We’re just about at the end of June, 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 Barbara Ross’s Maine Clambake 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 June? 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 June 2020 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Kate P. Adams: Charleton House Mystery Series (first entry Death by Dark Roast)
Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Gretchen Archer: Davis Way Crime Caper Mystery Series
Bree Baker (aka Jacqueline Frost, Julie Chase, & Julie Anne Lindsey): Seaside Cafe Mystery Series
Sally Berneathy: Death by Chocolate Mystery Series (first entry Death by Chocolate)
Ginger Bolton (aka Janet Bolin): Deputy Donut Mystery Series
Duffy Brown: Consignment Shop Mystery Series
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Laurie Cass (aka Laura Alden): Bookmobile Cat Mystery Series
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt): Tea Shop Mystery Series
Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell): Museum Mystery Series
Cate Conte (aka Liz Mugavero): Witch Hunt
Elizabeth Daly: Henry Gamadge Mystery Series
Carola Dunn: Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Series
Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan): Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series AND Amish Matchmaker Mystery Series
Sarah Fox: Literary Pub Mystery Series
Leonard Goldberg: Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Series (first entry The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes)
Kerry Greenwood: Phryne Fisher Mystery Series
Karen MacInerney: Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series
Alexis Morgan: Abbey McCree Mystery Series (first entry Death by Committee)
Patricia Moyes: Henry Tibbett Mystery Series
Barbara Ross: Maine Clambake Mystery Series AND Professional Busybody Mystery Series
Joanna Campbell Slan: Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-n-Craft Mystery Series
Betty Webb: Gunn Zoo 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.
June Recommendations – 2020
Grim Reaper – Kate Carlisle
SOOOO excited about this new book because it’s set in Dharma. Yay! Love, love the characters in Dharma. Carlisle always writes an excellent book in this bibliophile series whether the setting is SF or Dharma.
There’s a book festival planned for this community and Brooklyn’s mother (Rebecca) is chairman of the committee. Much strife is caused by a not well-liked (well…….nasty) newcomer to the community who is purchasing many of the vineyards. He wants a voice in the planning sessions, which Rebecca won’t allow. There are a couple of attempts on Rebecca’s life. There’s also two murders.
Brooklyn and Derek with the help of others are on the hunt for the murderer. I must say I didn’t find the ending a complete surprise, kind of guessing it correctly about ¾ the way through.
The downside for me in every book in this series is the detailed explanations of the book repair process. BUT, BUT, but, those paragraphs are easily skipped over without losing any detail of the storylines.
I always comment on this in each of my recommendations of the books in this series. This talented author knows how to keep the boyfriend, fiancé, husband (Derek) involved in the investigations. She doesn’t send him off to other locations (and out of the picture for the duration of the story) like so many other cozy authors do. She’s a very talented writer, keeping the reader constantly engaged in the story with an array of great and very well developed characters. OH! I saw one tiny error on the top of page 180. Brooklyn referred to her father-in-law as ‘Jim’. His name is ‘John’. Brooklyn’s father’s name is Jim. Tiny tiny error, I know, but this is an author that just doesn’t make any errors.
These characters (and there are many of them) and their connections are so intricate, that the only way to understand it all is to read the series from the beginning. Each and every book in this series is an entertaining read.
Gone with the Whisker – Laurie Cass
This clever and gifted author is almost unsurpassed in her dialogue witticism. This is the perfect book for a light enjoyable summer read. Many, many ‘chuckles’. Minnie is the assistant library director for a library in MI. She also navigates the bookmobile through rural areas in many adverse weather conditions. The bookmobile is often the focus of the story.
What makes this particular book particularly delightful is the addition of Minnie’s 16 yr. old niece Katrina (Kate) to the cast of great characters. She is visiting for the summer, adding an excellent dimension to the story. There is much character involvement and interaction. As normal for this series, there are a variety of twists to keep the reader turning the pages. It’s not easy to put down.
Several of us questioned the logic of the sudden turn of the romance story line. With this book, this aspect of the story settles in.
This series should be read from the beginning to understand the complexity of the characters. The real star of the series is Eddie (the cat!).
Pumpkin Spice Peril — Jenn McKinley
This series is popular among many of the readers on this blog, so I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know! This is also an author that writes very witty dialogue………….so amusing.
This book is another entry (the 12th) into the wonderful cupcake series. An exciting surprise is revealed in the first few chapters.
A friend of Melanie and Angie is murdered. She is a talented sculptor with a studio near the bakery. This author always writes a well plotted story with numerous twists. This ending does come as somewhat of a surprise. Those of us that follow this series know the main characters are sharp, entertaining, and lovable. ALWAYS an enjoyable read. AGAIN, this is another series which should be read from the beginning. All the stories move along quickly.
Susy S says
I loved all three of these books. The authors are on my list of authors I buy as soon as available (usually pre-ordered). Jenn Mckinley lives in the area and does many signings at my local indie bookstore, The Poisoned Pen. The pandemic has moved most of them to virtual and can be seen on their facebook/podcast. I always try to go, or to watch them because she is a real hoot in person.
I giggled my way through the Gunn Zoo mysteries series by Betty Webb recently, and fervently hope there will be more. I want to know what happens next!
Linda W says
I have finished two that I enjoyed. Wine and Punishment by Sarah Fox ( A Literary Pub Mystery). Sarah also writes the Pancake House Mystery series and The Music Lover’s Mystery Series. Haven’t read those yet… but intend to.
AND the 2nd was The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth by Leonard Goldberg. This is the 3rd in A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries.
I’ve read, and enjoyed, all three.
My pick would be Laura Childs’ Lavendar Blue Murder. Firstly this was the first book I could get out of our library system after the closing for Covid-19. But I have grown to really enjoy Laura Childs’s writings and am reading all of her series.
The joy of sitting reading with a wonderful cup of tea and a good book is so much an act of total self-centeredness. But when else could we spend such time devouring a favorite book as when we are all quarantined.
Mary VS says
Double Trouble (by Gretchen Archer), released this month. It’s the latest installment in the Davis Way Cole series, set in a luxury casino hotel in Biloxi MS. Davis works there and also lives in a unit in the hotel with her husband and twin toddlers. It’s a fun series filled with humor, and the setting itself–fancy hotel, high roller lifestyle, etc. is a fun escape all on its own. But Davis herself is quite down to earth and so are her zany relatives who make frequent appearances. The stories are not what most of us encounter in real life, but at the same time they are laced with warmth and a good sense of priorities, and some real gems of wisdom and just plain good writing. They are just perfect for winding down and changing your mental gears. The main characters start to feel like old friends. Great beach reads even if you can’t make it to the beach.
Paula Catherine says
I have discovered the Death by Chocolate series by Sally Berneathy.
The protagonist is Lindsay Powell, owner and chocolatier of Death By Chocolate restaurant. She and her coworker Paula make and serve all things chocolate, with a side of murder mysteries. In the introduction to the series Lindsay is trying to divorce her cheating husband. She lives in one of their former rental homes next door to Paula and Paula’s toddler.
Also in the neighborhood is Fred, a man of questionable talents, in other word he can and does do anything. We would all like a neighbor like Fred.
I would recommend reading the series in order. ( the first one is free on Amazon, not sure for how long)
There are some series that I stop reading because I don’t like the characters or their behaviors. I like all the characters, even Eric, the soon to be ex. He is a trip, but I wouldn’t like being married to a louse like him!
At times during conversations with Fred or Trent (police detective) Lindsay will answer “Okay “ which means she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore and she will do as she pleases and not comply with whatever is being asked of her.
Karen N. says
I recently finished the first book in the Deputy Donut series by Ginger Bolton, Survival of the Fritters, and am devouring the second, Goodbye Cruller World. Emily is a former 911 operator and widow of a police detective. She and her father-in-law, a retired police chief, own a donut and coffee shop named Deputy Donut after her cat. When a customer goes missed, Emily helps her friend and possible new suitor, Det Brent Fyne, solve the case. Good writing with some snappy dialog and interesting characters make this a fun and easy summertime read. Recipes are included.
Sally Fortney says
I enjoyed Lark! The Herald Angels Sing by Donna Andrews. She makes her characters so real even though some are very quirky. I loved that Christmas cheer actually helped with some of the crimes.
Kathie Deviny says
Kerry Greenwood mysteries starring the incredible ‘Hon. Phyne’. Set in early 20th century Australia.
Janice G says
I have two books to recommend this month. A Call for Kelp is the newest book by Bree Baker. A retired actress known for her role in pirate movies comes to Charm, NC to work on a documentary starring Everly’s aunts in their quest to save the endangered honeybee population. The town is soon overrun by fans dressed in all manner of pirate costumes. When the actress is murdered, Everly sets out to solve the crime, against the advice of the detective. I love the characters in this series as well as the island setting.
I also recommend Death by Auction by Alexis Morgan, the third book in this series. Abby is roped into organizing a bachelor auction to raise funds for the local veterans association by her tenant, Tripp. The emcee is a former local resident who seems to have issues with many of the attendees. He, of course, ends up being murdered and Abby works to solve the case. This is another series that features very interesting characters and it has become one of my favorites.
Barbara Westhoven says
I have spent the entire month of June with Kiki Lowenstein and I have to say she’s excellent company! I am currently deep into book #8 of a 14-book series. I have been very impressed with this author’s ability to grow her characters, gracefully adding new ones and saying goodbye to others. She also takes on some pretty heavy issues right out of today’s headlines such as spousal abuse, hoarding, mental illness and others while not losing her light touch or denigrating these subjects in any way. I got the lead on this series from this blog and am so glad I did.
Barbara R says
I agree. I started the series after reading your review, and it’s everything you said. Thanks for a great recommendation!
Barbara Westhoven says
You’re welcome! I am coming to the end of the series now and it will be like losing a friend! If you haven’t read Jill Churchill’s Jane Jeffry mysteries or the Lucy Stone novels by Leslie Meier you might like them, too. Happy reading! Barb
Patti Smith says
I read The Charleton House Mysteries. There are 3 books in this series Death by Dark Roast, Sleep Like the Dead and A Killer Wedding They are written by Kate Adams. Excellent cozy series.
robin in oregon says
Got it in just under the wire for June since it’s only 9pm here in Oregon! Picked up the Cate Conte book Witch Hunt this morning and really enjoyed it. Just the right amount of paranormal, great characters and atmosphere. I am counting on and hoping this is a continuing series because we were left with a lot of questions about the Magickal world and mysteries of the families.
I just got the new Barbara Ross “Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody” book last night and stayed up late reading it!
It is a HOOT! Some cozies attempt humor in a corny way, but this book is genuinely funny – I found myself laughing out loud several times as I sat in my Minnidip adult kiddie pool trying to beat the heat.
Love books about books so will have to check out the Sara Fox’s Pub Library series.
I spent June devoted to reading Amanda Flower’s books.
I read the two novellas (“Criminally Cocoa” & “Botched Butterscotch”), and last two releases in the Amish Candy Shop Mystery series (“Toxic Toffee” & “Marshmallow Malice”).
This is one of my favorite series. I love the characters…including the animal ones. Jethro the pig is packed with personality, and I love “Toxic Toffee’s” addition of Puff the rabbit. I thought the killer in “Marshmallow Malice” was quite a surprise…not who I suspected at all.
As I was reading these books, I realized who Margot Rawlings (the town’s bossy event organizer) reminds me of…for those familiar with Hallmark Channels “Good Witch”, she reminds me exactly of Martha Tinsdale, personality-wise. Now I can’t help hearing Martha’s voice in my head whenever I read Margot’s dialogue.
I also read the first release in the new Amish Matchmaking Mystery series, “Matchmaking Can Be Murder”. This series is set in the same town as the Amish Candy Shop series, so there are some familiar faces popping up here and there. As with it’s sister series, this one has fun animal characters…in this case, it’s two mischievous goats belonging to the series’ main character, Millie Fisher.
I think that one of the best (and most comedic) parts of this series is Millie’s (who is an Amish woman) long-standing friendship with Lois, a brash “Englischer” who wears tons of make-up, has spiky hair, loud jewelry and just divorced her fourth husband. These two friends couldn’t be more different, which is what leads to many of the humorous moments throughout the book. Also, Ruth Yoder, the Bishop’s wife, who appears in the Candy shop series, is featured in this series quite a bit. Millie and Lois have known Ruth from childhood. While Millie respects Ruth’s position in their Amish district, she also isn’t afraid to stand-up to her at times.
The characters in this series are great. I really enjoyed this debut book, and look forward to the next release later this year.
I enjoyed Patricia Moyes’ Six Letter Word for Death. Even before the murder that Henry Tibbet solves with the help of his wife Emmy, he is faced with a complicated crossword puzzle as a prelude to him meeting several mystery writers. Seeking the help of an expert in solving these – an interesting characters that appeared in an earlier book – is interesting by itself. Most of the clues hinted to a possible earlier murder and led to the current one. The events are mostly on the The Isle of Wight, off the South coast of England and I actually looked at the map.
I continued with Elizabeth Daly’s Arrow Pointing Nowhere when Henry Gamadge is asked for help in an unusual way – hints at crumpled envelopes thrown outside that a mailman finally picked up. On his visit to find out who needs his help, he is also told about a new mystery – a sentimental picture is missing from an older book describing the old family house up the Hudson. As often with Daly’s stories, the grand houses of New York of the 40s are the equivalent of the British country homes of the golden age of mysteries. The disappearance of the picture is more complicates that first appears and after a murder, Gamadge solves it.
Carola Dunn’s The Bloody Tower finds Daisy Dalrymple visiting the Tower of London to write a review of it for her American readers. She stayed the night and on her way out early morning, stumbled on a murdered Yeoman Warder. Her husband Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher is called to investigate and, again, she provides valuable insights.
Last, discovered – thanks to this site – Duffy Brown and read Iced Chiffon. Reagan Summerside finds the murdered body of her ex’s fiancee in the trunk of the ex’s car and Reagan is on a mission to find the murderer. I enjoyed the light style of Brown and her description of Savannah and the Southern atmosphere and characters. As an aside for me, Brown is a fresh change from many writers recommended here where large part of the books are dedicated to the heroines describing clothes, or food – even though the recipes follow – or just contemplating their feelings. In contrast, the British writers just provide the facts with interesting historical and geographical background. Yes, I suppose it is me. Still plenty of books to enjoy and writers to discover and I am grateful to this site for the wealth of information.
Marie Lawlor says
I’ve been reading The Gray Whale Inn Mystery series. It’s a fun read. I don’t want to spoil anything but there is a bit of repetition of events that happen. I don’t really care. It’s not like ANY of these series are at all realistic hahahahaha. Karen MacInerney is a good story teller and the recipes are excellent!
Susy S says
I spent much of June reading the latest several series which have been described already and read the entire Museum Mystery series by Sheila Connolly.
I really liked that the lead characters (Nell and James) are middle-aged and are working on themselves and their relationship. I also like the fact that the FBI boyfriend does not get involved in the actual mystery when the FBI should not be (but does when they should but aren’t), but provides advice and support to Nell while she works on them.
This series makes history come alive in the current century, which few really manage to do, which makes it even more interesting. These are not books I laughed my way through, but I really could not put them down either.