December is almost upon us, so it’s time to discuss our favorite Cozy mysteries that we’ve read in November. This month I discussed Jenn McKinlay‘s Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series and Rae Davies‘s Dusty Deals Mystery Series, so I’ll start the list off with those!
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 November? 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 November 2016 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:
Victoria Abbott (writing duo Mary Jane Maffini & daughter Victoria Maffini): Book Collectors Mystery Series
Ali Brandon (aka Diane A.S. Stuckart): Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series
JoAnna Carl (aka Eve K. Sandstrom): Chocoholic Mystery Series
Kate Carlisle: Fixer-Upper Mystery Series
Rae Davies (aka Lori Devoti): Dusty Deals Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Year-Round Christmas Mystery Series
Sarah Fox: Music Lover’s Mystery Series
Kerry Greenwood: Corinna Chapman Mystery Series
Susanna Hardy (aka Sadie Hartwell): Greek to Me Mystery Series
Joan Hess: Maggody Mystery Series
Judy La Salle: Scrooge, the Year After
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series
Jenn McKinlay (aka Josie Belle & Lucy Lawrence): Library Lover’s Mystery Series
Meg Muldoon: Christmas River Mystery Series (first book Murder in Christmas River)
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Hannah Reed (aka Deb Baker): Scottish Highlands Mystery Series
Victoria Thompson: Gaslight Mystery Series
Diane Vallere: Costume Shop 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 really love the Christmas River series by Meg Muldoon…Then I am reading “Scrooge, The Year After ” by Judy LaSalle…and this is very good too…Merry, merry….xo
I started Mary Ellen Hughes “Pickled and Preserved” Mystery series…
Terry Maly says
Of all the books that I read I had two favorites.
The first one was A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy. Georgie manages the Bonaparte house, a restaurant which her mother in law owns. On winter break she is having remodeling done. When she comes back from her hair appointment, she finds a dead body (he lawyer) in the construction debris. There are a lot of twists and turns . There are other crimes besides the murder and other criminals besides the killer. I think I enjoyed this book a lot because I was in this area this fall and I’m familiar with terms such George Boldt, Boldt castle and the legend of Thousand Island dressing.
The other book I liked was We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany. This is a great Christmas read with all the description of the town which stays Christmas all year round. I especially liked the description of the Yuletide inn — I’d like to stay there. Merry and the other store owners are worried about the murder that takes place and also about the a franchise hotel and store that might move in. Merry also worries about her dad being more than a person of interest for the police. The ending was the favorite part of the book.
Thanks, Terry. They both sound really good, and I’ve reserved them at my library.
This is my opportunity to thank the readers of this blog for, several months ago, recommending “Three Pines” as a place they would like to live. This is how I discovered Louise Penny and am now reading “A Rule Against Murder.”
I also finished Victoria Thompson’s “Murder in Morningside Heights.” One thing I like about Thompson is her “author notes” at the end of each book, providing historical facts as background for the story. In this book – no spoilers – the establishment of colleges for women to earn a profession like teaching, to support themselves after so many potential husbands died during the Civil War.
November Recommendations – 2016
Dressed to Kilt — Hannah Reed
Author Erin Eliott has moved to Scotland to explore this area as a setting for her romance series. This book is set at Christmas time.
After helping solve some murders, Erin had been deputized as a volunteer to the police detective.
A murder takes place at a whiskey tasting party. There are few suspects, but whittling it down is tedious.
Erin’s father disappeared in Scotland when she was 6 yrs. Old. She always believed he ran out on her mother and her. This story intertwines with the murder.
Erin is a very complex character, strong willed and smart. The other characters are fairly well-defined. The romance angle is pretty much nil. Oh, there’s possibilities, but no direction has been established.
This is a well-paced story and a quick/enjoyable read.
Murder at the Day Lily Café – Wendy Sand Eckel
Rosalie Hart has just opened up the café she dreamed about in a small community set in Maryland’s eastern shore. The brother-in-law of a friend is murdered. Of course, Rosalie and friends set out to solve this mystery.
I like the characters in this series, although ‘quirky’ at times. The mystery is well plotted and takes a few twists and turns to get to resolution. This author also lends some humor to her writing which makes the story especially enjoyable…………of course, this along with a dash of romance!
Masking For Trouble — Diane Valleere
I almost gave up on this series when it took me 100 pages to ‘get into’ the first book. I was glad I didn’t.
This time this second book hooks the reader a lot quicker. The setting is somewhat unusual in that it’s a costume shop in a small Nevada town. Margo Tamblyn has moved back to her hometown to help her father manage this store after he had a heart attack. Margo is an unusual, sharp character with a lot of pluck – really enjoyable. There are other characters that get more endearing as the reader gets to know them.
This is set at Halloween time, where a huge community costume event takes place at a run-down hotel, slated for demolition by a venture capitalist who wants to add casinos to the community. Well… someone is murdered (guess who?). Because of an adverse meeting with this man, Margo is a primary suspect.
An easy, quick read, smooth writing, surprise ending, and some ‘laughs’………..what’s not to like?
Twice Told Tale — Ali Brandon
Recently divorced Darla Pettistone moved from TX to NYC after inheriting a bookstore from her great aunt in NYC.
Her beloved neighbor is murdered in the next door antique shop. It’s a long, winding road to a solution, sometimes too wordy and detailed. However, the culprit is a surprise (well, at least until the last chapter or so). The characters are quite diverse which keeps the whole story entertaining. Hamlet, the cat, is the “featured character” throughout this series. Through his ‘wisdom’, he provides clues to the mystery.
I don’t get the romance angle in either the last book or this one. But I guess it is what it is. It just doesn’t seem ‘authentic’ (especially the last book) and certainly not realistic, even somewhat disjointed. All in all, I think other blog readers will like this enjoyable story mainly because of the endearing friends. 🙂
Chocolate Bunny Brouhaha — Joanna Carl
This series is often mentioned on this blog as one that is liked by everyone. This book, like the others, is well written with an interesting mystery, likeable characters, etc. I won’t go into all the details because it’s more “yada, yada, yada”.
HOWEVER, I wanted to use this book as an example to comment on some ‘theme’ books. This book is set at Easter time (released in November……… huh?). BUT, BUT, BUT the only reference to Easter is someone calls the chocolate shop to place a huge order of chocolate bunnies. Otherwise there is NO relationship to this holiday.
I have found this with other books that barely recognize or reference the holiday, except to say it is taking place at this time and they may do a little decorating if it’s Christmas or Halloween. Then there are other books that encompass the holiday (or season) full on…………making the reader really feel part of it.
This isn’t a criticism of anything, just an observation. I had no trouble reading the above ‘Easter’ book at Thanksgiving time. BUT it was difficult to read and feel the ‘xmas mood’ of ‘Diva Wraps It Up’ in June (just one example). On the other hand, the Celebration Bay Mystery series is an example of stories which encompass ‘full-on’ holiday mode.
I guess I’m mentioning this because Danna asked in an entry a week or so ago if we were reading any Christmas cozies. I actually read a couple of them in the last month or so. But in those cases, Christmas was barely referenced, although they were set in Dec.
Margaret StashEmpress says
I LOVED the Chocoholic title — and since I don’t do “holiday themes” at holiday times, I particularly appreciate that its not “full on holiday”!!!!
I read a number of good books this month. Two were already mentioned – A Killer Kebab and We Wish You a Murderous Christmas. New books in favorite series that I enjoyed were Dangling by a Thread by Lea Wait, The Hammett Hex by Victoria Abbott, and most especially Better Late Than Never by Jenn McKinlay. I think that readers who follow her library series will be very pleased with this book. I found a new series (can’t remember if someone on this site mentioned it or if it was an Amazon recommendation) The Oxford Tea Shop mysteries by H.Y. Hanna. A young woman returns to Oxford after eight years in Australia and invests all of her savings into opening a Tea Shop – knowing nothing about baking. I’ve read the first two books in the series so far as well as a short prequel and I’m looking forward to getting the next three books. The identity of the murderer in the first two books was a real surprise and I was not able to figure it out in advance. The supporting characters in the books are interesting and fun.
I’m still, in between other things, re-reading (For the umpteenth time) Joan Hess’s ‘Maggody’ series. Highly recommended!
Also looking over some of Kerry Greenwood’s books as well. (Apparently she’s a ‘Maggody’ fan, too! Lol!)
A piece of good news for her fans: Kerry is currently working on the seventh Corrina Chapman Mystery! Yay!!
I just finished Victoria Thompson’s, “Murder in Little Italy”, part of the Gaslight series. It is very interesting to read about 1890’s New York through the eyes of a mid-wife that comes out of a wealthy family. I learn a lot of history through these books.
Deck the Hallways — Kate Carlisle
Since it’s still ‘November’, I wanted to add this book to the recommendation list. I finished reading it a couple of minutes ago. It probably is the best book I read this month.
Shannon took over her father’s construction business a few years ago. She is in charge of renovating an old mansion into several apartment units. It’s a charitable project designed to house several homeless families. A person is found murdered in the butler’s pantry. Shannon’s dad is high on the suspect list because his ax was used as the weapon.
Carlisle ALWAYS weaves a good tale. And, this is no exception. The characters are well defined and the ongoing ones are developed with warmth and depth. The plot is very well paced. I had a very difficult time putting the book down (yes, I was reading at 3am this morning!).
What I really wanted to point out, however, is that this story is set at Christmas time with ALL THE TRIMMINGS 🙂 (another reason I wanted to get it on the November list). There are two side stories that are particularly heartwarming, fitting right into the season. And, perhaps a tear or two might be shed in the final chapter.
Kudos to the author for a ‘feel good’ story that is well written and extremely enjoyable.
I am really enjoying the musical series by Sarah Fox. The first book is Dead Ringer and there are two more. The series is set in Vancouver and gives a little sight into the city as well as a well-plotted mystery. The main character plays the violin with the local symphony so you get a look at the workings of the symphony too. Likeable characters and a little romance. Definitely recommend.
Margaret StashEmpress says
Somehow I missed this thread when it went up last week — or else the month just got away from me 😉
Not that I got that much reading done, so I’ll just save my Novembers to add to my December list (which probably won’t be that massive either) (blame it on Kindle gaming cutting into my cozy reading time LOL)
A School Inspector Calls – Rosie Cavendish
The main character is a British primary school teacher in the 90s and its the first book in a series. The writing about the children and the school is really fun and the teacher characters are very well described. It feels very well thought out and it gets into some stuff about school inspectors that is weirdly interesting. The main character uses her teaching skills to solve crimes which is quite funny too. I flew through it in an afternoon. The next book is called Murder on the Professional Development Weekend! Absolutely recommend!