Well, the New Year will be coming up very soon, so it’s time for the last discussion of our favorite Cozy reading material of 2016! If you’ve read a great Cozy in December, be sure to post it here! This month, I read Lucy Arlington‘s Novel Idea Mystery Series, so I’ll start it off with that! (I also read Last Bus to Woodstock, by Colin Dexter, but that’s just far enough from being “Cozy” that I’m not going to include it on this list…)
If you’re interested in reading why I’m recommending these series, you can go to the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my Cozy-Mystery site for my full write-ups on each of these great Cozy series.
So, what have you been reading that you can recommend in December? 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 December 2016 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Here are the current recommended authors who some of you have read and recommended this past month:
Victoria Abbott (Writing duo Mary Jane Maffini & daughter Victoria Maffini): Book Collectors Mystery Series
Ellery Adams (aka J. B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley, & 1/2 of Lucy Arlington): Book Retreat Mystery Series
Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Lucy Arlington (co-written by Jennifer Stanley & Sylvia May): Novel Idea Mystery Series
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt): Tea Shop Mystery Series and Cackleberry Club Mystery Series
Jill Churchill: Grace and Favor Mystery Series
Jane Cleland: Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery Series
Cleo Coyle (aka Alice Kimberly): Coffeehouse Mystery Series
Ellen Crosby: Wine Country Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Year-Round Christmas Mystery Series
Elizabeth J. Duncan: Penny Brannigan Mystery Series
Sharon Fiffer: Jane Wheel Mystery Series
Charles Finch: Charles Lenox Mystery Series
Kristine Husom: Snow Globe Shop Mystery Series
Nancy Lynn Jarvis: Raven McHenry Real Estate Mystery Series
Diane Kelly: Tara Holloway Mystery Series
K. J. Larsen: Cat DeLuca Mystery Series (book #1 Liar, Liar)
Karen MacInerney: Dewberry Farm Mystery Series
Gail Oust: Piper Prescott Mystery Series
Kathy Reichs: Temperance Brennen Mystery Series
David Rosenfelt: Andy Carpenter Mystery Series
Sarah Rosett: Murder on Location Mystery Series
Paige Shelton: Scottish Bookshop Mystery Series
Angela M. Sanders: The Lanvin Murders
Livia Washburn: Fresh-Baked 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 am reading David Rosenfelt’s …Andy Carpenter Series. I just love this series. It has a Golden Retriever named Tara… and a savvy Lawyer…They save the lives of people and dogs…The stories are clever.. The characters are well rounded, and the final pages always keep you guessing…I’d give this series 5*…
Buried in a Book sounds great. Will check it out!
Janice J. Richardson says
My favourite in December was Backyard Bones by Nancy Lynn Jarvis, followed by The Lanvin Murders by Angela M. Sanders.
My New Year Favs end with Elizabeth J Duncan’s Welch series with Penny Brannigan. Loved them all! Now reading an old Laura Childs Tea Shoppe wihile waiting for Pekoe Most Poison. Also liked the Cackleberr Egg Club of Eggs Drop Dead.
I read a number of good books this month. I enjoyed two books in the Murder on Location series by Sara Rosett – Death in an Elegant City (Bath) and Death in an English Garden which was released last week. More readers may be familiar with the author’s Air Force Wife series but the location series is one of my favorites. The main character is an American location scout working on a British TV documentary on the life and works of Jane Austen so great settings in the English countryside and references to Austen works.
Another book that was a lot of fun as well as a good mystery was Curried Away by Gail Oust. One of the things that I like about this author is that she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously so the books have a lot of humor without being silly.
Some of my favorite authors had new books out this month including Better off Thread by Amanda Lee, Frosty the Dead Man by Christine Husom, and Custom Baked Murder by Liz Mugavero and none of them disappointed. The second book in Elizabeth J. Duncan’s series set in a Shakespeare Theater Company in the Catskills – Ill Met by Death – lived up to the promise of the first book.
I’m reading Murder in the Mystery Suite by Ellery Adams. I’m loving it and it’s definitely a page turner.
This series is GREAT. I read each one as soon as it comes out and then wait impatiently for the next. Same for the Diane Kelly ‘Death, Taxes and… series and both series by Sofie Kelly/Sofie Ryan.
I’ve been re-reading Jill Churchill’s ‘Grace and Favor’ series. I received the first one for Christmas and I already had the fourth, so… Time for a very pleasant catch up!
Lovely light series about a formerly (very) wealthy New York socialite brother and sister who were bankrupted by the great crash of 1929, and after living in poverty for two years, are left an old mansion in upstate NY, with certain conditions attached. Of course they get involved in local mysteries and murders.
Even the smaller characters are believably well-rounded, and the stereotypes are refreshingly absent. (For instance, the sister is the financial / business savvy one while her brother is something of an air-head!)
Not overloaded with period detail, just enough to ring true. Highly recommended if you want something quick and light to read.
Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany was the perfect book to read in December, but truthfully I would have enjoyed it anytime of year. It takes place in a town called Rudolph which celebrates Christmas all year long. A murder happens near the holidays and Merry, a shop owner, becomes a sleuth to help solve the crime and save the town from loss of profits during the shopping season. The writing and plot were very engaging and I loved the fact that I did not figure out who the killer was until the end. I loved the setting and would love to live in or near Rudolph!
I read Charles Finch’s The Inheritance, the latest in his Inspector Lenox series. Awesome writer, but I have my phone nearby to look up words; his vocabulary is astounding.
This year, I discovered the mysteries of Sharon Fiffer. As a “treasure hunter” who frequents the thrift shops and yard sales, I could completely identify with the main character, Jane Wheel. I even got to “meet” Sharon Fiffer at the meeting of the YouTube Chatterbooks book club. By way of the book club, I was also just introduced to Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Chamache series and look forward to reading all of those this year.
December Recommendations – 2016
Comment: I think this was month of romance in the cozies I chose to read. There were THREE engagements!!! I won’t give any ‘spoiler alerts’ – only to say that not all the cozies I read this month are listed here.
Champagne Conspiracy — Ellen Crosby
After a five year absence, author Ellen Crosby has added another book (#7) to her Wine Country Mystery series. Just when you think a series has ended………then, a pleasant surprise – another story! There were some loose ends after book six, so it’s especially pleasant there is a book 7. And, even though she ties up those loose ends, she states on her facebook page there’ll be a book 8.
This story is particularly convoluted with a very winding plot. It does get somewhat confusing, but it is a very absorbing story — difficult to put down. (Particularly bad when one is trying to get house ready and baking done for xmas guests)!
First of all, there is a historical aspect to the story since events center around the time of Warren Harding’s presidency is crucial to the plot. A wealthy and famous CA winery owner comes to the VA winery owned by Lucy Montgomery to see his cousin Quinn (winemaker). He is being blackmailed and at first suspects Quinn as the blackmailer.
A mystery from the past is brought into the present as it appears a murder or two is committed. I figured out one culprit pretty easily. However the whys and wherefores aren’t apparent. And, the blackmailer is a complete surprise.
This very talented author, brings her reporting credentials to the fiction world. This can easily be read as a stand-alone, although the whole series is very good.
Glow of Death – Jane Cleland
Josie Prescott owns an antique house in an oceanside community in NH. She has been asked to appraise a Tiffany lamp and determine whether it is authentic. She returns the lamp to a lady who is posing as the wife of the lamp owner. Later the actual wife is found murdered and that is when Josie realizes she has been scammed. Josie develops an intricate plot to catch the culprit.
There are many aspects to the mystery plot, and creativity is the key to this author’s storytelling ability. She adds in a few lighter moments within the story, but the focus is almost totally on the mystery.
Josie is one of the sharpest and most intelligent protagonists in the ‘cozy world’. Her employees, the journalist, the police chief, best friend, lawyer, and boyfriend are all characters the reader has grown to love throughout this 11 book series.
Obviously the theme of this series is antiques and much detail is given to this subject. For those interested in this topic, you will enjoy this aspect. However, if you’re like me with little interest, you can skip over much of that particular detail. The mystery is always so good that I don’t want to miss the story just because I’m not interested in the topic/theme.
It is a very well written series (I only had an issue with one of the previous stories – a disconnect that just wasn’t plausible). I would recommend that one reads these stories in order to get the full impact of the characters. Enjoy (I sure did).
Fatal Frost — Karen MacInerney
This series is set on a farm (Dewberry) in a small TX community. Protagonist Lucy Resnick (former investigative reporter) is managing a farm she inherited from her grandmother. She is trying to make it work with a peach orchard, vegetable garden, some chickens, a cow, and two goats.
While Lucy is at a neighboring farm, there is a fire call at a nearby residence. A young gal is found dead in the fire, but she wasn’t killed by the fire. She was murdered. And, Lucy’s friend is a prime suspect.
There is depth to the main characters and the interactions are particularly interesting, Lucy’s parents are visiting and one gets a real insight into the complexity of the family relationship.
There are some diverse subplots that keep the story moving quickly. I always enjoy MacInerney’s stories.
We Wish You a Murderous Christmas – Vicki Delaney
This is an ideal holiday read. It’s set in a community named ‘Rudolph’ in upstate NY. The ambiance/theme is full-on ‘Christmasy’ and magical.
Protagonist Merry Wilkinson has returned to her hometown community and owns ‘Mrs. Claus’s Treasures’ – an upscale gift shop. One of the owners of the nearby Yuletide Inn has a heart attack. His son comes to town to help run the inn while his father is in the hospital. He has taken it upon himself to ‘cut operation costs’, and discuss the selling of the inn and surrounding acreage to developers. This upsets many people in the community and he is found murdered. The prime suspect is Merry’s father (Noel), the former mayor and current Santa, because he was overheard having a disagreement with the victim.
As one reads the story, one feels part of the community family. The main characters are enjoyable, likeable, and fairly well defined. I wanted to mention that one of the main characters is Vicky, Merry’s best friend since kindergarten. Well………………a ‘DUH” moment for me. I read the first book (last year) and was halfway through the second book before I realized the author’s first name and this character’s name were the same! Another ‘DUH!’
The plot is evenly laid out and moves quite quickly. There are several viable suspects and a surprise (at least to me) culprit when the story ends. The subplots move along and the romance angle doesn’t drag on. It’s a good read, even when it isn’t December.
Thoroughly enjoyed David Rosenfelt’s book twelve dogs of Christmas. He has great characters and though you may guess who done it–you’re never sure until the end. Also enjoyed Cleo Coyle’s french pressed and K. J. Larsen’s there was a crooked man. Paige Shelton’s Scottish series are a nice light read.
I read eight mysteries in December- I had to in order to reach my Goodreads pledge goal of 60 books for 2016, since I slacked off on reading a bit during the summer months when the warm weather meant spending much more time outdoors. I highly recommend them, and they are all from ongoing series I enjoy:
“The Marsh Madness” by Victoria Abbott (Book Collector Mysteries)
The Diva Paints the Town” and “The Diva Cooks a Goose” by Krista Davis. (Domestic Diva series)
“The Good, the Bad, and the Emus” by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow mysteries)
“Murder By the Slice” and “The Christmas Cookie Killer” by Livia Washburn. (Fresh Baked mysteries)
The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs (a collection of four Temperance Brennen novellas)
“The Iced Princess” by Christine Husom (Snow Globe Shop mysteries)