We’re just about at the end of July, 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 Eva Gates’s Lighthouse Library 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 July? 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 July 2020 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Ellery Adams (aka J. B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley, & 1/2 of Lucy Arlington): Book Retreat Mystery Series
Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley): Bakeshop Mystery Series
David Bishop: Rick Carnes Mystery Series (first entry A Promise Kept)
Jacklyn Brady (aka Sherry Lewis & Sammi Carter): Piece of Cake Mystery Series
Julia Buckley: Hungarian Tea House Mystery Series
Eve Calder: Cookie House Mystery Series (first entry And Then There Were Crumbs)
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell): Orchard Mystery Series
Cleo Coyle (aka Alice Kimberly): Coffeehouse Mystery Series
Elizabeth Daly: Henry Gamadge Mystery Series
Diane Mott Davidson: Goldy Bear Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Mystery Series
Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell & Tace Baker): Country Store Mystery Series
Carola Dunn: Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Series
Lauren Elliot: Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery Series (first entry Murder by the Book)
Alex Erickson: Bookstore Cafe Mystery Series (first entry Death by Coffee)
Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan): Magical Bookshop Mystery Series AND Magical Garden Mystery Series
Eva Gates: Lighthouse Library Mystery Series
Ann Granger: Cambell and Carter Mystery Series
Elly Griffiths: Ruth Galloway Mystery Series (first entry The Crossing Places)
H Y Hanna: Oxford Tearoom Mystery Series (first entry A Scone to Die For)
Libby Klein: Poppy McAllister Mystery Series
Elizabeth Logan (aka Jean Flowers, Camille Minichino, Margaret Grace, & Ada Madison): Mousse and Murder
Karen MacInerney: Snug Harbor Mystery Series
Carlene O’Connor: Irish Village Mystery Series
Spencer Quinn (aka Peter Abrahams): Chet and Bernie Mystery Series
Ann B. Ross: Miss Julia Mystery Series
Sarah Stewart Taylor: The Mountains Wild
Kirsten Weiss: Pie Town 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.
The book I enjoyed this month had all the elements of a good cozy:
-small town setting
-heroine looking for a new start in a new town
-a dog (who belongs to the whole town)
-a twist at the end
-most importantly, no romance in this story
And Then There Were Crumbs by Eve Calder, the first book in the series, Cookie House Mystery. I liked it so much I read the second book, Sugar and Vice. I think this could be a great series.
My two favorite cozy authors are Jacklyn Brady (piece of cake mysteries) and Cleo Coyle ( Coffeehouse mysteries and Haunted Bookshop mysteries). I also enjoy E.J. Cooperman and Laura Childs. These are just recommendations because evebobody has they’re own tastes.
I’m glad to read a the positive review here on this series. I stumbled across these books on Amazon recently. The theme/setting appealed to me, and the reviews there seemed mostly positive, so I bought both books. They’re currently on my TBR pile…looking forward to reading them.
I have been reading Alex Erickson cozy books. They are very good and keep you wanting to turn the page.
Waiting for next one in October.
Paula Catherine says
This past month I read the Country Store series by Maddie Day.
Robbie Jordan is a young chef who moves to Indiana from California to buy a country store, adds a breakfast and lunch dining room as well as improving the stores’ collection of vintage pans and kitchen items. It is becoming quite successful. She has a very small staff, lives above her store and has a passion for cycling.
Even in her patrons are interesting. I enjoyed the series as the characters are believable, entertaining but not made to look like fools.(I hate that!). As I said Robbie is a chef and there are terrific recipes at the end of each book. Look for the Orange Scone recipe in Nacho Average Murder , delicious!
For the crafters in the group I would recommend the Merry and Bright handcrafter series written by Cristina Freeburn. Merry winters is an empty nester, divorced with a furry pet, no not a dog or cat. She and her crafting partner make and sell all kinds of Christmas crafts. To take her crafts on the road she buys a RV from her former husband’s daughter. On the maiden RV voyage trouble ensues. It is a fun series with a variety of interesting characters.
The book covers are whimsical and very festive.
I have read all these books and waiting for new one in September. Also read the one takes place in Cape Cod. It is a new series.
David Bishop says
I recently read A Promise Kept, a Rick Carnes Cozy Mystery. It was released in mid-June. On Amazon, it has 15 reviews with an average of 4.8 stars.
Susy S says
I am working on the Country store series myself. July was a good month, as I read 31 books, including three from this series.
I also read several of the Miss Fortune series by Jana Deleon – these book had me laughing out loud, especially at the Sinful Ladies Society. I also read several by Joanna Carl, Joanne Fluke, Livia J Washburn, Lucy Burdette and rose PRessey.
This month was all about escapism for me. I don’t cook much and I certainly don’t make chocolates, but even reading the recipes was fun, though I don’t imagine I will make any of them.
Joanne Conner says
I love, love, love the Miss Julia books by Ann B. Ross. I just discovered Miss Julia and the cast of authentic, complex, and hilarious characters who live in Abbottsville, N.C. If you love language, and nuanced social observation I recommend this series.
Danielle Nabozny says
The orchard series by Sheila Connolly.
Have read and own all books in this series love them and the characters.
I read Carola Dunn’s Anthem for Doomed Youth. There are two parallel stories that, at the end, converge. One is about Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher and his team searching for the murderer of three dead bodies, shot within several months apart, all buried in trenches in a forest outside London. Since one of the victims is identified as “Colonel,” Daisy Dalrymple, before leaving town, wonders whether the three were in the war together. The investigation does describe the horrors of the War (WWI, that is), of the misery in the trenches and of the bullying and acquiesce by officers.
Daisy and two of her friends are going out of town for “Sport Day” at the boarding school where all their daughters are. There, too, Daisy is stumbles upon a body and is trying to solve this murder while keeping the young girls out of the investigation.
But what is interesting, the school is a real one: Friends’ School, Saffron Walden, run by and according to the Quakers’ teaching, is a co-ed, and the author, Carola Dunn herself attended it. It closed in 2017.
One more interesting point: Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series started in 1994 and the most recent one is from 2018 – according to this site. And I am sure she has never thought how timely the pandemic of 1918 would be these days. But the pandemic has been an important event in the lives of the two heroes – Daisy and Detective Alec Fletcher. Daisy’s brother was killed in the War and shortly after the end her father died in the pandemic. Being relatively young he did not have a will and, as we’ve learned from Downton Abbey, the estate and title had to go the next male heir, a distant cousin, in this story. Her mother had to move to a smaller house and Daisy, even though was welcomed to stay at her childhood home, chose to go out and start making a living as a writer. This is how she met Scotland Yard detective Alec Fletcher who is a widower as a result of the same pandemic.
I also enjoyed Elizabeth Daly’s Night Walk. A small village in Connecticut that used to be home for aristocrats and their stables. The servants, upon retirements, were given small cottages where their descendants continue to live. There are also several manors, some converted to boarding and spa places. A quiet place where no one ever locks the doors. One night there is a prowler who tries several doors in several houses and the night walk ends with a murder. Henry Gamadge is asked by a lodger to look into the event. I am always impressed by Daly’s story that, once is solved, makes so much sense.
I just finished “The Lantern Man” by Elly Griffiths, the latest Ruth Galloway mystery. All our favorite characters are there, even though Ruth has moved to Cambridge to teach and live with Frank. Nelson has a 2 year old son, Georgie, and domestically things seem fine. A case involving the murder of two women seems solved until the murderer asks to speak to Ruth from prison. He tells her where two more bodies can be found, and are there more? Cathbad says he’s not guilty, but who is? It’s a solid procedural with the usual twists and turns, along with the dilemmas of Ruth’s personal life. Very enjoyable.
I also read the latest Chet and Bernie mystery, “Of Mutts and Men,” by Spencer Quinn. Chet, the narrator, rambles on and off the topic as usual but it’s amusing nonetheless. A good summer read.
Sarah Stewart Taylor’s new stand-alone, “The Mountains Wild,” is set in Ireland where a successful New York detective revisits the disappearance of her cousin 23 years before. New information has come available, so Maggie returns and retraces her cousin’s steps with the help of local police. I hope this is the beginning of a new series.
July Recommendations – 2020
First of all, I’d like to comment on something I noticed with a couple of series I read. The authors have changed publishers, so if you pick up the latest release there may be only a few books listed of a long series. I noticed this with Sally Goldenbaum’s Seaside Knitter’s series and with Krista Davis’s Diva series. If you want to read the series from book one then it’s important that you look at a complete list as Danna details on the cozy mystery site where the authors are listed (alphabetically) with a complete book list.
I mention this because my first book on this month’s list is………
Diva Spices It Up — Krista Davis
This series is a favorite on this blog. In fact, I think this book was mentioned recently. As with any series some stories are better than others. I felt this 13th book in the series is one of the best.
Set in a VA historical district, this series features ‘diva’ Sophie Winston, an events planner. Sophie decides to help a congressman’s wife write a cookbook when the first employee (Abby) suddenly quits. A body is found in Abby’s home.
The main characters are back, plus Davis introduces several new characters with many distinct personalities. As Sophie and ‘friends’ delve into this murder, many of the new characters come under suspicion for one reason or other. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of these characters from ages 15 to 80.
I have to point out the smoothness of this author’s writing. The flow is so important and Davis does it with expertise. With so MANY plot twists, the reader stays glued to the pages. There are also interesting story lines intertwined to keep it compelling.
There’s murder(s), a beating, and an old kidnapping to keep the reader interested.
I said this in my recommendation in her last book, and I’ll say it again this time. I just wish Davis would develop a romantic story line for Sophie. It’s nothing, nada, nil!
I noticed a tiny error on page 184. Mars says ‘whoever killed Charlene………”. Charlene was not killed, she is in the hospital. He meant to say, “whoever killed xxx (I won’t reveal the name here)……….”
This is an enjoyable, yet quite complex story. It’s best to start with book one to follow the interactions of the characters as they progress through the series.
Quiche and the Dead — Kirsten Weiss
Val Harris owns the ‘Pie Town’ restaurant in this CA coastal community. She moved here with her fiancé. AND, as true to the cozy formula……………the wedding plans fizzled because of an affair he had with another woman. (Yawn!)
A favorite regular customer was poisoned. At first it was suspected that a quiche Val made was the cause. Charlene (an older and quite eccentric character) is Val’s crust maker. The two of them embark on an endeavor to solve this murder with Charlene definitely the instigator. The dynamic between these two characters is immensely entertaining.
This is a very quick moving book, to the point that your head may begin spinning (I mean this in a good way) to keep up with all the action. There are several laugh out loud scenes with the author writing quite witty dialogue.
I KNOW a series is a good one when I just can’t wait for the next book. Even before finishing this first book, I ordered the second one.
Mousse and Murder – Elizabeth Logan
OK……….let’s mention pseudonyms (as Danna did with Eva Gates). I think this author has the most pseudonyms of them all! I don’t mind a pseudonym if we know who the real author is. In this case, I was looking for the next book in the Postmistress series by Jean Flowers. So I went to Minichino’s website to check. Right there on the front page was an announcement of a new book (new series) by this author, using the pseudonym Elizabeth Logan.
On the author page in this book (Mousse and Murder) it just states that Logan is a pseudonym for a ‘longtime mystery writer’. At this point most readers wouldn’t know who it is. HOWEVER, I went on to ready the acknowledgements. Buried in the middle of this thank you list is one to her husband, her webmaster for minichino.com. AHA! At this point one can put 2 and 2 together!
Charley (Charlotte) Cooke leaves SF (her fiancée ran off with a coworker – cozy formula #1 – another yawn!) and opens a diner this small ‘touristy’ Alaskan community near the Denali forest. After an argument, her chef walks off the job and disappears. The mysterious background of this chef gives the story an intriguing international twist.
The characters are well developed and engaging. It’s amazing the sheriff doesn’t mind their interference into his investigation of a murder, even kiddingly ‘deputizing’ them.
This author is a professor with a PhD in physics. I find this fascinating for a cozy writer. It’s exactly why I like to know about an author. I’ve read several of her series. She always brings creativity and intelligence into her writing.
Prologue To Murder – Lauren Elliott
Still discussing author’s pseudonyms……
This author’s background secrecy is the type that baffles me. She’s in deep incognito. Why? The only statement on her author’s page in the book is ‘she liked Nancy Drew mysteries while growing up’. Huh? Mo other accomplishments?
She has nothing to say on an acknowledgement page. No friends or family to thank. No praise for an editor helping her to get her books published. Nothing, nada! I assume she accomplished this publishing feat without any help from others. Her facebook page states nothing personal, no pictures, no statements about family or friends. I suspect facebook is done by the publisher. She hasn’t even done any author signings. Both books I read were pre-pandemic (where one would think a book signing would be welcome).
One thing that is stated is this is her first published book. So she’s new to the author scene. On the other hand, she could be in the witness protection program (I’ve got a great imagination!), and is protecting her clandestine identity.
Now having stated my ‘rant’, I truly believe this is a talented writer. I thoroughly enjoyed both books. Especially since this is her first foray into writing books, her notable creative and imaginative story telling abilities becomes obvious.
Addie Greyborne is the main character. She returns to Greyborne Harbor, a community founded by her ancestors. In this book, the local librarian is found dead. A columnist for the local paper points a finger at Addie. Much town history is explored in the story, with discovery of previous warring family factions in the community.
The characters are well developed with much depth. Their interactions, with smart dialogue are the most intriguing part of the story. It’s well plotted with several twists and turns.
Addie is a widow who is just beginning to explore relationships. First with the police chief, brother of her best friend. Now a new doctor in town has entered into the picture, thus creating a possible interesting romantic situation in forthcoming books.
Aside from the author’s hush-hush identity, I think you’ll find this book as entertaining as I did. Since she’s a newly published author, I don’t have to wonder if there are other books she’s written which I may want to read. I’d like to encourage this new author to step forward and be proud of her work. It’s very good and there’s no need to remain ‘hidden’.
Janice G says
I just finished reading the third book in Kirsten Weiss’ Pie Town series – Pies Before Guys. A college professor is murdered after leaving a poetry slam at Pie Town. Val and Charlene get involved at the request of one of their staff who set up the poetry event. This book is as funny and entertaining as the two previous books with Charlene posting fake UFO pictures on the internet. I also like Charlene’s cat Frederick who is supposedly deaf and narcoleptic, spending his days draped around her neck like a fur stole.
I just read Karen MacInerney’s first book in her new Snug Harbour series….A Killer Ending. Excellent, cannot wait for a new title. I also enjoy her Gray Whale Inn series, and her Dewberry Farm series.
Also a big fan of Carlene O’Connor’s Irish Village series, and her new Home to Ireland series.
Just finishing Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lovers series. Excellent.
Also love Amanda Flowers Magical Bookshop series, and her Magical Garden series.
While we were locked down here in Canada, I read all of Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile series.
Janice G says
One of the best books that I’ve read so far this year is Death of a Wandering Wolf by Julia Buckley, the second book in this series. Hana shops at a sale in the home of a local artist, buying paintings and a wolf statue. She finds out that the artist who is Hungarian knows her mother and grandmother. When she meets up with her boyfriend, police detective Eric Wolf, he discovers something unsettling about the statue. They return to the sale and find that the artist has been murdered. This book further explores the physic abilities of Hana’s grandmother and possibly Hana’s own abilities. We also learn more about Erik’s family. The setting of the story in a town outside of Chicago with a large Hungarian community is an integral part of the story.
Community is also an important element in The Grim Reader by Kate Carlisle when Brooklyn and Derek go to Dharma for a book festival. A boorish newcomer to town is trying to insert himself into the festival committee, threatening Brooklyn’s mother in the process. At the end of the book the author has a list of questions as a discussion guide for book clubs. One question was if readers prefer books set in San Francisco or Dharma. What I liked about this book was that it was the best of both worlds – set in Dharma but with favorite San Francisco characters making an appearance.
The Oxford Tearoom Mysteries series is what introduced me to the world of cozies this summer. H.Y. Hanna is the author. A relatable heroine, a smart pet (cat in this case), beautiful quaint Cotswold town, a love triangle, and yummy British teatime fare. All the makings of a good cozy!
Linda Ray says
I have been reading the Goldy Schulz series about a small town caterer in the Denver area. The author is Diane Mott Davidson. The characters are entertaining and the plot builds nicely.
Susy S says
I read my first Goldie book and have been gathering several of them. I am holding off on reading them until I can get my hands on the first since I REALLY prefer to read books in order.
I like the characters and the small town sounds interesting.
Sally Fortney says
I read Nothing Bundt Trouble by Ellie Alexander. What was different about this book is that it was a prequel, focusing on Juliet’s father, who was already dead when the series started. It really developed the friendship between the detective who ends up marrying her mother and both her parents. Part plays out in Juliet’s time where the mystery is solved.
The Poppy McAllister series by Libby Klein is nothing short of magnificent. Best humorous cozies hands down.
I’m only recommending one book this month…”Death and Daisies”, the second release in Amanda Flower’s Magic Garden Mystery series.
I love cozies that have magical elements. The murder mystery kept me guessing. There is also an aspect of Fiona’s personal life that is unexpectedly revealed. This series a well-rounded, interesting cast of characters, as well as a beautiful, charming setting that is also a big mysterious.
Linda W. says
Just finished reading all 6 of the Book Retreat Mysteries by Ellery Adams. Found them because of The Cozy Mystery site! Thank you.
I felt like I was a kid again reading Nancy Drew. Just couldn’t put them down, and HAD to go right to the next one. Thank goodness I ordered them all at once after reading the 1st one: Murder in the Mystery Suite. Easy, but addictive read for these crazy times of staying in.
B. West says
I started reading Karen MacInerney’s new Seasside Cottage Books series’ first entry “Killer Ending” and really enjoyed it. I have read her other series, The Gray Whale Inn and Dewberry Farm. She also has a “Mother’s Day Out” series but there are only 3 books in this one. I would love more of these.
I’d like to thank the member of this blog who recommended “Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody”. This is really a fun read. I get the greates recommendations on this site! Thanks!
I recently read another Campbell and Carter novel in the Ann Granger series, which I enjoyed. A couple of new discoveries are: Dervla McTiernan and Jane Harper – both just a few works into very good series. Janie Bolitho’s series set in Cornwall is very good as well. I’ve just started a Martin Walker “Chief Bruno” novel that is set in the Dordogne Valley in France. The last author I’ll mention today is Verconica Black, who’s been out of print for years. Her Sister Joan mysteries are a treat.
Hello all I have been into historical cozy reads and have found a few that are very enjoyable:
A Glennon Normal School Historical books by R.A. Wallace
Dory Sparks mysteries by C. G. Oster
Lady Catherine Regency cozies by Leighann Dobbs and lastly
Discreet investigations of Lord and Lady Calaway by Issy Brooks
then also have been reading
Diane Xarissa who has 3 different sets of mysteries:
The Markham Sisters
Isle of Man Ghostly mysteries
Isle of Man Bessie Cubhon
Teaberry Farms Bed and Breakfast Cozy by R. A. Wallace there are around 24 books in this set.
THese all have been enjoyable. my husband was in the hospital for 5 weeks from May to June and you don’t realize how lonely it is without that companionship. All I did was read……a lot.
these 3 sets have many title The Bessie set starts with A going through to Z which is coming out this year.
also have been reading
Teaberry Farm Bed and Breakfast by
B. West says
So sorry to hear about your husband. Thanks for the recommendations. I’ve added them to the list and can’t wait to try them. I’m coming to the end of the Jane Jeffry series and looking for another series.
I hope your husband is feeling better. I wouldn’t necessarily call them cozies, but if you like historical mysteries, the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris is one of my favorites. I don’t know if you’ve read them but I just had to recommend them. Hope you don’t mind
I will put them on my list. Thank you
Dot W says
I retired 10 years ago after 43 years in education. Thirty-three of those years were as a K-12 Media Specialist (librarian). I have collected a 1000 or so books. I have both print and ebooks in my collection. Because it was hard to keep up with what I had read from the public library and what I owned I use an online program to catalog everything.
I have collected and read the following series:
Books by the Bay Mysteries, Ellery Adams (great character development)
The Book Retreat Mysteries, Ellery Adams
Meg Langslow Mysteries, Donna Andrews (serious but hilarious situations)
Book town Mysteries, Lorna Barrett
A Writer’s Apprentice Mysteries, Julia Buckley
Bibliophile Mysteries, Kate Carlisle
Fixer-Upper Mysteries, Kate Carlisle
Cranberry Cove Mysteries, Peg Cochran
County Cork Mysteries, Sheila Connolly
Museum Mysteries, Sheila Connolly
Victorian Village Mysteries, Sheila Connolly
Penny Brannigan Mysteries, Elizabeth J. Duncan
Beyond the Pages, Lauren Elliott
Hannah Swenson Mysteries, Joanne Fluke
Lighthouse Library Mysteries, Eva Gates
Blue Ridge Library Mysteries, Victoria Gilbert
Magical Cats Mysteries, Sofie Kelly
Library Lover’s Mysteries, Jenn McKinley
Scottish Bookshop Mysteries, Paige Shelton
These are the main Cozy Mystery series I have read (and reread). I always reread a whole series before I read the newest book. I would recommend reading anything by Agatha Christie. I have about 50 of her books. While not exactly Cozy writers the following mystery authors from the past are still favorites of mine: Charlotte MacLeod, Phyllis Whitney, M. M. Kaye, Ngaio Marsh, Elizabeth Linington, and Dorothy L. Sayers.
I read a lot of mysteries, but also enjoy Fantasy, Science Fiction, History, Biography and much more. Amazon and used book websites are where most of my books are purchased.
Reading isn’t the only thing I do with my free time, I am also a jigsaw puzzle fanatic. If it wasn’t for the pandemic I would also be volunteering for 15-20 hours per week at the local hospital. Television is way down on my list of things to do.