February is almost over, so it’s time to talk about our favorite Cozy Mysteries that we read in the last 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! I haven’t had as much time to read this much as I would have liked, so unfortunately I don’t have a series to recommend this month.
That said, for previously recommended 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 February? 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 February 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:
Ellery Adams (aka J. B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley, & 1/2 of Lucy Arlington): Books by the Bay Mystery Series AND Supper Club Mystery Series
Winnie Archer (aka Melissa Bourbon & Misa Ramirez): Bread Shop Mystery Series
Lillian Bell: Funeral Parlor Mystery Series (first entry A Grave Issue)
Stephanie Blackmoore: Wedding Planner Mystery Series
Ginger Bolton: Deputy Donut Mystery Series (first entry Survival of the Fritters)
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey): Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery Series AND Tobi Tobias Mystery Series
Alan Bradley: Flavia de Luce Mystery Series
Duffy Brown: Consignment Shop Mystery Series
Ann Charles: Jackrabbit Junction Mystery Series AND Deadwood Mystery Series
Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell): County Cork Mystery Series
Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell & Tace Baker): Country Store Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery Series
Kaitlyn Dunnett (aka Kathy Lynn Emerson): Liss MacCrimmon Mystery Series
Warren Esby: Odd Girl Out
A.L. Herbert: Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery Series
Mary Ellen Hughes: Keepsake Cove Mystery Series
Maddy Hunter: Passport to Peril Mystery Series
Miranda James (aka Dean James, Jimmie Ruth Evans, & Honor Hartman): Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series
Laurie R. King: Mary Russell Series
Molly MacRae: Highland Bookshop Mystery Series
Sharon Pape: Crystal Shop Mystery Series
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Anne Perry: William Monk Series
Deanna Raybourn: Veronica Speedwell Mystery Series
Sofie Ryan (aka Sofie Kelly & Darlene Ryan for Young Adult): Second Chance Cat Mystery Series
Paige Shelton: Dangerous Type Mystery Series
Karen Rose Smith: Daisy’s Tea Garden 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 have been reading the William Monk series by Anne Perry. Prior to that the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series. I have enjoyed both of the series VERY MUCH.
Phyllis Santoro says
If you haven’t read her Matthew Reavley Series, you should. They are excellent.
I discovered the Emergency Dessert Squad series by Laura Bradford. I really enjoyed the characters and the plot. I will definitely read more!
Susy S says
I only recently started this series and I am really enjoying the second book, which is my current read.
I can’t wait to find out if Lovey ever stops hissing!
susy lewis says
I read the Deadwood series and the Jackrabbit Junction series, both by Ann Charles, last month. They are hilarious! I enjoy the condensed timeframes, the continuing storylines, and the general craziness. Some readers may not consider these true cozies, due to language and sex, but those components are creatively silly and funny. I can’t wait for the next books!
I’m reading Mary Ellen Hughes “A Fatal Collection”. The first in a new series called “A Keepsake Cove Mystery”. Callie Reed comes to Keepsake Cove to visit her Aunt Melody who owns a music box shop. Aunt Melody subsequently is murdered and Callie takes over the shop and looks into Aunt Melody’s murder that the police call an accident.
A fast-paced cozy with a lot of characters for future books in the series. A possible love interest for Callie, who just broke up with her boyfriend, seems possible. Give it a try!
February Recommendations – 2018
I know some of the readers on this blog have expressed an interest in books that only focus on a mystery. I like these three books because there are multiple story lines………which is what I REALLY enjoy in a cozy. All are page-turners and quick reads – the reader stays ‘glued’.
Murder With Lemon Tea Cakes – Karen Rose Smith
This is the first book in a new series and in many ways it’s a ‘typical’ cozy with all the ‘obligatory’ (two possible romantic interests, etc.) elements. Having said that, I don’t know why it grabbed me, but it did. I didn’t even have to wait until page 25 or 50, I was engaged from page one. Most likely it’s because of the characters, the most important element to me.
Daisy Swanson moved back to this small PA community after the death of her husband. She opened a tea shop with her aunt. She also is the mother of two teenagers. Daisy’s Aunt Iris is dating a wealthy man who’s in the throes of a messy divorce. Unfortunately, he is the murder victim. Since her aunt is the number one suspect, Daisy gets involved in solving this crime.
Daisy is a very strong character with intelligence and depth. Most other characters also encompass smart and likable qualities. There’s a side story with Daisy’s daughter, Jazzi, that’s quite interesting to follow.
This is a well written and well-paced book. I haven’t read anything by this author, but am looking forward to the next book in this series.
Dial M for Mousse – Laura Bradford
This author is quickly climbing up on my list of ‘fun read’ authors. I haven’t liked all her series, but this one and her new one are very enjoyable.
This book has so many levels that the mystery is almost secondary. The characters are diverse and very eclectic with so many stories. Winnie Johnson creates ‘emergency desserts’ by order and then delivers them in a renovated ambulance. I appreciate her strength, smarts, and independence.
Performers are brought into the community for a workshop. The retreat leader of the group is murdered. Winnie and her senior cohorts in the neighborhood set out to find the culprit of this murder.
Because I thought the other stories were so good, I had to take a sneak peek at the last few pages to find out the outcome. It wasn’t the mystery I was so curious about, that criminal (a bit of a surprise) was revealed in the second to last chapter, which I read it in proper order.
Bradford wound this story together with its various factions very effectively, writing with much witticism. Kudos to this author for an enjoyable read!!
30 Second Read – Laura Bradford
This is the second book in the other series I really enjoy by this author. Again she writes with witticism and insight. Most likely I also recommended the first book.
Tobi Tobias has started her own marketing agency. While creating an ad for a client, an actress is murdered. Tobi’s neighbor is the main suspect.
The characters are well defined and well developed with intelligence.
It’s the most important facet of a story to me, and the main characters in this series are enjoyable.
I correctly (which rarely happens) guessed who the culprit was about halfway through the story, so it wasn’t much of a surprise. However, the other intertwining stories are REALLY good. AGAIN, kudos to Bradford for another great read!
Right now I’m somewhat captivated with another book. If I finish it today and it continues to be as good, I’ll add another recommendation.
I recommend “Odd Girl Out” by Warren Esby, especially for people who like horse related mysteries. It’s very twisty.
The Fast and the Furriest by Sophie Ryan (Who also writes the Magical Cat Series under Sophie Kelly).
These books are great fun, realistic characters and a nice environment (Maine) and they make me laugh out loud.
Sarah runs a second hand/thrift store with the help of an eclectic staff and her rescue cat Elvis.
Mac is her right hand man who finds himself accused of the murder of a woman who came to town to talk to him about what really happened to his wife and left her in a coma.
Susy S says
Yes, yes, yes. But the way she ended the book has me already very inpatient for the next one.
Elizabeth Mahon says
I really enjoyed Lillian Bell (Eileen Rendahl’s) first cozy A Grave Issue published by Crooked Lane. For one, it was a very interesting setting, a funeral parlor in a small town. Two, the cast of characters is diverse and three, the mystery was really clever and she sets up a secondary mystery which will hopefully play out through the series.
I read way more than usual this month…odd, since it was a short month. I attribute it to watching a ton of Olympic coverage and doing a lot of reading between events. I enjoyed everything I read, but these are the ones I liked the best:
“Alibis and Amethysts” (Crystal Shop Mystery Series by Sharon Pape): I really enjoyed this book a lot! I liked everything about it…the characters, the setting, the main plot, the subplot, the quality of the writing and editing, etc. I found the main characters to all be very likeable. The story centers around Jaye, who owns a crystal and gemstone shop in Sedona, Arizona. One of the things I really liked about this character, is that while she owns this shop and is an expert in all things crystals and gems (she has a geology degree), she isn’t “new age-y” (if that makes any sense). In that way, she reminded me of myself a little bit, since I also have an interest in gems/crystals as a hobby, but I don’t fit into the new age mold either. I thought it was unexpectedly refreshing that the author chose to go this route with the character. There is a mythological type of element in this series that is quite prominent (it’s the focus of the story’s subplot). So if you dislike those aspects to cozies or anything, this book may not be the one for you. However, if you’re even slightly on the fence about something like that ribboning throughout a story’s theme, I recommend you give this book a try. The mystery had me guessing until the reveal, and I did not have it figured-out at all. My only complaint about this series is that it contains only one book (so far), and it was released back in 2013. I really hope at some point it is continued…I’d love to read more of it!
“Kneaded to Death” and “Crust No One” (Bread Shop Mystery Series by Winnie Archer): Both of these books are quite enjoyable…they both have good storylines that held my interest, and great characters, as well as interesting relationships between the characters. There was a twist in the first book that I wasn’t expecting. The main character, Ivy, has a four-legged sidekick…a rescue pug named Agatha, who is sweetie. And last but not least, the bread shop theme is mouth-watering. Reading these books was often accompanied by cravings for a warm, crusty baguette slathered with butter…which paired with a cup of coffee, is one of my favorite comfort foods on a cold winter day.
“Engaged in Death”, “Murder Wears White” and “Murder Borrowed, Murder Blue” (Wedding Planner Mystery Series by Stephanie Blackmoore): These books were fun to read. The main character, Mallory and her sister, Rachel renovate an old manor on an estate that Mallory inherits near the beginning of the first book (I LOVE the circumstances in which she inherits the property), and turn it into a bed and breakfast where they also run a wedding planning business. I found Mallory to have a few more flaws than the main characters in most of the other cozies that I’ve read so far, but she is still very likeable overall…I do wish she would stand-up for herself more – particularly with her ex-fiance and almost-mother-in-law, and even with her sister at times. I’m hoping that during the series she begins to assert herself more when faced with difficult situations with people who are in the wrong. The storylines of all three books were fast-paced, with enough going-on to be entertaining. I’m looking forward to the next release in the series, “Gown with the Wind” (which I’m assuming is coming-out sometime this year or early next year, since a preview was at the end of the latest release).
Terry M says
Many a Twist by Sheila Connolly a County cork mystery
I liked this book. I like this series also. Some loose ends are taken care of in this book. Maura finally meets her mother who left her when she was 2. Her mother works for Crann Mor Hotel. They meet at a meeting where other people from the hotel come to see Maura’s pub. Maura’s mother’s boss is killed later. Maura investigates to help out her mother. While investigating, Maura finds out a lot of secrets. Maura also starts a romantic relationship. Gillian (Maura’s friend ) has her baby. It will be interesting to see if Maura continues in a relationship with her mother.
Betsy N says
My favorite read this month was The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley. People have recommended this series to me multiple times and I finally gave it a read. So much fun with a great MC Flavia! Book #2 has already been purchased!
You do mean February 2018, right?
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Yes, I do some copy/pasting on these and sometimes miss things like that. Thanks!
I read Ellery Adams’ Killer Characters which closes the series of the Bay Mystery. She stated it at the preface, said that she had hard time writing it and it was different. I had a sense of foreboding while reading it which proved right. Still, I like it when writers, like Victoria Abbott, choos to end a series, especially when events take place in a small town.
I liked Louis Penny’s Glass Houses. Always rich with characters and events and history. And I now agree that hers are not “cozy,” though the first two or three were. Event often go beyond the town of Three Pines and the killer is not necessarily a neighbor. But she kept my attention throughout.
Last, I found in my bookcase Laurie King’s a Monstrous Regiment of Women. This is from the 90’s and I must have met her since the book is inscribed to me… The story takes place in London in 1920, right after the end of the first World War and as women suffragists are awaken. The heroine, Mary Russel, is a young academic who is… an assistant to the now retired Sherlock Holmes. Quite clever with many references to how women have been viewed by historians, philosophers, Biblical scholars and others. And how they are trying to make their mark in society. And, yes, there are crimes solved by both of them. Cannot wait to read the first book in the series and then the following.
Susy S says
Oh, I hate the way Ellery Adams ended the series, but at least we know how it ends. Too often, the publisher just decides not to opt for another and the reader is left hanging forever.
Janice G says
I didn’t read as much as usual this month but I did read some very good books. My favorite was Lethal in Old Lace by Duffy Brown. It wasn’t supposed to come out until 3/13 but Amazon sent it to me on 2/20. After an almost three year absence, this book picks up exactly where the last book ended. Reagan and Aunt Kiki are up to their usual shenanigans while Boone tries to keep them out of trouble. This story focused on the elderly sisters who live next door and who continue to supplement their income by serving as professionals mourners. I am so happy to have this series back.
I enjoyed the first book in a new series, Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton. The young widow of a police detective and her retired police chief father-in-law run a donut shop and get involved in the investigation into the murder of one of their regular customers. The author page said that Ginger Bolton is the pseudonym of an award nominated cozy author. I checked the copy-write and it was Janet Bolin – I double checked and it was her picture. I liked her Threadville series so I hope that this one is as good.
I would also recommend Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day and The Cat of the Baskervilles by Vickie Delaney.
Janice, if you look at Ginger Bolton’s website it states she also writes as Janet Bolin. I, too, enjoy the Threadville series, so will certainly read ‘Survival of the Fritters’. Thanks for mentioning this book. and following through with the pseudonym. Danna hasn’t cross referenced the two names yet at this site.
And, OOPS on my part. I forgot to mention Biscuits and Slashed Browns on my recommendation list, which I read a couple of weeks ago. GREAT setting, lovable and varied characters, and a well plotted mystery. This author is a very good descriptive writer, making her stories quite an enjoyable (somewhat witty) read. SO, Janice, I ‘second’ your recommendation…………….it’s a nifty series.
“Survival of the Fritters” is sitting near the top of my TBR pile. I’m looking forward to reading it. The premise is interesting (and the book’s cover is adorable). 🙂
My favorite for this month includes all the things I love in a cozy: food, humor, and lovable characters – Carbs and Cadavers by Ellery Adams (Supper Club). I also read the second one, Fit to Die, but I need to pace myself because I think there is only one more in the series so far.
It was a great month for reading – others I liked included Victoria Hamilton’s A Deadly Grind (Vintage Kitchen), Murder Most Frothy by Cleo Coyle (Coffeehouse), Americanos, Apple Pie, and Art Thieves by Harper Lin (Cape Bay Cafe), A Late Frost by Sheila Connolly (Orchard), Bread of the Dead by Ann Myers (Santa Fe Cafe), Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Child’s (Cackleberry Club), Honey-Baked Homicide by Gayle Leeson (Down South Cafe), and finally Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett (Booktown). I live in the middle of nowhere so I like to dream of going somewhere like Booktown, well, except for all the dead bodies. LOL
Just read my first ‘cat in the stacks’ mystery (file m for murder) and loved it! Not least because I’m a cat lover…..desperately hunting the others, I fear this is the only one in my local library, so looks like an amazon order!
P. Wever says
I read a lot of books this month that were not cozies they were thrillers and best seller I found at my library.
The one cozy I read Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert is a mass market paperback book published in 2015 that I purchased this month. It is the debut of Mahaila Watkins Soul Food Mystery series. There is a second novel in the series Murder with Macaroni and Cheese and the first chapter of it is included in the book. Halia’s Soul food recipes are placed in between chapters throughout the book.
Halia Watkins is trying to solve the murder of her shady business partner Marcus and keep her boisterous cousin Wavonne from going to jail for the murder of Marcus. She also wants to keep her restaurant Mahaila’s Sweet Tea out of the news as a murder scene.
The book is set in Prince George’s County Maryland. The characters are interesting and real. The plot keeps you guessing. I really enjoyed this book. Wavonne’s antics had me laughing out loud.
I hope this series continues. I plan to purchase the second book.
Scones and Scoundrels – Molly MacCrea
This is a book for those who want a story focused just on the mystery. Four women have joined together to buy a business in a small Scotland community – a book store, tea and scone restaurant, and a B&B. These women are all accomplished and strong, two are younger and two are older.
The mystery is very methodically laid out. This author adds creativity and quaintness to the story, which gives it complexity. It involves an author’s return to this community (where she grew up) for a summer workshop. She is very demanding and not well liked.
There is more than one murder, thus involving these four partners into finding the solution. A couple of wrong guesses finally leads them to the perpetrator (a TOTAL surprise). They unwittingly put themselves in danger.
Ironically, there are no romance stories in this book. I say ‘ironically’ because the story does involve four smart and unattached women. Again, for those that like a straight mystery story, this book is for you.
Vicki L. says
I just finished Maddie Hunter’s latest Passport to Peril mystery, Say No Moor. It was fun and a quick read, as usual. I have been reading more books with Senior sleuths/characters lately.
I am two books into Gail Oust’s Bunco Babes series also. More older characters, it has a main sleuth who is a retired northerner transplanted to a southern retirement community. Highly recommended!
Kelli Roberts says
I discovered Paige Shelton’s Dangerous Type series this month. I read To Helvetica and Back and loved it, and now am partway into Bookman Dead Style. I love the setting and it’s about books and writing implements so it’s perfect!
Margaret StashEmpress says
Oh missed the boat on this again, will have to post double next month LOL.
Will just say if you read only one book this month you’ll have a hard time choosing between The Cat of the Baskervilles (newest Sherlock Holmes Bookshop title) or A Treacherous Curse (newest Veronica Speedwell title).
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Margaret, it’s most certainly not too late! I’m more than willing to keep posting recommendations for a week or two into the new month, and always look forward to your posts. Though if you want to wait until next month, that’s fine as well of course!
Connie D. says
I love your cozy site and appreciate all the work you do to keep it current but I just read a wonderful mystery by Frances Brody and I noticed that you do not have it listed with her other books. The book is Death at the Seaside, published 2016. I love all of her Kate Shakleton series but this one was outstanding. I just e-mailed her to thank her for a wonderful read.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Connie, thanks! I miss a book from time to time, and this sort of notice is always helpful to “fill in the blanks.”
Gay P. says
One of my favorite authors is Lauren Carr who writes The Mac Farraday series, Lovers in Crime And the Thorny Rose mysteries. I eagerly await each new book.