We’re almost through March, so it’s time to talk about our favorite Cozy Mysteries for we’ve read this month. If you read a Cozy you can strongly recommend in the month of March, be sure to let the rest of us know here! My own recommendation for this month is Nancy Atherton‘s Aunt Dimity Mystery Series.
If you’re interested in reading why I’m recommending these series, you can go to the Most Popular & Recommended Cozy Mystery Series page on my Cozy-Mystery site for my full write-ups on each of these great Cozy series.
So, what have you been reading that you can recommend in March? 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 March 2017 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): Supper Club Mystery Series
Lucy Arlington (co-written by Jennifer Stanley & Sylvia May): A Novel Idea Mystery Series
Nancy Atherton: Aunt Dimity Mystery Series
Lorna Barrett (aka L. L. Bartlett & Lorraine Bartlett): Booktown Mystery Series
Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey): Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery Series
Frances Brody: Kate Shackleton Mystery Series
David Casarett: Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness
Karen Chester: Emma Cassidy Mystery Series (first book Throw a Monkey Wrench)
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt): Tea Shop Mystery Series
Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell & Tace Baker): Country Store Mystery Series
Warren Esby: In Transit
Agatha Frost: Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Series (first book Pancakes and Corpses)
Lee Harris: Christine Bennett Holiday Mystery Series
Leigh Hearon: Carson Stables Mystery Series (first book Reining in Murder)
Kylie Logan (aka Miranda Bliss & Casey Daniels): League of Literary Ladies Mystery Series
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series
Carlene O’Connor: Irish Village Mystery Series
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Spencer Quinn (aka Peter Abrahams): Chet and Bernie Mystery Series
Clover Tate: Kite Shop Mystery Series (first book Blown Away)
Aimée & David Thurlo: Ella Clah Mystery Series
Lea Wait: Shadows Antique Print Mystery Series
Ashley Weaver: Amory Ames Mystery Series (first book Murder at the Brightwell)
Jacqueline Winspear: Maisie Dobbs Mystery Series
Diana Xarissa: Aunt Bessie Mystery Series (first book Aunt Bessie Assumes)
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.
I love the Lea Wait cozy mysteries about Maggie Summers who sells her antique prints at big shows around the area where she lives. But I got to the 4th entry “Shadows at the Spring Show” and couldn’t find it in large print which I need. Any way to find out before I get started on a series if they all come in large print? She also does the Mainely Needlepointe Series. I also like Lorna Barrett’s Booktown Myteries. Just finished the 10th in the series “Title Wave.” Can’t wait for more.
Shadows of a Spring Show is published in the large print format by Prince Frederick in MD. The ISBN for this book is 9781419356841. Check to see if your local library has it or can get it for you through Inter Library Loan (ILL).
I haven’t read Lea Wait’s Antique Print series, but I REALLY enjoy her Mainely Needlepoint series. I prefer a physical book to an ereader type. But as I understand it, one can adjust the font size on a Kindle or Nook. For those kindle/nook readers is that correct?
Her books are available on both the Kindle and the Nook. IF YOU CAN adjust the font size, perhaps that’s a solution for you. In fact now some authors are publishing their books ONLY on kindle/nook.
Thank you so much. I called my local library. It is not available in Indiana in Large Print, but with the information you gave me, see can order it out of state. I too, would rather hold a real book to read instead of using an e-reader. Thanks again for your help
Cathy, I put the info in worldcat.org and then check which libraries it’s located in. Since you said you were in IN, I did this for this book (large print version) and found it was located in 11 Indiana libraries including Zionsville, Carmel, Noblesville, New Castle, Mishawaka, Kokomo, Plymouth, Elkhart, Allen County, Plymouth, and Huntington.
Give this info to your library and they will be able to get it quicker for you. When I order ILL from my local library, I always provide them with several library location info.
I ‘cut and pasted’ the following info from worldcat.org:
Shadows at the spring show : an antique print mystery
Author: Lea Wait
Publisher: Prince Frederick, MD : RB Large Print, ©2005.
Edition/Format: Large print book : Fiction : English : Large print edView all editions and formats
Summary: Antique print dealer and American history professor Maggie Summer organizes an antiques show to benefit a local adoption agency and begins to fear for her safety in the wake of threatening phone calls and letters.
Thanks again. I passed the information along.
Cathy, OOPS! I may (??) have erred on the last entry. When rereading the worldcat.org listings it appears this large print book IS AVAILABLE in both the Huntington (Indiana) and Allen County (Indiana) libraries.
They have a ‘not held’ designation in the other libraries I listed, so I’m not sure what that means. I guessing, though, it might mean the large print version isn’t ‘held’ at that particular library, but it’s available in another format. Sorry for the confusion!
It appears it’s also available in the Chicago library.
You can adjust the font on both kindle and nook. You can also adjust contrast and font, which are both great for dimming vision. And you can also download both readers on your phone for free to see if you like them before you invest in a reader.
I have fallen in love with the Carson Stable series, by Leigh Hearon. Includes: Saddle up for Murder, and Reigning in Murder. Annie Carson is the main character and she is lovable and believable. The story revolves around horses, which is one of my reasons for loving the series. Also, it is well paced, with just enough clues dropped, and great dialogue. Annie is a bit grumpy, too, which is delightful!
Started reading Karen Chester cozy books, Throw a Monkey Wrench in is the first kept me guessing till the end. She makes the case against a few before the end. She is an event planner. I read 2 already and am enjoying the 3rd. Hope someone else enjoys her writing.
The Passover Murder by Lee Harris tells about Christine attending her first Passover at her friend Melanie Gross’s house. There she hears about what happened 16 years before, when a great aunt who went, as is the custom, to open the door for Elijah during the seder – but never came back. Christine agrees to help the family solve the mystery.
The characters are so well developed that you feel you know them personally. I also like the way Christine grows throughout the series.
I am also currently reading Bette Davis: More Than a Woman by James Spada (not a cozy). I became interested in Ms. Davis through the TV series Feud: Bette and Joan on FX. I am learning new things about her and the movie studio system of the 30’s and 40’s.
In Transit by Warren Esby was my favorite March mystery read
March Recommendations – 2017
WOW! Is it the end of March already? What a ‘speedy’ month!
Silence of the Flans – Laura Bradford
I just finished this book last night and had a hard time putting it down. Winnie Johnson started an Emergency Dessert Squad where she delivers baked goods via a renovated ambulance. Very creative and original idea! She delivers a blackberry crisp to a college student. This student is found dead from food poisoning and Winnie is rumored to be the source by the gossip mill in this Vermont town. So as her business is floundering she sets out to find the culprit.
This story is developed with some complexity and several twists. Although there are a few viable suspects, the guilty one is a surprise! The reader can’t help but love the main characters, written with compassion and feeling. The personal side stories with the various characters are engaging, keeping the reader turning the pages.
As a testimony to its ‘good read’ factor, I didn’t want the story to end. I wanted it to continue and continue………………….can’t wait for the next release!
Murder at an Irish Wedding — Carlene O’Connor
There are so many new releases set in Scotland or Ireland that I thought I was getting tired of them. BUT…………….
This author writes a mystery in a very methodical manner, with much attention to detail. This is helpful detail, not the extraneous/unnecessary type some authors write just to fill their word requirement. She also is a good descriptive writer.
The focus is on Siobhan as she deliberates details to come to a solution. She’s a 21 year old, highly intelligent protagonist who pursues the mystery with determination and independence.
The family owns a bistro in a small village in Ireland, but there isn’t much emphasis on the bistro or the very delightful family in this book (as there was in the first book). Simply put, a wedding is planned at a nearby castle and the best man is murdered. Siobhan gets involved because her boyfriend, who is a detective with the local police dept., is a friend of the groom.
There are many characters brought into this story which gets confusing. In this case it would have been helpful if the author provided the reader with a list of characters and their relationship to each other at the beginning of the book. It’s easy to lose track of who’s who.
Because of its attention to detail and methodical manner, this book is a slower read. It does pick up in the last quarter or so. BUT I want to emphasize that I think those that really like a good step-by-step, somewhat analytical mystery (as many stated in a previous blog a few weeks ago) will really enjoy this book. In some respects I think the ‘method’ of storytelling is a bit ‘Christie’ like.
Gone with the Twins — Kylie Logan
This is such a fun series with an array of differing multifaceted characters. Four ladies have become friends when they bonded over their book club. It is set on a small island in northern Ohio. Bea (protagonist) owns a B&B, but has no customers due to a famous brother and sister opening a competing B&B on the island. A local real estate agent is murdered.
There are a lot of entanglements in this story with the various characters. But the reader knows early on ‘who dun it’. Logan always write with wit and entertaining dialogue. Don’t let the brevity of this description fool you. It’s REALLY a good read – as is the whole series.
Pekoe Most Poison — Laura Childs
This is the 18th book in the Tea Shop Mystery series. As is the case with most books in this series the murder occurs at a special event in the first or second chapter. In this case it was a special historical tea party event called a ‘Rat Tea’. A poisoning occurs and the wife of the victim asks Theodosia’s help in solving this murder. Grant money to the Heritage Society is on the line.
I always recommend this series because the mysteries are pretty good. The characters are well developed, well known to the readers, and, by now, seem like ‘friends’. Det. Tidwell is not in this story and is missed because he is such an iconic character. This complex story moves along smoothly and quickly with an ingenious murder scheme.
HOWEVER, this story seems to have a different voice or tone, and I was wondering if anyone else noticed that? There are situations which are out of sync for this series. Even Theodosia seemed different in several circumstances. After not having a romance angle in the past few stories there is an inkling of a possible romance in this one. But the person slated for this ‘romance spot’ is somewhat wimpy…. so very UNLIKE a Childs character. Childs doesn’t acknowledge or allude to any ‘help’ (or outsourcing) in writing this story, but I really was just wondering ………………………..???
I totally agree with the comment regarding the tone of Murder Most Pekoe. Thought I was imaging it, but the Theodosia character definitely is very “edgy” in this book. Maybe Laura Childs did have some help with this one.
Thank you for saying those things, MJ. I thought it was me and I was missing something important. First and most important-taking Tidwell out of this book made it drag for me. The sprightly rapport and respect that Theo and Tidwell have was totally missing and Theo seemed off.
(maybe missing her chief crime solving buddy)? I think too and agree completely that Lt. Riley is not her best match-Max or Parker didn’t like Theo sleuthing but would have made a better romantic match than Riley. Tidwell would be a better match and he is more “manly” than the other three men Theo has dated. Or is it just me?
Drayton and Haley were more themselves than Theo so I agree all the way with your assessments. I didn’t feel so off base. Still liked the book as I always do with Childs Tea Shoppe series.
Have you read the Cackleberry Club selections yet? I enjoy those
too but I also pick up the similarities in the characters between the two series and it doesn’t detract from the story line. If Theo ever gets married, I think Haley should stand up with her and have Drayton give her away. Let me know what you think?
I’ve not read Pekoe Most Poison yet but did notice a shift in Theodosia’s personality and bits of her backstory in other recent entries of the Tea Shop Mysteries. Given that the series started in 2001and is now up to Book #18, perhaps this is to be expected. Both
Allingham’s Roderick Alleyn and Christie’s Jane Marple changed over time as well. It’s also possible that a bit of Gerry Schmitt’s edgier style for her Afton Tangler series is bleeding into the series she writes as Laura Childs.
After a recent holiday on the Isle of Man I discovered a couple of new (to me) series, by the same author, based on the island. The writer is Diana Xarissa, and the protaganist in the new series is an American lady teacher who inherits her auntie’s flat (apartment) in the capital, Douglas. She becomes involved in murder involving estate agents (realtors), various men, and the ghost of her dead aunt. I have the second book in the series waiting. The first series, that seems to have been going for a while, has an ‘Aunt Bessie’ as the detective. They start with ‘Aunt Bessie Assumes’ and goes on with ‘Aunt Bessie Believes’ etc., so I assume we’ll get at least 26 books.
In the middle of Lucy Arlington’s ‘every trick in the book.’ First time reading her and enjoying this 2nd book of the novel idea series.
I read the entire Cupcake Bakery series by Jenn McKinley this month. The characters are likable, the stories move along at a good pace and she includes just enough about prior books to keep you from feeling lost (along the line of’ she met detective so and so when she found a dead body outside her back door). Her characters usually don’t intentionally put themselves in dangerous situations, though the main character can be a little impatient thus not always doing the smartest thing.
I also must admit that I love them being set in Arizona since that is home to me and she gets the details right.
A friend recommended Louise Penny, Inspector Gamache novels. I fell in love with the characters in Three Pines and have read the first three in the series. She has written 11 books and the 12th comes out soon.
I read Blown Away by Clover Tate. The first in a series about a kite shop. Baseball season in Louisiana and I can catch on my reading.
I started reading Blown away by Clover Tate yesterday between appointments and am really enjoying it. In the acknowledgments, she thanks Kate- Dyer Seeley. Their writing is very similar — especially details about living in Oregon.
Leap Year Baby says
I love books on the SW I started with book1 of Ella Clah series from Aimee & David Thurlo. I’m on book 5 in the series.
Frances Brody … Kate Shackleton mysteries
I just finished IN THIS GRAVE HOUR, Jacqueline Winspear’s latest Maisie Dobbs book and enjoyed it very much. Maisie continues to evolve as a character, as do her supporting characters. She is back investigating after several books of dealing with issues and risking her life in Nazi Germany. World War II has just been declared. I look forward to the next book, which, alas, is scheduled for March, 2018.
I just finished reading When the Grit Hits the Fan, the newest book in the Pans and Pancakes series by Maddie Day and, as usual, it was a very good story. The main character, Robbie, while out snowshoeing, discovers the body of an unpopular professor at the local university frozen under the ice of a lake. Several of her friends become suspects so she sets out to discover the murderer.
I also read and would recommend the same books that MJ described this month. Another series that I discovered recently and enjoy a lot is the Peridale Village series by Agatha Frost. The series features a young woman who returns to her hometown in a small English village and opens a bakery/coffee shop. She takes in a homeless teenager and, of course, gets involved in solving murders. The first three books in the series were available on Kindle Unlimited and I’m glad that I found them.
Sharon S says
I read three Cozies this month, all part of mystery series.
A Cat Was Involved, a Chet and Bernie Mystery eShort Story (Kindle), by Spencer Quinn. This is the prequel to the Chet and Bernie Mystery series. Highly recommend.
Dog On It (a Chet and Bernie Mystery #1) by Spencer Quinn.
High recommend, especially if you are a dog or animal lover. It’s written through the eyes of Bernie’s faithful and hard working canine. And it was very well written, a great mystery involving a missing person. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
Carbs and Cadavers (a Supper Club Mystery #1) by Ellery Adams. Highly recommend. I found this title on Danna’s recent “cheap and on sale ebooks postings.” This was a pleasant surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially because I can sympathize the characters and their battle of the bulge! lol! The story is good too with the author giving plenty of clues along the way. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series too. The only thing I would criticize is the editing. I don’t know if it was just the edition I read or not, but it’s a shame that there was not a better editing job.
Just to clarify (because there seems to be some confusion)………….
I haven’t read the Supper Club Mystery series, but it was ORIGINALLY published (in book form) under the name of J. B. Stanley (Ellery Adams is a pseudonym for J. B. Stanley or Jennifer Stanley). The kindle version lists Ellery Adams as the author. Go figure!!!
Ahhh……………….we’ve discussed pseudonyms ad nauseam on this blog. Always worth mentioning, though, if it clears up a misunderstanding.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
MJ, I read the Supper Club series when she was still known as J.B. Stanley. She must have owned the rights to the series, since she later re-published the series in Kindle format using her “Ellery Adams” moniker. She has also re-published her Antiques & Collectibles series (originally published as J.B. Stanley) as well as her Hope Street Church series (originally published as Jennifer Stanley). She has co-authored more books in the Antiques and the Hope Street series since she changed them over to “Ellery Adams”.
You’re right, we’ve discussed pseudonyms many, many, many times. I always think it’s interesting to take a look at a bestselling author’s books that were written before he/she was a bestselling author while he/she had a different name. It shows how important it is to keep the rights to your books… that way you can re-publish them at a later date under your bestselling moniker.
I thought it important to clarify it in case someone wanted to read the Supper Club Mystery series in book form because of Sharon’s recommendation, and then couldn’t find it under ‘Ellery Adams’. Ironically, a few years ago I sent an email to J. Stanley asking her why she was writing under the Ellery Adams moniker. Her reply was, ‘it wasn’t her choice, the publisher insisted on it’. It appears (??) under this pseudonym she has become more popular.
I was SO excited 🙂 when you mentioned (above) there are more books in the Hope Street series. I went to search for them, only to find out they aren’t available in book form, just in the kindle format!! 🙁
I checked and my library has these in the e-reader format, so I might have to learn how to use my nook!
Danna - cozy mystery list says
MJ, I wasn’t sure why she was using the Ellery Adams moniker, but it sure makes sense. If I were an author, and a new name became “more popular” I’d republish all of my previous books under the new popular name. I am guessing that the authors who don’t do that are with a new publishing house. I’ve wondered why (for example) Sheila Connolly hasn’t republished her Sarah Atwell books…
Danna - cozy mystery list says
MJ, I’ve noticed the pseudonyms that authors are using today are more … whimsical-sounding. More like something you would have expected in a soap opera from the 1990s… (I didn’t watch soaps but remember names like “Erica Cane”…)
I am looking at the list of Ellery Adams books for Kindle, which include the Supper Club and Hope Street Church. When I compare it to a listing of books as J.B. Stanley, I am finding several books with VERY similar titles and would like to know if anyone can tell me if some of the Kindle editions might have had a name revision? I hate to buy the same book twice because it was published under multiple titles.
Sharon S says
MJ, I read the Kindle edition published in 2013.
I just read and enjoyed “Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness” by David Casarett. It’s set in northern Thailand, and the main character is a nurse ethicist (a nurse who’s trained to help patients, their families and hospital staff deal with ethical issues). It’s the first book in a planned series; the second book will be published this fall.
I have found a new cozy series that I am loving! Not only is it new to me but it is not listed on this site. The series is the Amory Ames mysteries by Ashley Weaver. So far there are 3 books in the series, with a fourth due out later this year. Book one is “Murder at the Brightwell” and I do recommend reading the series in order to understand the characters relationships better. The series is set in England in the early 1930’s and follows Amory and Milo Ames a wealthy, non-titled couple. The mysteries have been really great and very cleaver. Watching the relationship between the main characters has been fun as well. I recommend the series to fans of Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series or Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series. The book cover also likens it to the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series and Jacqueline Winspear series (I haven’t read those so I can’t personally make the comparison). Danna, I would recommend adding the series to the site.
Lynne Welch says
Love all the recs here, I know I can always find a good read. Currently I am reading a Crime novel called The Testimony of a Villain. It’s a hard read, but I feel better reading it. It’s by Aaron Harrell, his site for it is testimonyofavillain.com.