We’re just about at the end of January, 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 Elizabeth Peters’s Amelia Peabody 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 January? 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 January 2022 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Isabella Alan (aka Amanda Flower): Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series
Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley): Sloan Krause Mystery Series
Mary Angela: Happy Camper Mystery Series (first entry Open for Murder)
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey): A Friend For Hire Mystery Series
Leslie Budewitz: Spice Shop Mystery Series
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Jane K. Cleland: Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery Series
Cate Conte (aka Liz Mugavero): Full Moon Mystery Series
Cleo Coyle (aka Alice Kimberly): Coffeehouse Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Paws & Claws Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery Series
Peggy Ehrhart: Knit & Nibble Mystery Series
Jessica Ellicott (aka Jessie Crockett & Jessica Estevao): Beryl and Edwina Mystery Series
Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan): Magical Bookshop Mystery Series AND Magical Bookshop Mystery Series
Kerry Greenwood: Corinna Chapman Mystery Series
Lena Gregory: All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery Series
Miranda James (aka Dean James, Jimmie Ruth Evans, & Honor Hartman): Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series
Libby Klein: Poppy McAllister Mystery Series
Rita Lakin: Gladdy Gold Mystery Series
Elizabeth Logan (aka Camille Minichino, Ada Madison, Margaret Grace, & Jean Flowers): Alaskan Diner Mystery Series
Katherine Hall Page: Faith Fairchild Mystery Series
Anne Perry: Charlotte & Thomas Pitt Mystery Series
Elizabeth Peters (aka Barbara Michaels & Barbara Mertz): Amelia Peabody Mystery Series
Hannah Reed (aka Deb Baker): Scottish Highlands 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.
Steve K. says
Just finished Cate Conte’s Witch Hunt. A great start to this new series. If you like paranormal cozies you will love this one. Lots of surprises and hints at future conflicts to come.
Maria stewart says
Absolutely adore all the Elizabeth Peters books, cannot go wrong reading any of them. I may have to reread them again, it’s been awhile. I also loved the series she wrote as Barbara Michaels set in the Virginia and D.C. area, since I was living there and studying Archaeology at George Mason U. at the time it was very immersive and fun.
Cheryl M says
I have gotten hooked on e-historical cozy mysteries this month, binge reading like crazy, one author, one series at a time until I’ve read them all! Some of my favorites: Kitty Worthington Mysteries by Amalia Villalba, Lady Arianna Regency Mysteries by Andrea Penrose, & Lady Eleanor Swift Mysteries by Verity Bright. These are light & fun & the characters are great. My only complaint is that the books are too short. In hard copy world I read mysteries, historical fiction, fantasy & sci-fi. I love books 500-1000 pages long, or longer! I don’t expect cozies to be this long, but 200+ pages would be nice.
Enjoying Jessica Ellicott’s Beryl and Elvira books. Quirky and fun. Love all of the characters.
Reading Paige Shelton’s Alaska Wild series: not cozy but very good reads.
Lady Julia Grey series ! First book in the series is Silent in the Grave (by Deanna Raybourn.) How I wish I could read them again for the first time. Victorian mystery with deliciously quirky characters and family. I also love Lost Among the Living which is a paranormal mystery so borderline cozy but I loved it.
Magical Bookshop Mystery Series by Amanda Flower
I read the third book in the series, “Murders and Metaphors”. The series takes place in the Niagara region of NY state in the fictional village of Cascade Springs, where Violet Waverly is the current caretaker of a magical tree in her and her grandmother Daisy’s magical bookshop…a responsibility that’s been handed down through generations of females in her family. This time around it’s ice wine festival for the local wineries…one of which is hosting a book signing by Charming Books for a local author. When the author is found dead in the vineyard, her sister, who also happens to be Violet’s friend, is the main suspect. Violet works to clear her friend with help from clues revealed by the bookshop.
Amanda Flower writes so many series that I love, and this one is no exception! It includes many qualities that I enjoy in a cozy mystery…a likeable main character, a good group of likeable supporting characters, amusing/endearing pets/animals, a great setting, and magical elements.
Paw & Claws Mystery Series by Krista Davis
This month, I read book 3, “Murder Most Howl”. The series takes place in the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia where Holly Miller and her grandmother run the Sugar Maple Inn. In this installment, the town is hosting a murder mystery weekend in an effort to boost tourism during the slow season (January). When Holly discovers a real dead body, she works to help solve the murder while the mystery weekend participants try to piece together their clues to the game’s murder. And while all of this is going on, Holly is also in charge on her own, since her Oma is on vacation (with her friend Rose).
This is a great series for animal lovers! There are a lot of pets…almost every character has a pet. And being a pet-friendly town, pets are welcome just about everywhere.
Amish Quilt Shop Mystery Series by Isabella Alan
I read the first book, “Murder, Plain and Simple”. Angie Braddock (along with her adorable French bulldog, Oliver) moves from Dallas, Texas to the predominantly Amish community of Rolling Brook, Ohio to run the quilt shop left to her by her aunt. The owner of the business next door is unhappy that an Englischer is running an Amish business, and claims that he is the rightful owner of the property…and Angie cannot find the deed necessary to prove she’s the owner. When he is found murdered in the quilt shop’s storeroom, Angie becomes the prime suspect.
This is the third Amish series I’ve read by Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan), and I find them all very enjoyable! I love the interactions between the Amish and Englischers… particularly the friendships. There is a prequel novella in this series, “Plainly Murder” that I recommend as well. It takes place about six months prior, before Angie’s Aunt Eleanor passes, so readers have a chance to get to know the character.
Alaskan Diner Mystery Series by Elizabeth Logan
I read the first book, “Mousse and Murder”.1 This series takes place in Elkview, Alaska where Charlotte “Charlie” Cooke has been handed the reins of her mothers diner, The Bear Claw. After her head chef storms out after a disagreement, he is found dead, and Charlie becomes determined to find out who killed him.
This series is different from a lot of cozies, in that law enforcement actually includes not only Charlie in the investigation, but three others as well. There is a semi-logical explanation given for this. Overall, I thought this was a very good introduction to the series, will fleshed-out characters and a good mystery. Charlie’s cat, Benny (short for Eggs Benedict), is adorable!
Bibliophile Mystery Series by Kate Carlisle
This is one of the longer series on my TBR, that I want to start this year. I read the first installment, “Homicide in Hardcover”. In this series, Brooklyn Wainwright is a rare book restoration expert in San Francisco. When her colleague and mentor is murdered, Brooklyn finds herself entangled in the aftermath.
This book kept me engaged from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down…a true page turner! Brooklyn is a likeable heroine, and so are her best friend, and her budding love interest. There was a lot of intrigue, a good dose of humor, and an eclectic group of characters. I thought this was just a tad on the edgy side for a cozy (including a fair amount of swearing), but I didn’t mind that at all. I just wanted to put that out there though, because I know some prefer their cozies “clean”. I am looking forward to reading more from this series!
Coffeehouse Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle
I read “On What Grounds”, the first book of the series, which takes place in New York City, where Clare Cosi runs Village Blend. In this installment, the coffeehouse’s assistant manager is found unconscious at the bottom of the Village Blend’s basement stairwell. The investigation concludes that it was an accidental fall, but Clare knows in her gut that it was an intentional act, and sets out to prove it.
This is another edgy cozy. I thought the book was well-written, and it held my interest from the beginning to the end. I like the core characters, and look forward to reading more about them. I thought the relationship between Clare and her ex-husband to be particularly interesting. The rest of the series that’s been released so far is sitting on my TBR, and I’m eager to start the next one!
Poppy McAllister Mystery Series by Libby Klein
This series came highly recommended to me, so I read the first book, “Class Reunions Are Murder”. As the name suggests, this series’ main character is Poppy McAllister, a 42 year old recent widow. In the first book, her best friend convinces her to return to her hometown of Cape May, New Jersey to attend their 25 year high school reunion. During the reunion, they discover that the queen of mean from their school days hasn’t changed at all. When she is found dead in the hallway outside of Poppy’s old locker, and Poppy is unfortunate enough to discover the body, she becomes the prime suspect.
This series is filled with humor (amidst some sad moments)…the situations Poppy finds herself in and her reactions to them are amusing and often relatable. Adding to the fray are an eccentric aunt and possibly an even more eccentric cat. A group of gal pals and two likeable, potential love interests round out the core group of characters. I look forward to reading the next book!
WOW! What a terrific post, Melanie.
I give a ‘hardy’ second to most of Melanie’s recommendations. Our reading tastes must be very similar.
In addition, I think Krista Davis’s Paws and Claws series is a top notch mystery series in this genre. Sooo good.
As is, Kate Carlisle’s Bibliography series. Excellently written with wonderful and unique characters, in addition to terrific interactions/dialogue. ALWAYS a good mystery story.
Elizabeth Logan is a pseudonym for the highly intelligent author Camille Minichino who has MULTIPLE pseudonyms. PLUS several series worth reading.
Melanie, be sure to take note of my post regarding Amanda Flower’s Magical Tree series.
I really enjoyed the first book in Abby Collette’s biscuits and books mystery series Body and Soul Food and also Raquel v Reyes’ Mango,Mambo, and Murder the first book in her Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series
Just finished Three Book Problem by Vicki Delaney
I read the second book in “A Jackson Hole Moose’s Bakery Not So Cozy Mystery” series “Hot Springs Murder” by Sue Pepper. It also comes with a free bonus Valentine’s short story.
I really enjoyed it, it does have some swearing and sex (the no so cozy part per the author), which I don’t mind. It’s for such a unique cast of diverse characters set in Jackson Hole, with some social and environmental issues as part of the mystery. I also love the characters and setting, it’s familiar to me living in a tourist town in the west. Highly recommend.
Earthly Delights, by Kerry Greenwood, is the first in a series featuring baker Corinna Chapman who lives in an apartment building with quirky characters. She finds a nearly dead junkie in the alley behind her bakery, receives some threatening notes, and befriends a hunky guy with no discernable means of support. Corinna also has a cat and some great suggestions for baking bread.
Diane LaGrone says
Lady Violet series by Beth Byers. Short books but great settings, plots, and CHARACTERS! I want to hang out with them.
Sally Fortney says
I read Absence of Mallets by Kate Carlisle. I liked the little houses for veterans concept and how Shannon was teaching a class for women to learn carpentry. Also enjoyed seeing her sister more.
A Plus One for Murder by Laura Bradford had a new twist of a friend for hire. Murder at the Mansions was a British historical mystery that I enjoyed.
Becky McF. says
What a timely post! For years I have had Elizabeth Peters on my TBR list and this month my husband and I listened to 2 unabridged audiobooks in the Amelia Peabody series–book 1 and book 6. We both loved the stories and the outstanding reading Barbara Rosenblat!We plan on listening to more on future road trips!
Becky King says
I have been binge reading Jane Cleland’s Josie Prescott antique mystery series. I am enjoying this because Josie is smart in her search for answers about antiques and mysteries. Often there are several bundled into the story. Josie unravels them with the help of her knowledgeable staff and careful planning alongside the local police chief. The characters have developed through the series and help the plot move forward. I have also learned a lot about antiques. This series is well worth the read. Enjoy!
Rita McDonnell says
I have found the following who are new to me:
Kathleen McKee – Aspen Notch Mystery Series- a newly married couple who move when husband takes over as interim police chief and she opens a garden store on their property and the mysteries flow from there. At the present it is a 6 book series
T E Kinsey – Lady Hardcastle Mystery – set in 1908 (England)- a widow with a secret past and her Maid are the sleuths in this 7 soon to be 8 book series.
Sonia Parin – Evie Parker Mystery – set in 1920 England – Evie is an American who married an English Count and is now a widow and a Countess. She teams with her chauffeur, mother and grandmother in law and other household members to solve the mysteries.
Miriam GP says
I’m really enjoying Off Kilter, by Hannah Reed. The descriptions of the Scottish Highlands are lovely, and the dialogue flows nicely. Looking forward to the second book in the series.
Vicki G says
Rita Lakin the Gladdy Gold mysteries. For anyone who loves the Golden Girls Sitcom. Gladdy Gold is a senior in a Senior Citizen Condo which to me, she reminds me of Dorothy (Bea Arthur) and a small group of friends who all live in the same community and started a private investigation business. I cannot even describe the delight these books are. And of course, they are the ones who always solve the mystery.
Rob J says
It’s hard to say. I’ve read several and have many “favorites” for different reasons.
Miranda James: Cat in the Stacks Charlie Harris and Diesel
Leslie Budewicz: Seattle Spice Pepper Reese and Arf
Ellie Alexander: Leavenworth Beer Brewers: Sloan Krause
Anne Perry: Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series
Peggy Ehrhart: Knit and Nibble Pamela Patterson
just to name a few. So as you can see, I have a hard time picking
I have just recently discovered Katherine Hall Page and my library system has them thus far. (I’ve started reading them in order.)
I too am a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters Ameilia Peabody books. I have collected them all and about yearly read them through from first to last.
susan szymanski says
I had read all the Katherine Page Hall books. Very enjoyable. I think she has stopped writing this series unfortunately.
January Recommendations – 2022
Open for Murder – Mary Angela
IF you told me I’d select a book set in SD with a camping theme, I would’ve said, “HUH?” I think someone on this site recommended the book, so I thought I’d try it to see if I liked it. I do.
This author has a talent for descriptive writing. I’ve been to the Black Hills a few times and she depicts it so vividly. Zo Jones manages a tourist gift shop, “Happy Camper”, in Spirit Canyon – a small SD community. She is a former reporter. Her childhood friend, Beth, has moved back to town with her husband and children to reopen a family hotel. The owner of a nearby competing lodge is staying at the hotel. She is murdered at the opening on Memorial weekend. Beth is a suspect.
The main characters are especially appealing because there is depth to their backgrounds which the author nicely portrays. There is also wit and humor with their interactions. The mystery is very good with a complicated and surprising ending.
There is some confusion at the beginning of the story as a person is mentioned ( a few times) without any background. So you don’t know who she is until several chapters later.
Scone Cold Killer – Lena Gregory
This is another series which was recommended at this site that I decided to try. I’m glad I did. Gia Morelli moves to a small Florida community (from NYC) to open an All Day Breakfast Café. She does this with the help of her best friend (Savannah).
Unbeknownst to Gia her ex-husband is in town. He is found murdered in a dumpster behind her café. Since he was found guilty of scams and schemes, there’s a long list of suspects. Gia and Savannah are determined to find out ‘whodunit’. There are people from her husband’s past who believe Gia helped her husband with these schemes. Her life is threatened, too.
Gia decides to adopt a dog (Thor) for protection. He has a prominent role in the story.
Because of the uniqueness of the various personalities this story becomes a fun read from that standpoint. The mystery is well-paced. The ending is a huge surprise. I kind of guessed correctly at who the culprit was…………but had no idea as to the whys and wherefores. So at best, it really was just a guess.
I’m looking forward to the second book in the series, which I’ve ordered.
Crimes and Covers – Amanda Flower
No one had to tell me about this author. I’ve been reading her books for a dozen years. I’m not much of ‘woo-woo’ reader, so normally don’t pick up books with ‘magical’ in the title. Both of Flower’s ‘magical’ series are delightful reads. This book is the 5th book in her Magical Bookshop Mystery series.
Violet Waverly manages the Charming Books Bookstore in a small community near Niagara Falls. The theme of this particular book is Thoreau. A woman comes into the bookstore with a signed first edition copy of Walden’s Pond. She tries to sell it to Violet, but without the provenance Violet is leery.
Violet and chief of police David Rainwater are getting married in a few days. The wedding takes place, but before the reception this lady is found in the river. To say this story is convoluted would be an understatement. So many twists, turns, and side stories. It’s easy to follow, though, and difficult to put down. Love the characters and quirky Grandmother Daisy! The final chapter has a pleasant surprise.
On a SAD note: The following is a statement on Flower’s web page:
Crimes and Covers
The Final Novel in the Magical Bookshop Mysteries
Susy S says
It is so sad to see this series end. It was the first books of hers I read, and now I read all of them as the come out. She has other series I really enjoy, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart.
Hi MJ…I was saddened to see that in Amanda Flower’s latest newsletter. Now I want to savor the last two books.
This series is set in my neck of the woods…I love in the Buffalo-Niagara region of Western New York. 🙂
I have joined the ranks of the retired! I held on to certain favorite series to reread at my leisure. I started that this month with Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn Chee series. I’ve read the first two and since it has been about 25 years since I read them originally, I don’t remember them at all. I’ve also discovered a writer Steve Higgs who writes a series about a retire detective taking a culinary tour through England to learn to cook all his favorites. (I loved the Gourmet Detective thanks Rob, I think you referred me to that series) I wanted something similar, this fits the bill. Throw in a visit to Joan Hess’ Magody and it’s been a wonderful reading month. I have the last Magody, Merry Wives of Magody on my nightstand. I have mixed emotions since I know this is the last in the series. It’s hard when your well loved characters say good bye. Happy Reading everyone.
I’m so glad I found this blog and list of series. Learning so many new great authors/series. Love how you have this site categorized in different ways; it is so easy to navigate. Since I lived in England and traveled to Scotland and Ireland I love reading any series centered there. Was so sad to hear about Sheila Connolly’s passing as she was a favorite author of mine.
I’m currently reading The Corgi Case Files by Jeffrey Poole and love Sherlock and Watson! Also reading Bewitched by Chocolate by HY Hanna which is set in The Cotswold in England. I absolutely love anything by Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune mysteries and all the Miss Fortune World offshoots particularly John Stephen. Another favorite author is Kathi Daley; I’ve read all her series and avidly wait for the next installment.
Susy S says
What are the Miss Fortune World Offshoots? I love the series, but am not familiar with these others.
susan szymanski says
I have been reading the Jeanne Dams series. Set in England, it is about a female sleuth who is in her 60″s. I can relate to her and the settings are great. She is now one of my favorite authors. I believe she also has a new series coming out soon.
Chris N says
I’m listening to Kate Carlisle’s books. I find the reader’s voice very soothing.
Reading Ellie Alexander’s books – having spent time in Ashland and Leavenworth I can picture the settings.
Diana M Wiener says
I really love the Ellie Alexander books.
I looked this book out after reading your recommendation and I enjoyed it so much! Thank you 🙂
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Charlotte, I’m glad that the recommendations are helping you pick out books!