February’s coming to an end, so now’s the time to discuss the books that we’ve enjoyed the most in 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 a frequently recommended book, the first entry in Victoria Hamilton’s Merry Muffin 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 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 2019 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): Secret, Book & Scone Mystery Series
Winnie Archer (aka Melissa Bourbon & Misa Ramirez): Bread Shop Mystery Series
Kelley Armstrong: Casey Duncan Mystery Series (first entry City of the Lost)
Donald Bain and Jessica Fletcher: Murder, She Wrote Mystery Series
Bree Baker: Seaside Cafe Mystery Series (first entry Live and Let Chai)
Stephanie Blackmoore: Wedding Planner Mystery Series
Rhys Bowen: The Victory Garden
Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone
Elizabeth Craig (aka Riley Adams & Elizabeth Spann Craig): Myrtle Clover Mystery Series
Rich Curtin: Manny Rivera Mystery Series (first entry Artifacts of Death)
Kate Dyer-Seeley (aka Ellie Alexander): Rose City Mystery Series
Charles Finch: Charles Lenox Mystery Series
Sarah Fox: Literary Pub Mystery Series
Victoria Gilbert: Blue Ridge Library Mystery Series
Dorothy Gilman: Mrs. Pollifax Mystery Series
Victoria Hamilton: Merry Muffin Mystery Series
Sophie Hannah: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries (The Mystery of Three Quarters)
Eileen Curley Hammond: Merry March Mystery Series (first entry Murder So Sinful)
Charlaine Harris: Lily Bard Mystery Series
Sherry Harris: Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery Series
Joseph Joria: Professor Norman Mystery Series (first entry The Price of Their Toys)
Diane Kelly: House-Flipper Mystery Series
Catherine Lloyd: Kurland St Mary Mystery Series
Dale Mayer: Lovely Lethal Gardens Mystery Series (first entry Arsenic in the Azaleas)
Alexis Morgan: Abby McCree Mystery Series (first entry Death by Committee)
Patricia Moyes: Henry Tibbett Mystery Series
Liz Mugavero (aka Cate Conte): Pawsitively Organic Mystery Series
Nancy J. Parra (aka Nancy Coco and Nell Hampton): Wine Country Mystery Series
Sheri Richey: Spicetown Mystery Series (first entry Welcome to Spicetown)
Sofie Ryan (aka Sofie Kelly & Darlene Ryan for Young Adult): Second Chance Cat Mystery Series
Rex Stout: Nero Wolfe Mystery Series
Hillary Waugh: Girl on the Run and Pure Poison
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.
This month I devoured Kelley Armstrong’s latest in the Casey Duncan series, Watcher in the Woods. Set in a remote town in the Yukon, it is a cozy with an edge. There’s a lot of action yet this installment was a little more reflective as Casey tries to figure out who killed a US Marshall who has come to town.
I also got introduced to Lily Bard, the main character in Charlaine Harris’ Shakespeare series. Lily keeps to herself but becomes more involved with her neighbors when one is killed and dumped in a park near her house. She’s a very likeable character with a sad past she’s trying to leave behind.
Pam Walker says
I devoured all of the Lily Bard series and wish she had written more.
Julie Harvey says
I, too, thoroughly enjoyed the Lily Bard series. It is a little darker than some of Charlaine Harris’ other books but riveting, smart, and empowering. Wouldn’t it be a thrill if Ms Harris wrote another book in the series? We can hope, can’t we? I’m thrilled to hear of others loving this series. I loved the Aurora Teagarden series, and was a little disappointed that the tv show didn’t quite follow the books. Thank you for the well written reviews of series you all enjoy. I’ve got some reading to do!
Christina K says
I really like this series and have read all the books. Do you know if there will be more in the series?
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Christina, I haven’t heard anything, unfortunately.
Denise W. says
Love this series. Hoping there will be a 5th book.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Denise, I hope so too!
I’ve just finished a couple of books by Joseph L Joria, an ex policeman.These are “The Price of Their Toys” and “Death and Texas”. They are about a Professor Norman, history lecturer at the University of London and toy soldier maker, and are based around the battlefield of Little Big Horn and the Alamo respectively. They date from the early 2000s and there was mention of a third book, but I can’t seem to find it.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Joppy, I can’t seem to find these… are you sure you have the name of the author right?
His name is Joseph E Joria…and even then, is hard to find anything about. By having two book names, I found him, but not much other info 🙁
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Kivara, thanks! I don’t know why it was so rough finding them myself. They do seem to be on Amazon.
Marie M. says
It’s Joseph E. Joria and the books are listed on Amazon
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Thanks Marie! I’ve seen them now. Not sure why I wasn’t able to find them there before, though they are a bit rare – but they are obviously available.
Google to the rescue
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Hanna, thanks! Not sure why I was having so much trouble finding this before. It’s not exactly common, but not totally absent from Amazon either.
My apologies, it should be Joseph E Joria. Current publisher is, http://www.iuniverse.com
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Joppy, thanks! I’ve found them. I’m not sure why it took so much time for me to get this off of Amazon – it’s not a common title, but definitely on their site.
Janice G says
I read the first in a new series titled Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan. The main character inherits her aunt’s house, her big dog, and her chairmanship of a local quilting group. There is, of course, a mystery to be solved and a very good looking tenant but the interaction of the quilters is quite interesting.
I also enjoyed Past Due For Murder by Victoria Gilbert, Murder She Meowed by Liz Mugavero, and No Escape Claws by Sofie Ryan.
February Recommendations – 2019
Violet Tendencies — Kate Dyer-Seeley
I REALLY enjoy this author (and pseudonym), having read most of her series. The mystery stories are always well written and cryptic. There’s one (ongoing) series I don’t read because the romance angle isn’t going in the direction I like (I know it’s petty, but with all the books on my TBR list, I can be selective!).
However, this series is SO smart and so much fun. LOVED the first book and the same goes for this second book. Britta Johnston ( a VERY talented flower arranger) has joined her aunt in Portland, OR to help with their flower shop. They are building a float for a community festival. A group (gang) is protesting this festival, and one of the gang members is murdered. As the story proceeds, there is much complexity.
The characters are well developed with some deep insight. It’s easy to get involved in their lives and relationships.
One flaw many authors make is to have an extended precarious chapter late in the book, involving the protagonist and murderer (oftentimes created by stupid mistakes). I don’t know about you, but I just pass over several pages of this part of the story. I KNOW the protagonist will survive for the next story in the series.
Kudos to Dyer-Seeley for creating another complex series. I read late into the night because it is so engaging.
Wine and Punishment – Sarah Fox
This is the first book in a new series…………
Sadie has moved to a small Vermont community, purchasing an old pub. She decided to keep the pub and add a book store. An interesting mix of characters is drawn to this business. Of course, there is an ‘ex’ that she is leaving — an ‘ex’ with a gambling problem. He comes to town in hopes of rekindling their relationship.
Sadie is an enjoyable protagonist…………obviously intelligent and savvy. Some characters interact well making the story interesting. The murder mystery is somewhat baffling, not easily figured out. The writing flows fluently as one finds it difficult to put down, keeping the reader entertained.
All in all, I think this series has a lot of potential and hopefully there will be several more stories forthcoming.
Gown With the Wind — Stephanie Blackmore
I enjoy this series because Blackmore writes with humor, wit, and compassion. It’s important to start with the first book to understand the relationships between the characters. Mallory Shephard and her sister, Rachel, run a B&B with an emphasis on planning many events (mainly weddings) for use of this facility. Mallory was a lawyer before embarking on this business venture.
There’s been an ongoing story for a couple of books…………Mallory’s ex is getting married and they want Mallory to plan their wedding. Becca is his fiancée and she wants a ‘Gone with the Wind’ theme. The theme is carried out throughout the story in interesting ways. Becca’s nemesis (a somewhat crazed character) is jealous and is creating problems for the wedding plans. An unsolved murder from the past is woven into a new murder story.
This is a bit difficult to describe without revealing too much because the story is so convoluted. It’s a very fast paced book (sometimes ‘dizzying’). There are several story threads to keep track of, but all is intertwined into a really enjoyable book. AND, I’m pleased that one story thread has finally come to a conclusion!
Seven Deadly Zins – Nancy Parra
I almost always recommend Parra/Coco books. She is a very prolific (but somewhat typical) cozy author. But I find her stories warm/congenial, with witty dialogue. Also, with a setting in beautiful Sonoma Valley, she writes very alluring descriptions of the area.
Taylor O’Brien offers winery tours. When she visits a local winery with a group of investors, she finds a body in one of the vats. Taylor’s friend, the winery owner, is arrested for the murder. Of course, she MUST get involved in finding a solution.
Story lines include a new competitor offering the same tours, with better equipment and organization. THEN, there is this guru who has a cult type following……………
This is a series filled with some ‘zany’ characters (somewhat normal for this author). Also, there are some ‘zany’ twists and turns, all leading to an enjoyable read!
Marie Lawlor says
I’m still reading Charles Finch’s The Vanishing Man. His Charles Lenox series is wonderful.
I was just wondering if you would happen to know if there were any new Book Collector books in the works. I thoroughly enjoyed these books and the characters. I would absolutely recommend these books. However there have been no new ones since 2017. Have there been any mention of new ones?
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Janie, I’m afraid I haven’t heard any plans about any new entries in this series since the last one came out.
Rita Ingersoll says
I just finished reading A Spicetown Mystery, book 1. It was a fun romp in a small town. The mayor and police chief are a force to be reckoned with. It was a break from the normal murder cozies I read.Sherri Richey is a write of whit.
Ellie T says
Just finished The Shaman’s Secret by Rich Curtin. It’s the seventh in the Manny Rivera series. All set in the area around Moab, Utah, the series offers elements of archeology, geology, environmental issues, nature, Indian lore, the Old West. I like envisioning the canyons and cliffs of Arches and Canyonlands NPs with Manny sleuthing around in the back country. The Shaman’s Secret combines Big Horn poaching and hidden treasure left in a cave. For fans of Tony Hillerman or Nevada Barr, these cozies are a must.
I’ve been having trouble finding something new to get into. So, I’ve started rereading several series that I like.
Nero Wolfe – And Be a Villian, Black Orchids, and Champagne for One
Dorothy Gilman – Unexpected Voyage and Mrs. Pollifax series
Jessica Fletcher – Murder She Wrote series
New ones to me:
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (touted to be the first ever full length mystery) It was an excellent read, especially the way it was written. The main narrater changes every few chapters, to give you a different look at a scene or different places that others were absent from. I only wish I could forget it, and read it for the first time again.
The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah…a new Hercule Poirot, as Sophie Hannah has taken over writting for Agatha Christie. It’s not so well done that I forget it wasn’t a Christie, but Hannah does a very good job with the character and writting, that at least there are new Poirot books.
Girl on the Run by Hillary Waugh…an interesting read. It had action, suspence, intrigue, and of course, a mystery.
Pure Poison by Hillary Waugh…this book of his was less action and suspence, but a lot more focus on the mystery slowly unravelling. Another great read. My only disappointmet is that he wrote more than 45 books, but my library only had these two.
I’ve read many more this month, but either they weren’t my cup of tea ( a lot of the newer ones I’ve read focused a bit much on sexual matters for my taste.), or I’ve forgotten them.
Paula Catherine says
Elizabeth Craig’s Myrtle Clover is hilarious. Her “cooking skills” are well known. She is 80 years old, with a sharp mind and a wit to match. She has a long suffering son, Red, who lives across the street with his family. She torments Red with her vast collection of garden gnomes. She adores her daughter in law and grandson and seems to live to keep her son on his dectecting toes as he is a policeman. She has a platonic gentleman friend who she annoys on a daily basis. It is really a laugh out loud series.
I also read a book by Jane Healey called The Beantown Girls. It is technically not a cozy Mystery. However it is the story of three young women from Boston during WW2. They leave their homes to work for the Red Cross working in the Red Cross CupMobiles. Their jobs would be to work at the front lines bringing coffee, make fresh doughnuts and good will to the soldiers in England and France. I never knew about this. It is not easy, one has ro drive the huge vehicle, they have to change tires, fill with fuel, and generally take care of anything related fo it. They also support the troupes. One of the women, Fiona, has a fiancée (Danny) who is now reported missing and she feels she may have a chance to find out what has happened to him. The mystery is what has happened to Danny. During this journey the friends learn about themselves. I actually read it twice.
I just finished LIVE AND LET CHAI, the first Seaside Cafe mystery by Bree Baker. I haven’t seen her on your lists yet, but I think she will be soon. Everly Swan returns to her small hometown, Charm, and opens a tea shop using the tea recipes handed down from her grandmother. 2 not-quite wacky great-aunts, a cat who has adopted the house, and may or may not consent to being adopted herself, a 21st century town grapevine/blog, a handsome detective, and a best friend who owns a bookstore (my kind of best friend!), neighbors who have known her all her life. And she keeps the story moving. It was a one-day read for me, and I’m looking forward to #2.
I followed last month recommendation and started reading Patricia Moyes. But I use the print format. I started with the second – The Sunken Sailor – which was more readily available from the library. There is a publishing house: Felony and Mayhem Press that republish older books that deserve a second change. Detective Henry Tibbet and wife Emmy were invited to a two weeks vacation sailing with friends. The beginning was testing my patience with details of sails, and knots, and all parts of a boat. But the story developed soon. we are introduced to the various characters; visitors and locals and the unique community by the river. I then read the first one – Dead Men don’t ski which is very different, but still an unusual local – ski resort in Italy – where the characters, again, local and visitors, and the unique character of the village play a role. I like the format that Agatha Chrisite has used, for the detective at the end to explain the details and how he detected. The third book is already waiting for me.
S Fortney says
I enjoyed Catherine Lloyd’s Death Comes to Bath. I liked that both Lucy and her husband were investigating the murder. The murdered man’s family were mostly horrible so there were a lot of suspects. Both Lucy and her family had some changes in their life. Since I was in Bath once, I recognized some of the places.
Jenna Grinstead says
I just finished the third book in the Merry March series? Eileen Curley Hammond, Murder so Heartless. I love Merry’s small town, where she is an insurance agent and single mom, whose dark past in the form of her cheating ex-husband can’t seem to let her go. To protect the people she loves she has to solve a Murder here and there— all while cooking fabulous meals and learning how to move on in her life.
I can’t say enough about how fun these books are and the mystery in this third one just keeps you at the edge of your seat.
Eileen Curley Hammond says
Thanks for reading book 3. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Jane Barber says
I just recently finished a cozy Mystery written be Dale Mayer, titled Arsenic in the Azaleas. I read it on kindle but I checked and it is also in paperback, I really enjoyed it. It was well written and had a lot of twists and turns, and even some comedy! I highly recommend this book, the next in the series is Bones in the Begonias, I am going to get it on my kindle but it also available in paperback on Amazon.
Barb E says
I liked The Gun Also Rises by Sherry Harris. Action, twists, a heroine you’d like to know and smooth reading. Part of “who dunnit” was surprising.
Another of my favorites this month was Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly. New series – House-flipper Mystery. Good plot, good characters, every bit as enjoyable as her other series – Paw Enforcement and Tara Halloway.
And my last suggestion for a good book is Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen. Not exactly a cozy maybe. It is a stand alone set around World War I. All of her books are good – Molly Murphy, Royal Spyness, and Constable Evans.
I missed the last couple months of book recommendations. I won’t go back to December, but I’d like to include a book I read in January.
The Whispered Word (The Secret, Book & Scone Society Mystery series by Ellery Adams): This is the second book in the series, and as with the first, I was wrapped-up in the story from start to finish. The characters are rich and complex, as is the storyline. There is a mystery within a mystery – the identity of a newcomer in town may or may not be connected to the murder that takes place. It’s all woven together beautifully with a balanced intricacy – the story is intriguing and complex without being overladen by needless tangents.
The Walking Bread (Bread Shop Mystery series by Winnie Archer): This is the third installment in the series. The main character, Winnie Archer, is a photographer and works at a local bakery (that offers primarily bread). This particular book’s storyline centers around an annual art car show. When a body is found in one of the cars, Winnie’s brother becomes the main suspect. I was surprised by who the killer turned out to be (in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have been, but I’m glad I was…I think often, it’s better to be surprised when reading mysteries than being able to figure it out).
Gown with the Wind (Wedding Planner Mystery series by Stephanie Blackmoore): This is the fourth book in the series. I like the characters and humor of this series. The main character, Mallory Shepard, is a former lawyer who is now co-owner of a bed & breakfast and wedding planning business with her sister, Rachel. There has been an on-going story from the start of the series involving Mallory’s cheating fiancé turned ex-fiance and his current fiancé. In this book, they are getting married, and Mallory is all too happy to plan the wedding at the B&B and get them out of her hair once and for all. But before she can do that, she has to help solve a murder – which is quite the task, since this book is filled with so many shady characters.
Violet Tendencies (Rose City Mystery series by Kate Dyer-Seeley): This is the second book in the series. I just finished this one, and like the first book in the series, it was a page-turner from start to finish. The storyline kept me riveted, including the endless line of murder suspects. I wasn’t really surprised by who the murderer was, but I also wasn’t entirely sure either. With so many possibilities, there was always room for doubt. This is a great series, and I look forward to the next installment.
Traci P says
Wanted to give a shout out to Amanda Stevens paranormal ‘Graveyard Queen’ series. I haven’t read her other books, but this series was excellent.
A great ghost themed series is ‘Haunting Danielle’ by Bobbie Holmes. Danielle, who has been able to see and communicate with ghosts since childhood, inherits a beautiful mansion on the coast of Oregon to find it is haunted by it’s first owner. Very fun and lighthearted mystery series of at least 20 books. I listen to audiobooks and the first 15 have been released. Was looking for the list on your site to find they weren’t here! Highly recommend these books to all.
Liz Hunter says
I love this series, have read them all, waiting for the next one, which is already up for pre-order.
Tracy J says
I could not agree more. I LOVE this series. They are not scary and make me laugh out loud. I love the humour in them. I’m trying to get the author on my radio show. I think that might scare me more than the ghosts in the book! :D. Seriously, this is the best cozy mystery series bar none in my humble opinion.