March is almost over, so it’s time to talk about our favorite Cozy Mysteries that we read in the last 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! I’ve actually had the time to do some reading, so I have two series to recommend – Amanda Lee’s Embroidery Mystery Series, and one of the classics that really should have been on this list long since, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple Mystery Series.
As always, 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 2018 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:
Susan Wittig Albert: Darling Dahlias Mystery Series
Jennifer Ashley: Below Stairs Mystery Series (first entry Death Below Stairs)
Lorna Barrett (aka L. L. Bartlett & Lorraine Bartlett): Booktown Mystery Series
Bethany Blake: Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery Series
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt): Tea Shop Mystery Series
Agatha Christie: Miss Marple Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Pen & Ink Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery Series
Amanda Flower (aka Isabella Alan): Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series
Mario Giordano: Auntie Poldi Mystery Series (first entry Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions)
Sarah Graves: Death By Chocolate Mystery Series
Tarquin Hall: Files of Vish Puri Mystery Series
Anna Lee Huber: Lady Darby Mystery Series
Amanda Lee: Embroidery Mystery Series
Mandy Morton: Hettie Bagshot Mystery Series (first entry The No. 2 Feline Detective Agency)
Carlene O’Connor: Irish Village Mystery Series
D.M. Quincy: Atlas Catesby Mystery Series (first entry Murder in Mayfair)
Teresa Trent: Pecan Bayou Mystery Series
Lea Wait: Mainely Needlepoint 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.
I’ve been waiting to do this!
Cat lovers will adore Mandy Morton’s series of the No. 2 Feline Detective Agency. Yes, it is a pun on Alexander McCall’s series. The series does not have to be read in order but there are small references in each book to the previous, (nothing that will impact whatever book you may read first).
They are quick, easy reads. The two main characters, Hettie and Tilly are delightful.
It took me a few pages to actually figure out their world. Admittedly when I did I was annoyed because I thought the book may be juvenile or fantasy like and I don’t generally enjoy that type of theme. I am very happy I continued reading and didn’t put the book down. The plot lines, characters and settings are thoroughly enjoyable and lighthearted. Hettie and Tillie are also on Facebook. About once a month or so, they’ll have a cute post.
The other recommendation is a new series. The first book is “Auntie Poldi & the Sicilian Lions” translated from Italian to English by John Brownjohn. (The book was a People Magazine recommendation.)
The story of amateur sleuth is told through her nephew. Auntie Poldi is a 60 year old German who moved to Italy. Auntie Poldi and Lions is a book with a lot of character development, character background, many descriptives. I struggled with the first 30 or so pages because I thought it was a little too wordy and too many adjectives, etc. but here too I am pleased I didn’t give up on the book. Poldi is a relatable, albeit sad, but strong woman and I grew to like her a lot.
Do you know if there are any plans for more books in the embroidery series? I know she writes under other names but this series is one of my favorites.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Aimee, I’m afraid I haven’t heard anything new about the Embroidery series recently.
Shirley L. says
I believe the latest one is the last one in the series. I liked this series, also, so I’ll miss it.
Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley, a Kat Holloway mystery.
March Recommendations -2018
Color Me Murder — Krista Davis
I’ve read all other books by this author and have always liked them, so was fairly certain this, too, would be one I’d enjoy. I never read the back or synopsis of a book before I start it because I don’t want to know who is murdered before it is revealed.
HOWEVER, from the beginning I was so taken with a character in this book, that by page 20 I looked on the inside cover to see who was killed. It if was going to be this character, I was going to stop reading the book! Luckily it wasn’t this person that I really liked.
FIRST of all, yay, yay, yay to Davis for putting a list of characters in the beginning of the book. It is SO helpful, especially with a new series. (She left out the guard, though.)
Florrie Fox is the manager of a Georgetown bookstore, Color Me Read. She’s also intelligent, creative, and an artist. The bookstore is owned by a prominent and wealthy professor. A relative of the professor is murdered in the store and the professor is arrested. Florrie gets involved in trying to find the truth.
The characters are so well developed, complex, and enjoyable. This cast includes Florrie, the professor, employees of the bookstore, friends of the professor and regular customers, the butler, Florrie’s parents and sister, a police sergeant (romantic interest). Also playing a prominent role is the ex-wife of the professor.
It’s a skillfully crafted mystery (as are ALL Davis’s mysteries) with many turns, keeping the reader totally absorbed. It’s very difficult to put down! It has a surprising and somewhat complicated ending. It’s unlikely anyone would be able to figure it out.
I know there are many Davis fans on this site. I highly recommend this well written book (I even like it better than the Diva series).
Cat of Baskervilles — Vicki Delany
This is the third book in the Sherlock Homes Bookshop series. This bookshop focusing on Sherlock Holmes books and items is owned by Gemma Doyle. The attached tea shop is owned by her friend Jayne.
A famous aging London actor will play the lead in ‘Hounds of Baskerville’ in a community theater production. Although he’s played this role before, he has many problems with the role due to his drinking. He is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. At first, it is determined to be an accident. When it is ruled a murder, Jayne’s mother emerges as a suspect.
This is an intriguing story with quick paced dialogue and action.
The Gemma character is smart, gutsy, and loveable. Several other characters add delight and enjoyment to this series. It’s a somewhat complex plot with a surprise ending (at least, I thought so). A terrific series with great writing.
Lethal Licorice — Amanda Flower
This is another Amish type mystery by this author. I always applaud her abilities to bring the reader the pros and cons of a story. She is obviously a very prolific writer.
Bailey King has moved from NYC (where she was head chocolatier to a famous confectioner) to this small Ohio Amish community to help her grandmother with the family candy store after her grandfather had died. Bailey is ‘English’, whereas her grandmother is Amish.
This multifaceted character is rich with depth, intelligence, and compassion. Other mainstay characters need to be further developed in this new series, but are emerging as unique additions to the story lines.
This story is centered around a national Amish candy competition story line held in this community. One of the participants from a neighboring community is murdered. Bailey is one of the suspects, so obviously gets involved with finding the real culprit.
The story is rich with several interpersonal relationships, keeping the reader engaged page after page. I almost always recommend this author, finding her stories well researched and well written. It even offers some humorous aspects.
Death By Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake – Sarah Graves
Well…………when I got this book I thought it was the first in a new series (as described on the front cover). Much to my surprise when I started reading it, I found a vague familiarity with the character names and decided to check it out further.
Several years ago, I read a book or two in Grave’s home repair series and didn’t read any more because I lost interest. Upon checking back on the ‘home repair’ series, I found the characters are the same. BUT they now own a bake shop (guess that is why it’s a ‘new series’!). This story is set in July in a small Maine community.
Graves does a decent job of explaining the background of Jake Tiptree (family, husband, son, etc.) heretofore. BUT she doesn’t explain Ellie’s (Jake’s partner) background. The reader has to discover it as the story progresses. It was surprising to learn that Ellie has a husband and a daughter (absolutely NO clue as to the daughter’s age is ever revealed). Some of this isn’t explained until halfway through the book. Ellie’s role in this story is equally as prominent as Jake’s role.
Ellie has had many run-ins with a much detested food inspector. He is found murdered in the bake shop. Ellie is the number one suspect. She is arrested and jailed. (Story flaw – her husband is out of town on a job assignment and doesn’t even return to help his wife or even see her in jail – unimaginable!).
I really like the variety of characters with quite diverse personalities. It makes for some fascinating story lines. The author is able to outline the possible range of suspects and keep the reader guessing until the last few chapters. This is a well-paced and well plotted story.
Plum Tea Cozy — Laura Childs
GOOD NEWS! The old Theodosia seems to be back. In the last book she was invaded with a different personality. Even her romantic interest (police detective) has recovered from his wimpiness in the last book and has redeveloped the spine he had in previous books.
This series is somewhat formula written. The murder always occurs in the first chapter at an event. In this case the victim is a board member of the Historical Society. It happens at the director’s home where several people were gathered to watch a parade. It’s an intriguing murder since he was shot with an arrow from a neighboring building.
Theodosia and Drayton are front and center in solving this mystery. I kind of figured out ‘who-dun-it’, but it isn’t readily apparent, and I certainly didn’t know the reason why.
The one problem I have with the book is the screaming sound effects throughout the book. It is distracting and is usually only found in children’s books. I’ve read most of Child’s books and don’t remember seeing this ever before. When I see something different stylistically with a book I wonder if some of the writing has been outsourced.
BUT this series always has a good mystery, so I continually recommend it.
I liked everything I read this month, but there are two series that really stood out and are at the top of my favorites list:
“Assaulted Caramel” and “Lethal Licorice” from Amanda Flower’s Amish Candy Shop Mystery Series. This series has a likeable main character and supporting characters. Bailey King is the granddaughter of an Amish couple (her father left the Amish way of life to marry her mother). When her grandfather falls ill, she visits him and her grandmother in Harvest, Ohio, and through a series of events, ends-up staying. The mysteries kept me guessing up until the reveal. The setting is quaint (and reminds me of an adorable little town that I visit a couple of times a year), and the candy shop that Bailey and her grandparents run is filled to the brim with mouth-watering confections such as fudge, truffles and peanut brittle (with recipes included). There is also an adorable, polka-dotted pot bellied pig that causes his share of mischief, but also serves as a bit of comic relief. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, and look forward to the third release, “Premeditated Peppermint” coming-out in September.
“Murder in Mayfair” and “Murder in Bloomsbury” from D.M. Quincy’s Atlas Catesby Mystery Series. This series takes place in Regency England (early 1800’s), and features adventurer, Atlas Catesby as the amateur sleuth. I typically don’t gravitate towards historical stories, but something about this series intrigued me, and I’m so glad I decided to give it a go. I really love it! The four central characters; Atlas, his best friend who is an Earl, his sister who is a mathematician, and his possibly/probably love interest, are all multi-faceted, and the dynamics between all of them are interesting with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure. When I finished the second book, I was left craving more…I seriously wished I had several more books in this series on my TBR pile. I did write to the author, and received a reply that she is currently working on the third book, so I am eagerly awaiting its release, whenever that will be.
Danna – If you don’t currently have the Atlas Catesby Mystery series on your list to add to the website, I highly recommend it!
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Melanie, I do keep an eye on these posts for authors to add to the site, so I’ll probably be adding D.M. Quincy to the list of authors to add – but it might be a while as the list is quite long!
Hey, Melanie……….Great minds think alike!!! (Since, I too, recommended Lethal Licorice.)
If you haven’t already read it, you may also enjoy her Appleseed Creek Mystery series (4 books) and her Amish Quilt Mystery series written under her pseudonym Isabella Allen. I’ve read all the books in both of these series and have enjoyed them. I’ve recommended these on previous posts. Amanda Flower is a good storyteller.
Hi MJ – I actually have the Amish Quilt Mystery series on my wish list. I’ll have to look into the Appleseed Creek Mystery series. Thank you for the suggestions! 🙂
Upon your recommendation, I ordered the first Amanda Lee Embroidery. I look forward to reading it.
The problem I have is the eyes are as old as me, and I have trouble reading the small print in paperback books, and not all books come in hard back. I really wish they would and I can understand the costs of that can be problemic.
I enjoy your news letters; they give me tips for good reading!
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Pat, I know it doesn’t work for some people who have trouble with reading from screens, but I’ve found that reading Kindles where I can adjust the font size is helpful for me.
Some of Amanda Lee’s books in this series are in hardcover. I also checked and found they are all in large print. My library system has them in their inventory.
You may want to check with your library and if they don’t have them they can get them for you through ILL (Inter Library Loan). A GREAT service offered by our libraries.
Elizabeth, Librarian says
You should try your local library. Some cozy series are available in large print. And those large print versions are typically only sold to libraries.
I just finished Tarquin Hall’s “The Case of the Missing Servant,” the first book in the Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator. The book came out in 2009, so as usual, I’m a bit behind. It is a bit more intense than a “real” cozy, but it also gives glimpses of life in New Delhi, India, which I found fascinating! AND there’s a glossary of Indian terms in the back of the book, so you don’t get too lost. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.
This book is a bit description-heavy, so it slows things down a little, but when dealing with such a rich, exotic location, I don’t mind this a bit!
Carol K. says
I have been reading Lorna Barrett’s Booktown Mysteries this month, and have enjoyed them so much. It’s interesting to see women follow their dreams in spite of everything.
Joan B. says
Me too. These are wonderful. I’m ordering them in ILL in order.
Janice G says
My favorite book this month was Pawprints and Predicaments by Bethany Blake. I often laughed out loud while reading this story, especially the main characters description of her Bassett Hound’s thoughts and emotions, for example he’s not still sleeping in the morning – he just enjoys a moment of quiet contemplation before starting his day. The identity of the murderer was a real surprise too.
Color Me Murder is the first book in a new series by Krista Davis. The main character works in a bookstore in Washington DC- the same area as her Diva series – while also constructing adult coloring books. I enjoyed the story and there are a lot of interesting characters.
Murder in an Irish Churchyard the third book in the series by Carlene O’Connor was also good. An American visiting Ireland with his whole family to research and film a documentary regarding his ancestors is found murdered in the cemetery. There is a very interesting solution to the mystery.
Betsy N says
My favorite book this month was Twisted Threads (a Mainely Needlepoint Mystery) by Lea Wait. Definitely a darker cozy than usual. I love the relationship between the MC Angie and her Gram Charlotte as well as the way Angie is coming to terms with her past and finding her purpose. Two mysteries solved and a very satisfying read. I’ve ordered the next five books in this series and can’t wait for them to arrive!
Teressa Eastman says
I really enjoyed “A Dark and Stormy Murder” by Jacklyn Brady.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Teressa, do you mean A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley?
susy lewis says
The Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber is very good. I enjoy historicals and all the detail of the period. One of the books is set in Rathfarnham, Ireland, and its description brought back all my memories of my lovely trip!
My favorite read this month was Till Dirt Do Us Part by Teresa Trent. The whole Pecan Bayou series is enjoyable and this book did not disappoint.
I forgot to mention that I just preordered from Amazon Rockets Dead Glare (a Tourist Trap Mystery) by Lynn Cahoon. It will be released on June 5th. It was $1.99 today, not sure how long that price is good for.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
KG, thanks for the “heads up”!
Oops I’m late this month but wanted to say how much I’m enjoying Susan Wittig Albert’s Darling Dahlias series. I read the first one, The Darling Dahlias and The Cucumber Tree and one later in the series, The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O’Clock Lady. I really love hearing about life in Alabama during the depression.