I hope everyone’s been having a great holiday season! December is coming to an end, and with it the end of the year. So now’s a great time to discuss our Cozy Mystery recommendations for the 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 Charlotte MacLeod’s Peter Shandy Mystery Series, an old favorite of mine that I hadn’t read in a while that happened to start with a Christmas book. 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 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 2018 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:
Jeffrey Allen (aka Jeff Shelby): Stay At Home Dad Mystery Series
Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Maymee Bell (aka Tonya Kappes): Southern Cake Baker Mystery Series
Stephanie Blackmoore: Wedding Planner Mystery Series
Rhys Bowen: Molly Murphy Mystery Series
Anne Celeste Burke: Georgia Shaw Cozy Mystery Series (fist entry Murder at Catmmando Mountain)
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Leena Clover: Meera Patel Mystery Series (first entry Gone with the Wings)
Diane Mott Davidson: Goldy Bear Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Pen & Ink Mystery Series
Carole Nelson Douglas: Midnight Louis & Temple Barr Mystery Series
Kaitlyn Dunnett (aka Kathy Lynn Emerson): Liss MacCrimmon Mystery Series
Kay Finch: Bad Luck Cat Mystery Series
Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan): Magic Garden Mystery Series
Sarah Fox: Literary Pub Mystery Series
Jacqueline Frost (aka Julie Chase & Julie Anne Lindsey): Christmas Tree Farm Mystery Series
Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames): Cookbook Nook Mystery Series
Sally Goldenbaum: Seaside Knitters Society Mystery Series
Hazel Holt: Mrs. Malory Mystery Series
M. Louisa Locke: Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series
Charlotte MacLeod (aka Alisa Craig): Peter Shandy Mystery Series AND Sarah Kelling & Max Bittersohn Mystery Series AND Inspector Madoc Rhys Mystery Series
Faith Martin: Hillary Greene Mystery Series (first entry Murder on the Oxford Express)
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Library Lover’s Mystery Series
Shirley Rousseau Murphy: Joe Grey Cat Mystery Series
Karen Musser Nortman: Mystery Sisters Mystery Series (first entry Reunion and Revenge)
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Shari Randall: Lobster Shack Mystery Series
Barbara Ross: Maine Clambake Mystery Series
Paige Shelton: Scottish Bookshop Mystery Series
Karen Rose Smith: Caprice de Luca Mystery Series
Lea Wait (aka Cornelia Kidd): Mainely Needlepoint Mystery Series
Ovidia Yu: Singaporean Mystery Series (first entry Aunty Lee’s Delights)
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.
Ginger A Griffin says
I read the first 2 books of lobster shack by Shari Randall. The first is cursed boiled again. The second is against the claw. I loved both and cannot wait for 3rd one.
Elaine Orr says
Foliage and Fatality (Karen Musser Nortman) is the second book in her mystery sisters series. I think the series hit its stride with this one, in which two elderly sisters periodically take off in a Studebaker Starlight Coupe — and stumble over a body. In book 2, they visit a relative who is sponsoring a haunted house (for charity) and find a scary component not intended for the tour. Good plot, good interactions among the characters. Fair bit of understated humor.
Paula Catherine says
I typically read novels by female authors, not sure why, I think there are more of them. I also could have mistakenly thought that most male authors could not write cozy mysteries. This month however, I finished the third book in Jeffery Allen, Stay at home Dad , series. He is a terrific writer, he is so funny and it is a laugh out loud series. The characters seem real, facing life challenges while tying to raise a family. It is refreshing to read about characters that have healthy relationships with a spouse friends and parents . I would recommend this series.
I, too, read books by female authors. But I have found there are several male authors using female pseudonyms. Probably because of people like me who ‘chooses’ the female name when selecting a ‘cozy’ to read.
Barbara M. says
Charlotte MacLeod is one of my favorite authors. I enjoy all of her series. First would be the Sarah Kelling and Max Bitterjohn series. Second the Peter Shandy series, and then the Madoc Rhys series. The series I have been reading is by Anna Celest Burke, the Georgie Shaw Sreies. it’s very good.
I’ve actually been re-reading my Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, in anticipation for the new release in April of next year. For anyone who is a fan of cozies and cats, this series is a “Must Have.” Ms. Murphy blends mystery and a bit of fantasy into a lovely tapestry of adventure and fun. The cats talk, but manage not to lose their essential “catness” in the process (a typical failing). Her characters, regardless of the number of legs, are well-drawn and three-dimensional, her plot lines are concise, but with amusing and mazing twists and turns at all the right places, and they’re just a darned fun read! (Yes, “mazing,” as in “walking a maze.”)
The prequel to this series is a book I read decades ago, and loved dearly, “The Catswold Portal.” It is far more fantasy, but it does give the background on how these remarkable cats came to be. I found a copy of it used online, and quite gladly added it to the series on my shelf.
Sally Fortney says
I enjoyed Overkilt by Kaitlynn Dunnett. Liss and her family were targeted by a cult led by a bigot. Her mother got involved this time.
Annie Boston says
Meera Patel cozy mysteries! Great. College grad living at home with extended family. Funny and sweet. The author is Leena Clover. Found on amazon
Terri P says
Kate Carlisle writes a very nice cozy series, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Terri, Kate Carlisle is currently writing two very good series – Bibliophile Mysteries and the Fixer-Upper Mysteries. I REALLY enjoy them both. Which one are you referring to?
I just enjoyed two Rhys Bowen cozies….Molly Murphy. Always a treat for me! ??? Thanks much for this wonderful blog!
Cece Bozetarnik says
I am enjoying Louisa Locke’s Victorian San Francisco series.
I continued with Hazel Holt’s Mrs. Malory books. Detective in Residence and Death of a Dean. The first, she filled in for another teacher at a U.S. college when a nasty character with too many enemies was murdered she solved it with a twist. The second – also a hard person who made life miserable for all members of his family and who was not how he appeared. Here, too, it was solved with a twist.
SUSAN CLEMENT says
I have only been reading/listening to cozy mysteries for about a year, so I have a lot to catch up on. I’m reading Donna Andrews “Meg Langslow” series and have enjoyed 18 so far. Although there’s many cast of characters, I’ve found it gets easier to keep them straight the more I listen and now publishers have come out with book 1 which was hard to find.
I also like listening to Kay Finch “Bad luck cat” series. She adds a twist to the old black cat luck.
I have been loving the Library Lover’s cozy mystery series by Jenn McKinlay. I listen to the audio version during my commute and then reread it in the paperback before bed because it is just that good! ❤️?
Angela, Be sure to read both her cupcake series and her hat shop series because they are “THAT GOOD”! 🙂
Janice G says
I read a lot of good books this month. Only one was a new series Wine and Punishment by Sarah Fox. The main character buys a pub in a small town in Vermont that she combines with a reading room, featuring literary themed cocktails and hosting book clubs. Her former life intrudes when her ex-boyfriend turns up dead behind the pub. I enjoyed the characters and the use of the literary allusions. I have also read and enjoyed all the books in the Pancake House series by the same author.
The other books that I read and enjoyed were from familiar series. Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost; Batter Off Dead by Maymee Bell; The Coloring Crook by Krista Davis; Cut to the Chaise by Karen Rose Smith; How to Knit a Murder by Sally Goldenbaum; Steamed Open by Barbara Ross; and Gown with the Wind by Stephanie Blackmoore. As I said, this was a very good month – there were even several more books that were good but my list was getting too long. I only have two new books ordered for January so maybe I’ll get a chance to catch up on my huge backlog of reading material.
Jane Exner says
Somehow I have missed knowing about the Jeffrey Allen series. Will be on the lookout.
Recommendations – December 2018
This month all of these recommendations are EXCELLENT (at least, in my opinion).
How to Knit a Murder — Sally Goldenbaum
This series is the epitome of ‘cozy’ mysteries. A loving group of family and friends of various ages working together to solve the mystery. Goldenbaum always writes an intriguing mystery. She also supplies the reader an index to the vast lineup of characters. Yay! 🙂
Rose visits this community where she spent her early years through 10th grade. She had suffered some bullying issues during that time. The ‘bully’ has also moved back to town. He is murdered in a home he recently purchased. Rose is one of several suspects.
Great characters with a well plotted and evenly paced story equals a thoroughly enjoyable ‘cozy’.
Death and Daisies – Amanda Flower
This is the second book in a new series (Magic Garden) by a favorite author. There is a bit of woo-woo, but it doesn’t play a significant role in the story, so I can tolerate it. Fiona Knox inherited some property and a home in Scotland where she has decided to open a flower shop.
The local minister has been very vocal about his dislike for Fiona. So when he is murdered, there is a focus on Fiona. Luckily the police detective is the ‘romantic interest’ in this series. So there isn’t a serious threat that he believes she is ‘guilty’. Fiona’s sister Isla is visiting and helping with the flower shop. They work together to find a solution to the murder.
This is a fast paced book with unexpected twists and turns. I love the dynamics between the characters. The characters are pretty well defined with depth and introspection. As always, a good read by this author!
Wreath Between the Lines – Daryl Wood Gerber
It took me awhile to ‘connect’ with the characters in this story. For awhile I wondered if I actually had read any of the previous books! (Probably because it starts out with new characters.) Jenna Hart’s (lead character) sister, husband, and daughter arrive in town with some family problems. FINALLY after about 30 pages, my memory clicked in and I recognized the characters.
This is a Christmas themed book with planned holiday events. So I read it in the ‘spirit’ of the month to set the mood for the holiday. The series is set in Crystal Grove, CA.
Jake is a friend of Jenna’s father. He finds his friend, Geoffrey, at his home tangled in xmas lights and stabbed with a star. This mystery is laid out in a step by step detailed manner. There are several possible suspects. The story line is complex with the ending somewhat of a surprise.
The side story with the relationships between Jenna and her older sister, and Jenna and her niece is enjoyable as it grows and changes. There really is a LOT of substance to this story. Gerber is another author who pens a multifaceted series…………..AND, is always enjoyable.
Happy New Year everyone.
Dana, thank you for what I know is a labor of love keeping this site always informative and entertaining. I always enjoy your thoughts and reviews.
Thanks also to the many readers who’ve turned me on to books I might not have found.
I must say with some sadness I finished the Carole Nelson Douglas Midnight Louie series, Cat in an Alphabet End Game. From the first book (Catnap I believe it was called then) my husband brought over to me saying” you may like this, it’s a mystery with a cat” (can’t remember how many years ago that was) to the last pages, I loved the characters, especially Louie’s take on the world. I understand there is a new series coming out Louie with a new partner. I hope he keeps us apprised of how Matt, Temple, Max and all the characters in this series are doing.
I also read Paige Shelton’s latest Scottish Bookshop mysteries, Lost Books and Old Bones. This is a great series. I need to look up her other works.
Also a writer that I don’t believe has made the cozy site yet but she should is Ovidia Yu. Her Aunty Lee books are excellent. They are set in Singapore, Aunty Lee runs a home cooking (Singapore style) restaurant to keep her busy after her husband passes. It is nice to have the main character someone with a few years (she’s in her late 50’s, early 60s I believe). I’ve read the first two and have the third one on my Kindle waiting for me.
I can’t wait to read what everyone else has been into. I always discover a new “addiction”.
Diane DJ says
Two of them have been outstanding for me. I have to say I was searching, searching, searching for a new author to me or a new book by an author I’d previously read and was maybe a little tired of. Sometimes it’s taken me several books to find one I can’t wait to finish and to start the next one. This time I found two in a row.
A new author to me is Lea Wait. I read her first book in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery. I loved the setting and I liked that it really kept my attention. (It takes a lot to do that for me.) And the history that the author threw in about needlepoint and Maine was actually very interesting, too.
The other one is an author I have read and liked. The book is The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. Either this book was way different from her others I read, or I just missed all the nuances in the other ones. She is such a great story teller. And although I did catch the humor in her other stories, I think there may have been a lot more in this one. You get to know the townspeople in her previous books, but it seems like in this one, you really get to know their hearts. And the dialogue is very clever! The mystery in this story, too, was classic! It also included some wonderful history, and although I don’t know how much is actually true, it was fascinating. I love how she weaves the lives of the main townspeople together, and I’ve really come to love the Chief Inspector, Gamache. This book is fabulous on its own, but I would recommend reading at least one or two previous ones in order to get to know some of the main townspeople.
I started reading Faith Martin’s books after seeing her recommended on this site. I have read her first three so far and have quite enjoyed them. She has a sense of humor and will stick in a good punch line when you are not expecting it. Her plots hold together and she puts in plenty of twists and the solution is hard to guess. I will continue to read them. My only problem is that they are not available at my local library (I will be talking to them about it) nor on Hoopla.
Michael, your library can get the books you want through ILL (Inter Library Loan). It may take a couple of weeks to get them in and you have a limited amount of time to read them — usually 2 to 3 weeks (just order one at a time). You can’t renew them. This is a GREAT service that libraries offer and many library patrons don’t know about it.
Pam Walker says
I just got through reading Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson, which only leaves me two more in the series, and I will be sad to see it end. I will miss the main characters–Goldy, Tom. Arch, and Marla!
I know a number of you enjoy watching the Mysteries on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. Here is a link to the new mysteries scheduled so far for 2019. Enjoy!