We’re just about at the end of May, 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 Anna Gerard’s Georgia B&B 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 May? 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 May 2022 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Bree Baker (aka Jacqueline Frost, Julie Chase, & Julie Anne Lindsey): Seaside Cafe Mystery Series
M. C. Beaton (aka Marion Chesney): Agatha Raisin Mystery Series AND Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series
C. C. Benison (aka Doug Whiteway): Father Christmas Mystery Series
Ginger Bolton: Deputy Donut Mystery Series
Ellen Byron (aka Maria DiRico): Vintage Cookbook Mystery Series
Lorenzo Carcaterra: Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride
Kate Carlisle: Bibliophile Mystery Series
Laura Childs (aka Gerry Schmitt): Tea Shop Mystery Series
Ellen Crosby: Wine Country Mystery Series
J.C. Eaton: Sophie Kimball Mystery Series
Peggy Ehrhart: Knit & Nibble Mystery Series
Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swensen Mystery Series
Agatha Frost: Peridale Cafe Mystery Series
Anna Gerard (aka Diane A.S. Stuckart and Ali Brandon): Georgia B&B Mystery Series
Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames): Cookbook Nook Mystery Series
Claudia Gray: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
Barbara Hamilton: Abigail Adams Mystery Series
A.L. Herbert: Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery Series
Tara Lush: Coffee Lover’s Mystery Series (first entry Grounds For Murder)
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series
Barbara Neely: Blanche White Mystery Series
Robin Paige (aka Susan Wittig Albert & husband Bill Albert): Victorian Mystery Series
Amanda Quick: Burning Cove, California Mystery Series (first entry The Girl Who Knew Too Much)
Karen Rose Smith: Daisy’s Tea Garden Mystery Series
Jesse Q. Sutanto: Aunties Mystery Series (first entry Dial A For Aunties)
Eliza Watson: Mags and Biddy Genealogy Mystery Series (first entry How to Fake an Irish Wake)
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.
Susy S says
I read several good books this month, even though my reading time has been seriously impacted by the quilting machine I bought in November and now the embroidery machine I bought on Friday.
First up, Murder with Darjeeling Tea by Karen Rose Smith was good enough to pull me away from the new embroidery machine. Once again, Daisy, Jonas and the crew are drawn into solving a murder, and while there were a number of suspects, I never expected who the killer really was.
I also really enjoyed When She Dreams by Amanda Quick, which might be more properly classified as romantic suspense.
Strawberried Alive by Jenn McKinlay was a satisfying as all the other books in this series have been. This time it looks like Mel is the killers actual target, so everyone is trying to keep her safe, which is driving her crazy….
Susy and I generally agree on the same reads (except I’m not an historical fiction fan).
I’m about a third of the way through Strawberried Alive. So far, so good (as is normal for a McKinlay book). But will have to wait until next month to recommend it. I “think” (??) I figured out a wrong premise in the first few chapters……….but we’ll see if that holds out at the end.
Susy S says
I will say that this one WAS rather different from the others in the series.
I don’t know what you see as a wrong premise, but I usually don’t read that critically for things like this as I mostly read for escapism.
Susy S says
I also don’t often read historical fiction, but one day I found myself in need of something to read and the only thing available was the first book in the Countess of Harleigh series by Dianne Freeman. I rather enjoy that our AS refuses to be bond by the rules of society, and yet retains her position regardless.
I read Twisted Tea Christmas by Laura Childs. It was very good, like all her books.
Jo Anne Yerkes says
Just read Joanne Fluke’s Caramel Pecan Roll Murder and enjoyed it just like the whole series before it.
Carol J. says
I loved Claudia Gray’s the Murder of Mr. Wickham.
Gray decides to look at all of Austen’s principal couples, across the six finished novels, & makes decisions about who was married first (note: for Sense & Sensibility, she only uses the Brandons). Thus, in her world the Darcys & Tilneys were among the first married; the Brandons were among the last, so the Darcys have an adult son & the Tilneys a grown daughter, while the Brandons are newlyweds. With this adjustment, she is able to concoct plausible rationales for all the couples (or one of their children) to be at Donwell Abbey as guests of the Knightleys. Into the midst of this house party, in walks Wickham, sometime blackmailer, sometime investment swindler.
After he’s murdered, Jonathan Darcy & Juliet Tilney turn detective. Added twist, Jonathan Darcy seems to be somewhere on the autism spectrum, a trait he may have gotten from his dad, which explains a lot right there.
The mystery is as well done as PD James’s Death Comes to Pemberley. Her handling of the Austen material is as well done as Jill Paton Walsh’s of Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey.
Highly recommend the book. Claudia Gray has previously written offshoots to the Star Wars series; I am hopeful she continues to turn her attention elsewhere.
Ellen Byron, on last one. Wonderful I am native Texan but my mother lived in Covington for 20 years and two brother in laws were native Louisiana. So many good food and fun memories. Went to French quarter first time 1960 on our honeymoon.
Sally Fortney says
I bought 3 of Ellen Crosby’s Virginia winemaker series at the library book sale. Although they’re not as cozy as the ones I usually read, I love the history and the location. The Merlot Murders is the first one.
I also read Saddled Up 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton. Phee’s mother and her little dog are so funny!
Susy S says
I don’t know how Phee manages not to Kill her mother and the crazy friends. Sun City is full of crazies, so I guess it is just what one should expect there.
Last month I recommended the latest book (Bitter Roots) in the Merlot Murders. I’ve read every book in this series and ALL well written mysteries. The characters are developed with so much depth and uniqueness.
The stories are more intense than some others in this genre, but well worth the read.
Jane L. says
I’ve read all in this series and they are all very enjoyable. I am looking forward to the next installment. I would like to recommend Kim M. Watt’s “Gobbelino London” books. Very amusing wizard and sarcastic cat books. Well worth the read!
Rob Jarrad says
Dear Danna et all:
I’ve been very busy doing other things this month like job hunting and dealing with a crack in the ceiling plaster. But I did manage to get in a few books.
Robin Paige (aka William and Susan Whittig Albert-author of China Bayles mysteries) writes a Victorian and Edwardian series with Sir Charles and Lady Kathryn Sheridan-a husband and wife sleuthing duet that I’ve really enjoyed reading. I read this series some years ago but have returned. Very enjoyable series.
Also Peggy Ehrhart always delights in her Knit and Nibble series and I enjoy her detailed writings about food along with her almost “Cagney and Lacey” sleuthing team with Betting Fraser, Very good characters that you enjoy spending time with. A winning series.
Lisa N says
I’m really into cozies. I’d like to recommend Ginger Bolton’s Deputy Donut series. Emily Westhill, a widow, and her father in law own the bakery together. The shop is named after Emily’s cat, who goes to the shop with her. The back story and relationships drew me in. Loved the first book.
The other series I really enjoy is by Kate Carlisle, the Bibliophile series about my favorite bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright and her British husband, sexy security expert Derek Stone. There’s a large cast of characters including 5 brothers & sisters plus close friends. The settings range from San Francisco to Napa and overseas. Lots of humor. Great series!
Susy S says
I also enjoyed this series, and read it all in just a few weeks after finding the first book.
Diane Harpist says
I love this Deputy Donut series! Just a bit different enough to be interesting, with catchy plots and characters. Thanks for reminding me to seek out more installments in the series!
I read The Ninth Daughters by Barbara Hamilton who is also published under Barbara Hambly. The Ninth Daughter is the first book in the Abigail Adams mystery series. I picked this up by sheer chance at my local library. It was very good! It is set in the days of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. I rarely read anything from this period so I was hooked. Very well-written, great characters, good sense of the time and the mores of pre-revolutionary America. It was fascinating to see the contrast between good and evil and the damage done to minds during that period . I’ve already reserved the second book in the series.
I have two I’d like to recommend.
First, Dial A for Aunties, by Jesse Q. Sutanto.
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while – and I was not disappointed. The only problem I have is – is it really a mystery?
You know who, how, and why right from the beginning. The rest is about how the family gets out of it.
The story is part rom-com, part Weekend at Bernie’s, and part The Trouble with Harry.
It’s laugh out loud funny and very charming – in the end it’s all about the love of family.
I will be reading the next one.
I also read Partners In Lime by Bree Baker.
Every Swan owns an ice tea shop on the outer banks of North Carolina. A pro surfer is murdered on the beach and Everly sets out to find the culprit, even though she is told time and time again to stay out of it by her detective boyfriend. The plot has plenty of twists that keep you guessing and the characters are well thought out. It even ends with a cliffhanger. I will be reading the next book.
Oh! Recipes, there are recipes!
BTW – Peach Clobbered sounds great! It’s going on the To Be Read list 😃
I’m reading Eleven Pipers Piping by CC Benison. It’s a well written book which takes place in England. Description of the town and characters and are wonderful.
May Recommendations – 2022
Pleading the Fish — Bree Baker
This is the seventh and final book of this Seaside Café series. I also recommend you read the books in order because of character evolution and interactions. I am sorry 🙁 it’s ending because it’s such an engaging series.
Everly Swan is owner of the Seaside Café. She is engaged to Detective Grady Hayes. It’s been a long time myth (curse) in the Swan family that the men die early who are married to Swan women. Thus, Everly wrestles with this as she plans her wedding.
Everly is a smart and VERY independent character, written with wittiness. As are the characters of her two aunts who raise bees and sell products in their bee store. The sensitivity of Grady Hayes is apparent throughout this series. His son is a gem. Several other characters all play very active roles throughout each book. The plots are well written and move along quickly.
A local historian looking into the Swan history is found murdered. As
Everly delves into the Swan family past, she finds some interesting relevant discoveries.
A famous ‘Swan’ lemon cake is often mentioned in each book throughout this series. The recipe is included in this book.
This author ends this series perfectly in the final chapters! I said the same thing about Ellen Byron’s final book her Cajun series. ALL ‘series’ authors should take note. It’s SOOO well done by these two authors.
In this book there is a discussion of names between Everly and Grady. The reader more or less forgets about this discussion. THEN on page 314 about the middle of the page is a LAUGH OUT LOUD moment you just can’t miss. Even though it was about 11:00pm when I read it, I was really, really chuckling!
Grounds For Murder — Tara Lush
This is a new to me author and I believe her first foray into the cozy mystery genre. Lana Lewis manages the coffee shop previously owned by her mother. She moved to this Florida coastal area (her home town) from Miami when her marriage dissolved and she lost her job with the local newspaper (you know, the somewhat usual background ‘conditions’ for any new cozy!!).
Lana plans to enter a state barista contest with her locally famous barista “Fab” Bellucci. However he has jumped ship and went to work for Lana’s competitor. When Lana returned home from a Miami award event and she found the body of this barista in the alley behind her business.
The characters are somewhat quirky including Lana’s father who enjoys yoga and uses marijuana (for medical purposes). Readers will certainly enjoy Lana’s dog ‘Stanley”. He makes his presence known throughout the story! The pacing of this mystery moves along smoothly for the reader with some humor thrown in to keep if a fun read.
There are a few suspect possibilities which keeps one ‘guessing’. I don’t know about other readers, but I was surprised at the ending. There are at least two more books in this series. I’m looking forward to reading — “Cold Brew Corpse” (released 12/21) and “Live and Let Grind” (to be released 10/22)
This is a nice entry into the ‘cozy’ world. Lush brings some background creds to the table since she’s an investigative reporter.
Simmering With Resentment — Daryl Wood Gerber
This is the 11th book in the series. Yet, when I started reading it I was drawing a blank as to the characters. Yay to Gerber for including a list of characters at the beginning of the book. When I went back to look at them, the recollection all came swiftly back to me.
I’ve read many of this author’s (Gerber, Aames) series and always enjoy them (especially the Cheese Shop series).
Jenna Hart co-owner of the Cookbook Nook is engaged to Rhett, owner of a nearby restaurant. While preparing for their engagement party at his restaurant a homemade bomb explodes. Rhett is injured and is in the hospital for several days.
There is much background intrigue involved in this mystery. A previous co-owner of the restaurant had set fire to it and then ran off with the insurance money. There are plenty of suspects.
The ‘regular’ characters are well developed and quite varied. Love their friendships and interactions. As normal for this author, the story has several twists and turns, yet flows so smoothly. It’s an enjoyable read.
This is another series that’s important to read from the beginning. You can still enjoy this book if you haven’t read the others, but the evolving connections of all the characters is much better understood if read from the series in order.
Peridale Cafe mysteries by Agatha Frost
Lauren Howard says
I’ve been reading several mysteries for the past several months: Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery (A.L. Herbert), Agatha Raisin Mystery(M.C.Beaton), Hamish Macbeth Mystery(M.C. Beaton), and Blanche White Mystery(Barbara Neely).
Lauren Howard says
FYI- I forgot to add why I enjoyed them….
All of the above mentioned cozy mysteries have sleuths with excellent backstories that make them relatable and none of them are twenty something years old. They each possess a series of lived experiences that most people can connect with in one way or another. None of sleuths initially desire investigating, even Hamish Macbeth, the Constable, but they are thrust into murder capers that can only be solved by their innate problem solving skills.
thank you for the Soul Food series recommendation! I love reading about different foods and ethnicities 🙂 I have Agatha Raisin on hold at my library, I keep reading so much about that series. Couldn’t get into Hamish but gonna give Agatha a try :))
I’ve enjoyed several great books this month. I want to share a new series (I hope), Nonna Marie and the Case of the Missing Bride, by Lorenzo Carcaterra.
This appears to be a first installment of a new series set on an Italian island. Nonna Marie is a widow in her late 60s/early 70s who know everyone on her small island and they all come to her for help and advice. This book begins with a you woman coming to Nonna Marie for help because she is engaged to marry a man she met about two weeks before and can not remember anything about the last two weeks. Also, an old friend of Nonna Marie’s, a tour boat captain in his 80s dies is what is called “an accident”. Nonna Marie believes otherwise and sets out to prove it. It was a light, quick read, maybe a great beach read. As I mentioned the ending leaves the door open for the next installment. I highly recommend it.
Peggy G. says
I get 20 books a week curb-side. I tried to find something about horse racing to celebrate the Kentucky DERBY! Now that I have this list from my fellow mystery writers, I will know what to reserve for next week!
The Significant Seven: A Jack Doyle Mystery by John McEvoy. He lives in IL.
Barbara B. says
I have been reading Jessica Ellicott’s Beryl & Edwina series, set in the years after WWI, in the English countryside, in a village called Walmsley Parva. I have just read “Murder Comes To Call”, and the ladies are now firmly ensconced as private detectives, with each book presenting a murder, and a couple other related crimes. Ms. Ellicott does a fabulous job of character development, so that with each book in the series, different facets of Beryl & Edwina emerge.
Annette W says
I’ve really enjoyed Fiona Grace with the Lacey Doyle series. Lacey always seems to get into trouble finding dead bodies and ending up being the prime suspect having to clear her name. Especially since Superintendent Turner is always out to get her. Set in Wilfordshire, England is a nice change of pace. Her trusted companion is her English shepherd, Chester. Lacey is also looking for her long lost father, will she find him?