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 Kate Collins’s Goddess of Greene St. 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 2022 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Susan Wittig Albert: China Bayles Herbal Mystery Series
Ellie Alexander (aka Kate Dyer-Seeley): Bakeshop Mystery Series
Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Mary Angela: Happy Camper Mystery Series
Tamara Berry: By the Book Mystery Series (first entry Buried in a Good Book)
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey): A Friend for Hire Mystery Series
Julia Buckley: A Dinner and a Murder Mystery Series
Leslie Budewitz: Spice Shop Mystery Series
Ellen Byron (aka Maria DiRico) : Vintage Cookbook Mystery Series
Nancy Coco (aka Nancy J. Parra and Nell Hampton): Candy-Coated Mystery Series
Richard Coles: Canon Clement Mystery Series (first entry Murder Before Evensong)
Kate Collins: Goddess of Greene St. Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery Series
Tracey Drew: Knitty Kitty Mystery (first entry Knitted and Knifed)
Emmeline Duncan: Ground Rules Mystery Series (first entry Fresh Brewed Murder)
Dianne Freeman: Countess of Harleigh Mystery Series (first entry A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder)
Tracy Gardner: Avery Ayers Mystery Series
Elly Griffiths: Dr. Ruth Galloway Mystery Series (first entry The Crossing Place)
Darci Hannah: Beacon Bakeshop Mystery Series
Sofie Kelly (aka Sofie Ryan & Darlene Ryan for Young Adult): Magical Cats Mystery Series
Julie Anne Lindsey (aka Jacqueline Frost, Julie Chase, & Bree Baker): Bonnie & Clyde Mystery Series
Tara Lush: Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series (first entry Grounds for Murder)
Julie Moffett: Lexi Carmichael Mystery Series
Diane Greenwood Muir: Bellingwood Mystery Series (first entry All Roads Lead Home)
Linda Reilly: Grilled Cheese Mystery Series
Barbara Ross: Maine Clambake 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.
Lisa N says
I read the first book in a series by Nancy Coco based on fudge. Allie McMurphy inherits the McMurphy resort on Mackinac Island. She has a culinary (or pastry) degree so she can reopen the fudge shop. She finds the dead body of her late grandpa’s friend in her utility closet. Two love interests that in my opinion are swoon worthy. And a quirky cast of characters all the way down to her Bichon Frise puppy, Marshmallow. Looking forward to book #2.
The Meg Langslow mystery series are hilarious and well written characters. The quirky family dynamics are at times reminiscent of my own LOL! Be sure to read them in order.
Rita S says
Hello Carolyn, I have read one of Donna Andrews book the one called Owl Be Home for Christmas. After reading your recommendation I will want to check out more of her books. Do you have a favorite book of hers that you would recommend starting with? It is hard to find a lot of books, as I only read paper backs and I usually have to get them at Barnes and Nobles.
Lenore K says
I’m reading the Sherlock Holmes book shop mystery series the main character is Gemma Doyle I’m actually on the seventh book of the series I’ve been binge reading it. I confess to being a Sherlock Holmes fan but even more I love the pastiches. In this case, Gemma’s uncle is a distant relative of Arthur Conan Doyle and Gemma has somehow inherited some of Sherlocks talents. I thoroughly enjoy the series and recommend it to anyone who loves cozies.
Amanda Lee, love her
Selma Eichler – Murder Can Depress Your Dachshund
Ellie Alexander’s “Donut Disturb”.
This was a great read as all of hers are.
Regina Williams says
Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop the first book in the Beacon Bakeshop mystery by Darci Hannah. I loved this book so much and am currently reading the second book in the series Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off!
Ian Jopson says
Murder Before Evensong, by Reverend Richard Coles. For those of you across the pond who are not aware of Richard Coles, he was a member of The Communards pop group then went on to study Theology bocoming an Anglican vicar in a small village in Northamptonshire. He presents Staurday Live on BBC Radio 1, and has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing. This is his first forray into crime fiction and is in the cozy style of the TV version of Father Brown. The second novel is announced but no date set.
Sally Fortney says
Donna Andrews’s The Gift of the Magpie was as good as hers always are. I love how she keeps Meg’s wacky family and friends believable. The hoarding story in this book was interesting.
I read Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron. Her new series of a cookbook gift shop in a museum was a winner. I liked the New Orleans atmosphere and the quirky characters.
Julie Hyzy is a good author
I recently discovered the Bellingwood series from Diane Greenwood Muir. They are available on KINDLE UNLIMITED. They are a wonderful series of a Boston librarian who returns to her small town Iowa roots. It is filled with lovable and quirky friends as she converts an old abandoned high school into an event space and apartments, rescuing friends and animals along the way while finding dead bodies. It is an older series but still producing new books. Her website has short vignettes and short stories that should be ready in order with the main books.
I read and loved No Parm No Foul by Linda Reilly. It was released this week and it’s the second in the Grilled Cheese Mystery series. It takes place around Halloween. The mystery is strong and there are lots of clues, red herrings, and viable suspects. I didn’t figure it out until just about when the main character did. The amateur sleuth also had a strong motivator for wanting to solve the mystery. I highly recommend it! It can be read as a standalone, but to really get to know the characters, I recommend reading the first one (Up to No Gouda) first. I also enjoyed that one, but I thought the second one was even better.
I read Fresh Brewed Murder (first in a new series) by Emmeline Duncan.
Sage Caplin runs a coffee cart in Portland, Oregon. A body is found in front of her cart that may have a connection to her con- artist mother who has been trying to worm her way back into Sage’s life.
Sage must find the killer before a no-nonsense detective with an axe to grind decides Sage did it.
The plot kept my interest and the cast of characters kept me guessing;I’m looking forward to the next installment.
BTW – thank you to those of you who suggested The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray. I’m not quite finished with it yet, but I’m really enjoying it!
Leslie Budewitz says
Mendo, I read the 2d Ground Rules mystery last spring and it’s just as much fun as the first. Plus, coffee recipes!
I’m in the middle of reading the first book in a series called Knifty Kitty, by Tracey Drew. The first book which is free on Audible’s plus catalog, is called Knitted and knifed. It is set in a New Zealand town called Cape Discovery. The main character is a former high school counselor who moves back to her hometown to help run her grandparents’ knitting shop for a fresh start after her grandmother passed away. Plus, corral 2 cats who like to be underfoot and get into trouble. On top of that, she has to also juggle her nutty relatives, and the occasional murder thrown in. I love the narrator of this book/series. I love the characters, the setting, and every thing about this series so far! The books are pretty short reads (6 hours)
Which reminds me, I do have a question that I hope you and your readers can answer. Since I’ve started reading this series, I’ve since fallen in love with New Zealand based cozy mysteries, and would absolutely love to read more! Do you or your readers know of any other cozy mysteries that are set in New Zealand? Also, could you consider making this a cozy mystery theme? Any help and recommendations you and your readers can give is very much appreciated!
I finished a novella in the Lexi Carmichael series by Julie Moffett called No money down. If you’re an Evanovich fan like me, you’ll instantly be in love with this series. The main character lives in Maryland, and works for the NSA. but, if you ask her about it, she will neither confirm nor deny it. She spends her off-hours eating cereal for dinner, and avoiding her mother and her attempts to play matchmaker. I love the comicalness of this series, plus it’s got the hallmarks of an Evanovich novel. Complete with baffling, odd but believeable disasters that she gets herself into.
Rob Jarrad says
I’ve just finished reading (again) Leslie Budewitz’s Seattle Spice shop mysteries -all of them in order (but they can be read as stand alone) and Solace of Bay leaves is the last. The new one coming out is Peppermint Barked. Really great heroine and fun back up staff! A great series. Also Ellie Alexander’s beer series headquarted in Washington state also in a Bevarien Beer town with a great staff. Both series are winners.
Susy S says
Brand new one in the series just came out titled “Peppermint Barked”. It takes place during the Christmas holidays and is just as good as the rest. Some interesting twists and turns, but I did figure out the killer fairly early on, including at least part of their motivation.
Leslie Budewitz says
Thanks, Rob! Happy to say Peppermint Barked is out now — it came out July 19, just in time for Christmas in July, since it’s a Christmas book, as the title suggests. And I’m just about to turn in the 7th in the series!
Sofie Kelly: The Magical Cats Mystery series.
A Great read. Love all the characters.
Susy S says
“A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder” by Dianne Freeman. I love this series about a widowed Countess of American origin and the series of murders that happen in her orbit.
July Recommendations — 2022
Well……………..I was without internet or phone for 3 days, the result of a wire cut at a construction site. UGH! So this gets written a bit late. 🙁
Buried in a Good Book — Tamara Berry
This is the first book in a new series by a new-to-me author. Tess Harrow is a well-known author who has reached a glitch in writing her latest book. She and her daughter move to a ‘rustic’ cabin owned by her late grandfather for the summer in Washington. The cabin has no modern amenities, so living there is a bit ‘rough’, especially for Tess’s teenage daughter.
The characters are varied and unique, developed with appeal that we all can enjoy.
Parts of a body are found in a pond on their property. To add to the weirdness are the sightings of Big Foot in the nearby woods.
I cannot emphasize enough the surprise ending…………I was totally shocked!
This book is packed full of ‘quirkiness’, written with humor. It’s an exceptional summer read!
Burden of Poof — Julie Anne Lindsey
OK everyone, be sure to pick up this book to read. The author clearly states it’s to be an 8 book ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ series, with five books already released in 2021 and 2022. Bonnie Balfour is the sleuth and Clyde is her cat. Be sure to read the author’s ‘notes’.
This authors has several pen names. One can understand why she ended her Seaside Café series (one of my favorites) to pursue other creative writing endeavors. She is also starting a Thelma and Louise series which I haven’t read yet.
Bonnie is newly divorced and owns a second hand fashion shop, “Bless Your Heart”. Yes, it’s set in Georgia — a small town called “Bliss”! It’s a delightful summer read, yet not ‘syrupy’ as the title, characters, and community might initially indicate.
Bonnie depends on donations to her shop and is surprised when a huge one comes in from a wealthy woman. Bonnie goes to her home to pick up some more items where she finds this woman has been murdered. The mystery is well plotted and a ‘can’t-put-it-down’ quick read.
The characters are likeable, realistic, and entertaining. They really draw you into the story. The dialogue adds a wittiness to the story with some LOL moments.
This author always writes engaging stories, so don’t miss this one. She’s another author who refers to some of her other mysteries within the story line, including the aforementioned Seaside Café series.
Mining for Murder – Mary Angela
This is the 3rd book in a series set in South Dakota near the Black Hills. I’ve really enjoyed all three. I believe I’ve recommended the previous two. Zo Jones owns a touristy type shop in the area. Her background is a mystery in and of itself as she searches for her birth mother.
The characters are engaging. The murder story line engrossing featuring a history book of Sprit Canyon. The dialogue is witty. Great descriptive writing. What’s not to enjoy!!
Cold Brew Corpse — Tara Lush
This series is set on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Lana Lewis is a former crime reporter who returns to her home community to manage her family’s coffee shop. Lana’s dad is by far the most enjoyable ‘character’ in this series. Her friend/employee Erica rounds out the enjoyable ‘main’ characters in this series. (Well…..there is also the hunky detective.)
The owner of a nearby Yoga establishment is missing. The owner of the local newspaper asks Lana to write a story about this missing Yoga instructor. There are some surprising twists and turns for Lana and her friends to navigate in seeking a solution to this mystery.
The author is a crime reporter in her ‘real life’, so is quite talented in her creative writing and story telling abilities.
Muddled Through – Barbara Ross
Many readers of this series have been waiting for the release of this book because the author left us with a stunning break-up at the end of the pervious book.
This is the 10th book in the Clambake series. All are an enjoyable read. The main character is Julia Snowden. The family conducts clambakes on an island throughout the summer.
A shop owner is found murdered in the basement of a pottery business where Julia’s sister, Libby works.
This series is always well written with complex and entertaining characters. It is best read from the beginning.
Perilous Pal — Laura Bradford
This series continues to entertain. The concept is somewhat unique. People hire Emma Westlake to be their friend.
I enjoy stories that have several story lines, not just the murder. This book does this in spades.
As for the murder story line, Kim hires Emma to help her find activities to fill her time since she is in process of a divorce and her children are grown. Her husband is murdered and she becomes a suspect.
Emma and some of her ‘paid for friends’ find the real culprit.
I picked up on a clue Bradford dropped about one of the story lines halfway through the book. I kept wondering if I was right and if she was going to explore this before the end of the book or wait until the next book. Well, both thoughts turned out right. It’s mentioned again at the end of the story…….most likely to be expanded in the next book.
Not surprisingly, Bradford mentions several of her other series throughout this book.
Peril at Pennington Manor – Tracy Gardner
Danna highlighted this series and since she was spot on, I won’t go into details here. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed this second book just as much as the first book.
Janice G says
I read a lot of books this month and many have already been mentioned. My favorite was Castle Deadly, Castle Deep the second book in the series by Victoria Bond (Julia Buckley). Nora is acting in the castle set mystery dinner as well as a local theater presentation of A Doll’s House directed by Derek, the castle owner. A young actor is killed while visiting the castle and there is no apparent motive. Nora’s detective boyfriend Dash is acting very aloof, leaving Nora feeling vulnerable to some strange activities at the castle. Nora’s teenage twin brothers also make an appearance, bringing a bit of humor to the story.
I also enjoyed Gone But Not Forgotten by Cat Conte and Death by Beach Read by Eva Gates. I join others in recommending No Parm No Foul by Linda Reilly and Bayou Book Thief by Ellen Byron.
Janice always has new info or book suggestions I may not have known about. Our tastes are similar, so I look for her ideas.
BUT! Who knew? Julia Buckley has another pen name???
I just looked at Julia’s webpage. Sure enough she mentions in her blog this series she has written under the name of Veronica Bond!
I read several Buckley’s cozy mysteries and enjoy them. I really enjoy the Hungarian Tea House series, but there doesn’t to be a release date for the 4th book. I hope this series will continue.
Thanks SO MUCH for the info, Janice 🙂
Tricia Berkow says
I love the China bales series by Susan Wittig Albert. The author blends historical fact with the current mystery at hand. China the main character runs an herbal shop in a small town in Texas. These cozy mysteries are intelligent witty and real. I highly recommend this author Susan Wittig Albert
I totally agree with Tricia. This is a series not to be missed. Albert writes with much intelligence, some wit, and does due diligence with her research. So many interesting tidbits!!
I enjoy ALL the characters in this series. They are well developed with so much depth. So when Albert writes a book that’s set offsite, I’m not very interested in it. It doesn’t feature all the characters I enjoy. Luckily she’s written only a few books set in offsite locations.
Marianne Kotch says
I enjoyed Elly Griffith’s latest installment of her Ruth Galloway series, The Locked Room. It deals with the beginning of the COVID pandemic when everyone tries to isolate and shows how hard it is to solve crime during this time. It brought back memories of those times for me, and the story is quite as good as all the previous 13 books!
Janice G says
I agree with your recommendation of this book. While reading it I was transported back to the beginning of lockdown standing in line for my turn to go into a store. All of Elly Griffiths books are so atmospheric and take you into whatever place or mood she is describing. This is one of my favorite series.
L.C. Lassman says
Kate Carlisle’s series Bibliophile series about bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is wonderful (first book Homicide in Hardcover). The mysteries are clever and the characters engaging. She also writes a Fixer Upper series (first book A High-End Finish).
I’ve recently discovered the Merry Wrath series by Leslie Langtry (first book Merit Badge Murder). Merry was a top CIA operative whose identity was leaked and who is now hiding out in her former hometown, being co-leader of a Girl Scout troop with her childhood best friend. It’s quite a madcap series with only a tenuous connection to how it would actually work, but still hugely fun and quite hilarious!
Ellery Adams’ Secret, Book, & Scone Society (first book Secret Book & Scone Sociery) follows bookstore owner Nora Pennington and her 3 best friends as they navigate their way through their own issues while solving murders. They’re an engaging and lovely group of characters and the mysteries themselves are well done.
As a side note, don’t forget that your local public library can be a great way to try out a new author or series for free! If they don’t have a title in their collection, they can get it through Interlibrary Loan (also free!), and also carry titles as e-books and audiobooks.