky Road to Ruin)
Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Mary Kay Andrews (aka Kathy Hogan Trocheck): The Santa Suit (not a mystery, I think?)
Bree Baker (aka Jacqueline Frost, Julie Chase, & Julie Anne Lindsey): Seaside Cafe Mystery Series
Lorna Barrett (aka L. L. Bartlett & Lorraine Bartlett): Booktown Mystery Series
Veronica Bond: Dinner and a Murder Mystery (first entry Death in Castle Dark)
Emily Brightwell: Mrs. Jeffries Mystery Series
Julia Buckley: Writer’s Apprentice Mystery Series
Eve Calder: Cookie House Mystery Series
Stevyn Colgan: A Murder to Die For
Kate Collins: Goddess of Green St. Mystery Mystery Series
Cate Conte (aka Liz Mugavero): Cat Cafe Mystery Series
Peggy Ehrhart: Knit & Nibble Mystery Series
Mariah Fredericks: Jane Prescott Mystery Series (first entry A Death of No Importance)
Darci Hannah: Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series (first entry Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop)
Sherry Harris: Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series
Anna Lee Huber: Verity Kent Mystery Series
Julie Anne Lindsey (aka Jacqueline Frost, Julie Chase, & Bree Baker): Cider Shop Mystery Series
Tara Lush: Coffee Shop Mystery Series (first entry Grounds For Murder)
Paula Munier: Mercy Carr Mystery Series (first entry A Borrowing of Bones)
Nora Page (Ann Myers): Bookmobile Mystery Series
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
David Rosenfelt: Andy Carpenter 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.
I just started reading Mariah Fredericks’ new adult novel series set in New York around 1910-1920 featuring ladies’ maid Jane Prescott. Fredericks previously published young adult novels. I’m enjoying the Jane Prescott series so much I’ve read two books in three days! Start with A Death of No Importance (2018).
Moira Shepard says
I recently discovered the charming Bookmobile Mystery series by Nora Page, featuring senior librarian and sleuth Cleo Watkins. It’s a fun combination of mystery, comedy, romance, and yummy Southern recipes. Author Page writes with a strong sense of place, which makes it easy to step into Cleo’s world. Cleo herself is smart, compassionate, funny, and taking slow steps into a new romance at age 75. So inspiring! I’ve read the first two books in the series, “Better off Read” and “Read on Arrival” and look forward to more. Highly recommended.
Florence Nagy says
I am currently reading the third in the “A book collector mystery” “The Wolfe Widow ” by Victoria Abbott. I love reading anything to do with books.
Fortney, Sally says
I read The Rocky Road to Ruin by Meri Allen. Some different things are that Riley is a former CIA librarian, and sunflower ice cream! I also read A Time to Swill by Sherry Harris (thinking of those in the Gulf now) and Cajun Kiss of Death by Ellen Byron (ditto). Those authors delivered their usual great stories.
First of all, I want to agree with Danna’s selection. I’ve read all three books in this series and have recommended them. These a good mysteries with quite entertaining characters. 🙂
August Recommendations – 2021
Cider Shop Rules – Julie Anne Lindsey
This is such an enjoyable series!! It’s a fall setting in Blossom Valley, West Virginia. Winnie Montgomery and her grandmother own an apple orchard. Winnie has a cider shop on this orchard. During a fall festival, Winnie discovers the body of a neighbor in her truck’s trunk.
This story flows nicely and the culprit isn’t easily identified before the end. The characters are so diverse and fantastic with well-developed personalities. Love, love grandma and her friends. Possible (??) boyfriend Colton (sheriff) is quite complex. His brother is a sheriff in another county and flirts with Winnie while he’s in town participating in a Civil War reenactment. This creates some interesting family dynamics.
This is the third book in this series. I suggest reading the series from the beginning to understand the characters and their interactions. This book is really a pleasant read, written with much wit. . The animal scenes are hilarious. This author plots the story well and gives the reader several twists to contemplate. You won’t want to put it down
I really look forward to the next book. I hope I don’t have to wait another 15 months! BUT, this is a VERY prolific author (with pseudonyms Bree Baker, Julie Chase, and Jacqueline Frost) who writes MANY series. I read three of them — all are current.
Deadly Deletion – Lorna Barrett
When I started reading this book, I realized I must have ‘missed’ something. In a cozy mystery, I follow the characters as well as the mystery. I was at a ‘huh?’ moment where I was perplexed with some of the characters and their relationships to each other. Well, I don’t think I read the previous book.
At any rate, this is an intense mystery with a MANY mind boggling events. It’s set in Booktown – a ‘touristy’ community with all bookstores. Tricia Miles owns a mystery bookstore. Her sister, Angela. owns a cookbook store (and most of the town).
The man Tricia is currently dating is murdered. She wasn’t aware of so many facets of his life – for instance, he was in the Witness Protection Program. There were a lot of ‘lies’ surrounding their relationship.
The numerous ‘regular’ characters provide the story with some entertaining side stories. This author kindly leaves the reader a list of cast characters at the beginning of the book. Although, she has left some out, which was a bit confusing.
The ending is quite a shocker and almost TOTALLY unbelievable!! I just finished reading this book a few hours ago, and I’m still stunned. WOW! After 21 books! (I know it’s cryptic, but those who read this series will understand what I mean.)
Claws for Alarm — Cate Conte
I recommend this book for those that enjoy ‘cats’ as a feature in the storyline(s).
Maddie James owns a cat café in Day Break Island. The director of a rescue league would like to promote a fund raiser with Maddie for the cat café and the local animal rescue dept. Some big name stars are brought in to help generate funds for this event.
There is a murder with several possible suspects. Maddie and her grandfather (former police chief) get involved in the investigation. At the beginning of this story, I was disappointed that the normally smart and intelligent Maddie made some consequential errors in judgment as she was ‘snowed’ by this director. There are also some visible errors in the writing, but they are minor – just a bit annoying.
However, I like the character connections. They are varied and unique. Grandpa has secrets which aren’t revealed until the end. The mystery is good and well-paced. I did figure out ‘whodunit’ before the end. It just was an educated ‘guess’, but somewhat senseless. It’s a quick summer read.
Mary Joy says
I am totally in agreement on the latest Booktown book, A Deadly Deletion – it’s a shocker! I also very much like the characters in these books, especially the sisters and their extended family. Anyone who enjoys the Booktown series will equally enjoy the Artisans Alley series which Lorna Barrett writes as Lorraine Bartlett. Sometimes I find myself liking these even more!!! But I love them both.
I am finishing up the Verity Kent series by Anna Lee Huber, with the newest installment due out tomorrow, and I’ve enjoyed the sojourn in the post-WWI years of Great Britain. I also cared about what happened to the main protagonists, and appreciated the reappearance of supporting characters through out the first 4 books. I found the bits of information about the inner workings of Britain’s intelligence services fascinating, and hope to learn more in the next book.
Jeanne (Zhahn) says
Loving Paula Munier’s 3 Mercy Carr K-9 mysteries. Also Susan Cox and Sarah Penner’s The Lost Apothecary.
Barbara Schultz says
Read and love “The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews. I got an arc. Be sure to put it on your September list as it will be out Tuesday, September 28. It was a delightful, fun quick read
Barbara Schultz says
I got an arc for Mary Kay Andrews “The Santa Suit”.
The Pub Date is September 28. Love it! It was a great read.
Paula Catherine says
I just finished two great novels: Louise Penny’s The Madness of Crowds and David Rosenfelt’s Dog Eat Dog. Both were terrific. I feel you have to read the books in order as both series hav extensive character development.
Ian Jopson says
I’ve just finished a serendipitous find in the local library. A Murder to Die For, by Stevyn Colgan, an ex police officer of 30 years standing and now a researcher for programmes like QI and the Museum of Curiosities (both BBC programmes so may not be familiar to non UK residents). Unusally the book was paid for by subscribers who paid £5 a time.
It concerns a murder at a crime convention where all the attendees are dressed as the featured “golden age” authors main character,
a flapper from the 20s (even some of the men are dressed this way)
and all think they can solve the crime. The chap in charge of the investigation is incompetently ambitious, while a retired detective from the Met Homicide Squad seems to do most of the work.
No more spoilers, it’s worth seeking it out.
Donna Andrews new book, Murder Most Fowl was a lot of fun. Michael is directing Macbeth and most of the actors are bunking in Meg and Michael’s house. Added to them there is the camp of reenactors and the usual complement of family so they have a full house.
Director Damien Goodwin is supposed to be filming the process but spends his time filming embarrassing or offensive situations which appears to lead to his death the night he shares his video with everyone.
Everyone has a reason to want him dead but who did the deed?
Patti S. says
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams. I hit a reading slump and picked this book up and it is wonderful! It has reinvigorated my reading and anyone who loves books and reading will love it! I highly recommend! It is not a mystery but it was really good!
Robin Elizabeth Jarrad says
All those ideas are great, Thanks for sharing what you read, ladies. I just finished a few in each of 3 series and don’t mind reading them again after a while. My adds on favorite is as always, Mrs. Jeffries and just finished Mrs. Jeffries Demands Justice. Unfortunately, she didn’t get it as the obnoxious and arrogant Inspector Nivens didn’t hang by the neck until dead. Now he can give Witherspoon and company more trouble, over and over again, case by case! Love the characters though and I keep coming back, book after book (Mrs. Brightwell has written over 39 books)!
Peggy Ehrhart writes a great Knit and Nibble series that I have enjoyed and Elizabeth Spahn has written a southern quilting series that is really fun as well (and I’m not a quilter).
So those are my picks. Have a great Fall everyone! I’m in Michigan so I love my Autumn colors and cool sweater weather. About time after this insanely hot summer. ENOUGH ALREADY!
Take care, All
I’m recommending the following from my stack of August reads (I apologize ahead of time for the lengthy post, but I read way more this month than I usually do, and I liked several of them a lot):
Ice Cream Shop Mystery Series by Meri Allen
In this new series’ first book, “The Rocky Road to Ruin”, Riley Rhodes leaves her job at the CIA, and returns to her hometown in Connecticut for the funeral of her best friend, Caroline’s mother. Afterwards, a murder occurs and Riley investigates. She also ends up staying in town to help Caroline by running the ice cream shop that was owned by Caroline’s mother.
This is a promising start to a new series, with a likeable main character and many secondary characters…so there are plenty of suspects. Some of the ice cream flavors sound divine!
Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon Mystery Series by Sherry Harris
Chloe Jackson temporarily (at least, that’s her intention) relocates to Emerald Cove in the Florida panhandle, to fulfill a promise she made to her best friend, Boone. He made her promise that if anything ever happened to him, she’d help his grandmother, Vivi, who runs the Sea Glass Saloon there. When Boone is killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan, Chloe takes a leave of absence from her job as a librarian, and makes good on her promise. It isn’t long before a murder occurs, and Vivi is a suspect. Chloe tries to prove Vivi’s innocence, even though Vivi doesn’t want her around.
I love this series! This quickly became a favorite of mine! It’s a fun setting with awesome characters…in fact, this series contains some of my favorite cozy characters overall. There’s Chloe and Vivi, but also Joaquin, a bartender at The Sea Glass, and his husband, Michael; the sexy, mysterious Rhett (who acquired the nickname, Rip, in the second book, and unfortunately it sticks); and the even more mysterious Ann, who is known as a “fixer”…which leads to quite an amusing misunderstanding on Chloe’s part. This is a great group of core characters that are multi-layered. I look forward to getting to know them more in future books. There are also several secondary characters, mostly fellow business owners, and therefore, many murder suspects. The first book is excellent, and the second book is just as good, if not better, with an intriguing mystery that kept me guessing.
A Dinner and a Murder Mystery Series by Veronica Bond
The first release in this new series, “Death in Castle Dark”, takes place in Castle Dark, a gothic castle in Illinois, which serves as the setting for a murder mystery dinner theater in which the guests are Inspectors trying to solve the mystery. Nora Blake the newest cast member, and during one of her first performances an actual murder occurs. Most of the cast (including Nora) lives at the castle, and one of them may be a murderer.
This book has an eerie quality (in a good way)…with characters traversing dark hallways at night, creepy secret passageways, and Nora not knowing who she can trust. Since many of the characters are actors, there’s a lot of varying eccentricities involved, and many of those make the characters seem suspicious.
This is another series with a wonderful cast of characters (including a dog and several cats). I especially like the brothers who own the castle, Derek and Paul. Derek is one of the actors and he runs the day to day operations. He lives at the castle full time. Paul runs the business side of things, but only spends part of his time at the castle.
The setting is perfectly suited for a mystery series, and yet it’s unique for a cozy. I thought it had an Agatha Christie air about it. The author (aka Julia Buckley) provides a layout of the three full floors of Castle Dark, as a reference, which I found myself referring to several times. With only one release so far, it’s too soon to tell, but this has the potential to be another favorite series of mine.
Seaside Cafe Mystery Series by Bree Baker
I read the first two books, “Live and Let Chai”, and “No Good Tea Goes Unpunished”. The third book is a Christmas one, so I’m waiting to read it.
Everly Swan runs an iced tea shop and cafe called Sun, Sand, and Tea, located on the lower level of her large, old Victorian home in the island community of Charm, North Carolina…where her two great-aunts run a shop carrying merchandise made from honey and beeswax (which they harvest themselves from their own apiary). When she discovers the body of one of her customers, she is suspected on poisoning his tea. When her business takes a hit, since most of the town is afraid of being poisoned too, Everly tries to figure out who is actually responsible.
There are some aspects of this series that vaguely remind me of “Practical Magic”. While not witches, Everly descends from a long line of women (the family seems to only produce daughters) who seem to be cursed in that the men they fall in love with die. Is this curse real, or will it end with Everly? Time will tell. She’d like to think so as she grows closer to Detective Grady Hays, who isn’t bothered by the potential curse.
Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series by Tara Lush
The first release, “Grounds for Murder” introduces us to Lana Lewis, who runs her family’s coffee shop, Perkatory, in Devil’s Beach on the Florida Panhandle (this is the third series I’ve read this summer that takes place on the Florida panhandle). Perkatory is slated to compete in a statewide barista competition, but Lana’s latte art is lacking. For the competition, she has her head barista, Fabrizio (Fab), and a new hire, Erica. But those plans fly out the door when Fab abruptly quits (without informing Lana) to work for the other coffee shop in town.
I really enjoyed the story…the mystery was good, and I found Lana to be likeable overall. There’s an adorable pup named Stanley. During the book, aspects of Fab’s life are revealed which some readers may find offensive, namely his penchant for sex play. There’s some mention of things found in his apartment, but no explicit details. I just wanted to offer a heads-up, in case that might bother anyone.
Overall, I thought this was a good first book, and I found myself engrossed in the mystery. I’m interested in finding out more about Erica, Noah (the new-in-town police officer), Lana’s dad, and the other characters as the series progresses.
Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series by Darci Hannah
Lindsey Bakewell leaves her corporate career behind after discovering her fiance cheating on her, and decided to pursue her passion for baking. She buys a partially renovated lighthouse in Michigan, with plans to open a bakery there. Opening Day doesn’t go as planned though…protesters who are unhappy with the lighthouse being turned into a bakery, show up and disrupt the opening. As do Lindsey’s ex and his girlfriend. When one of the unruly, unwelcome guests dies, foul play is discovered, and Lindsey is the prime suspect.
There’s a possible supernatural element to this series (the lighthouse may or may not be haunted). My favorite characters are Rory, Lindsey’s handsome, mysterious neighbor and Wellington (Welly), Lindsey’s pet Newfoundland. This is a great mystery…I was completely surprised when the murderer was revealed. The final showdown was exciting. I think this would make a great movie.
Since this is already a super long list, I’m going to sum-up the last two series I’m recommending fairly quickly.
Goddess of Greene St. Mystery Series by Kate Collins: I read the second book in the series, “A Big Fat Greek Murder”. I love this series… it became a favorite after I read the first book. I like the characters, and the mysteries in both books have been good. Athena’s interactions with her family are often amusing, and so is the fact that she releases her frustrations in an anonymous blog. And then there’s Oscar, the semi-domesticated raccoon who hangs out around her family’s garden center. I’m looking forward to the next release, due out in November.
Writer’s Apprentice Mystery Series by Julia Buckley: I just finished the fourth book, “Death Waits in the Dark”, and I’m currently halfway through the fifth book, “Death with a Dark Red Rose”. This is another of my favorite series. I love the mysteries, the characters, and the setting…both the town of Blue Lake, Indiana, as well as Camilla’s mansion. The first three books had individual mysteries, as well as a mystery arc that spanned those books…which I loved. These latest two just have a main mystery, since the arc was resolved during the third book.
Thanks for your recommendations. Your cozy tastes seem similar to mine since I’ve read some of the same books. And, thanks to you, I’ve got a couple more books to look forward to that I didn’t know about!
I wanted to comment on the Kate Collins’ Goddess of Greene St. series. I REALLY enjoy this series — especially the interactions between the sisters. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are a LOT of similarities between this series and Collins’ Flower Shop series. So if you haven’t read that series yet, you may want to put it on your TBR list.
Julia Buckley also writes the Hungarian Tea House series. You may also find it enjoyable. Buckley is a talented and very creative story teller.
Both of these authors stories add humor and wit to their writing, thus making them quite entertaining!
I have Kate Collins’ Flower Shop Mystery Series…but I’ve only read the first four so far (read them earlier this year). The rest are on my TBR pile, as there were other books I wanted to read this summer…but I’ll get back to Abby Knight and the gang soon.
I just started reading Julia Buckley’s Hungarian Tea Shop Mystery Series (I’m currently halfway through the first one).
I look forward to your thoughts on some of the new-to-you series I recommended above.