We’re just about at the end of October, 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 Edward Marston’s Railway Detective 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 October? 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 October 2020 that you want the rest of us to know about, and why did you enjoy it?
Mignon F. Ballard: Miss Dimple Mystery Series
M. C. Beaton (aka Marion Chesney): Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series
Catherine Bruns: Italian Chef Mystery Series
Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib): Key West Food Critic Mystery Series
Hope Callaghan: Garden Girls Mystery Series AND Cruise Ship Mystery Series
Chris Cavender (aka Tim Myers, Elizabeth Bright, Melissa Glazer, Casey Myers, Jessica Beck, & D.B. Morgan): Pizza Lover’s Mystery Series
Jill Churchill: Grace and Favor Mystery Series
Maya Corrigan: Five-Ingredient Mystery Series
Krista Davis: Paws & Claws Mystery Series
Vicki Delany (aka Eva Gates): Tea By the Sea Mystery Series
Peggy Ehrhart: Knit & Nibble Mystery Series
Jessica Ellicott (aka Jessie Crockett & Jessica Estevao): Beryl and Edwina Mystery Series
Sharon Farrow (aka 1/2 of D.E. Ireland): Berry Basket Mystery Series
Sally Goldenbaum: Seaside Knitters Society Mystery Series
Carolyn Haines: Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Series
Victoria Hamilton (aka Amanda Cooper): Vintage Kitchen Mystery Series
Sofie Kelly (aka Sofie Ryan & Darlene Ryan for Young Adult): Magical Cats Mystery Series
Peter Lovesey (reportedly not Cozy): Peter Diamond Mystery Series (first entry The Last Detective)
Edward Marston: Railway Detective Mystery Series
Sarah Osborne: Ditie Brown Mystery Series (first entry Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot)
Paige Shelton: Alaska Wild Mystery Series
Ashley Weaver: Amory Ames 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 am reading the Carolyn Haines series and love them.
Also am finishing up the Jessica Ellicott Seriries with Edwina And Beryl Detective series
And am also enjoying the Dawn Brookes Cruise Murder mysteries
Thanks for the referrals
Kathie Deviny says
Not exactly a cozy but Peter Lovesey’s latest, “The Finisher” is a great career capper for this prolific English author, whose mysteries are set in Bath.
I recommend author Emily Organ’s Churchill and Pemberley series. A fun Cozy Mystery series with dry humor set in 1930s England countryside. Organ is a good writer. She also has her Penny Green series, which to me is not a Cozy but a good general mystery series.
Wanda Pelfrey says
I just discovered Mignon F. Ballard’s Miss Dimple Disappears. It is a delightful, Southern cozy set in World War II at Thanksgiving.
October Recommendations – 2020
Key Lime Crime – Lucy Burdette
This creative author is a clinical psychologist. With this background she delves into the characters and really brings them to life. And, they are so diverse. Because of this I always enjoy her stories, even her golfing series. There’s a ‘smartness’ and intelligence to her writing.
This series is set in Key West. Because of the visual realism this writer is able to project on the pages, there is one downside. I felt claustrophobic while reading this book……………so crowded with so many people.
Haley Snow is a food critic for a local newspaper. In this story there is a Key Lime Pie contest in the community during the holidays. One of the contestant’s is murdered. Haley’s new mother-in-law suddenly comes to town unexpectedly. Because of her husband’s busy schedule, Haley is tasked with spending much time with her. They become cohorts in solving this murder.
The story has so many surprising twists which includes side stories that keep the reader glued to the pages. Ir’s a good read. But like many series you should start with book one to understand all the interactions and intricacies of the characters.
A Case of Cat and Mouse — Sofie Kelly
This is a popular series often recommended on this site. Perhaps that’s because of the ‘stars’ Hercules and Owen, librarian Kathleen Parker ‘magical’ cats. Although, in this book there is less focus on these cats than in previous books. There author injects wit into her stories.
This is the 12th book in the series and I’ve read them all. BUT I had trouble keeping the various characters straight. I really needed a character listing in the beginning of the book.
A cooking show is being filmed in this small MN (Mayville Heights) community. It’s kind of fun to read a book set in a community one knows. Because Kelly identifies many community landmarks, I happen to know they are in Red Wing, MN. I have very close friends who live there.
Because of her librarian background, Kathleen is a historical researcher for this show. One of the judges is murdered. There are several possible suspects to keep one guessing throughout the story. It’s a light enjoyable read with a somewhat surprising ending.
Gingerdead Man — Maya Corrigan
This is another book set during the holidays. Val Deniston lives with her grandfather (Don), who imagines himself as an amateur detective and writes a food column in the local newspaper. Val manages a café in a health club and is also a caterer.
There is a small dinner party for the key participants in the local Dicken’s festival. The man playing Santa Claus eats a gingerbread (called ‘gingerdead’) cookie that has poison in it.
Val and her grandfather get drawn in to investigate this crime. There are several events that take place to make this a complex story. Unknown character backgrounds come to light. It really is a fun read, especially as the holidays are approaching.
It Cannoli Be Murder — Catherine Bruns
This is the second book in a series I’m finding quite interesting. Widow Tessa Esposito is preparing to open a new Italian restaurant. Her cousin, Gabby, owns a book store. Gabby hosts a book signing of an arrogant famous author. This author’s publicist (Daphne) is a nemesis of Gabby’s from high school. YEP — she’s the one who is murdered. Her body was discovered in the bookstore. Both Tessa and Gabby are suspects.
Of course they must investigate, much to the dismay of Gabby’s brother, a police detective. This story is well plotted and flows smoothly with several ‘secrets’ to be discovered. The characters are well written with depth. There are enjoyable complexities between these characters. Although you may be able to figure out the culprit, the story still is a fun read with entertaining side stories.
Knit of the Living Dead — Peggy Ehrhart
This is a Halloween themed mystery, so is a good read for this month. The story revolves around a knitting group which includes one male knitter. However, the story focuses on Pamela (she edits a knitting magazine) and her neighbor, Bettina, who writes for a local weekly paper.
Everyone is in costume while attending a local community event. ‘Little Bo Peep’ is discovered murdered in a nearby woods. At first everyone assumes the victim is a neighbor of one of the knitters.
There are more murders to come. The mystery holds the reader’s interest throughout the book as Pamela and Bettina investigate to find a resolution. The characters are quite enjoyable and well developed.
I wish the author would include neighbor Richard in more of the storyline. Although mentioned, he was conspicuously absent in this story. He was featured in previous stories, but nada in this one.
Keep in mind this is a very ‘descriptive’ (wordy?) author. She mentions numerous times about how she drinks her coffee out of a cup from her ‘wedding’ china. In fact she has mentioned this numerous times in all her previous books. This is just one example of the ‘detail’ this author uses. I found myself skipping pages of this type of unnecessary writing, thus making it a ‘quick’ read.
HOWEVER, since I can easily do that, I keep reading this series because I like the characters and creative mysteries in each book. SO, I recommend you read it. AGAIN, it’s another series which should be read starting with book one.
Sally Fortney says
I read Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot by Sarah Osbourne. It’s a little different because it starts with a friend asking the sleuth to watch her children. The friend is killed, and people are looking for something they think the children have. Still cozy but more suspenseful than some. Stay safe and well.
Rob J says
I’m reading the Knit and Nibble series as well and just finished the fifth one (fatal yarn) and I like the author’s use of positive male role models. I’ve written to the author and Ms. Ehrhart discussed her using her husband as the model for Wilfred. So I can relate as my dad was that kind of guy too. (so is her dad at 102 yrs).
Looking forward to #6, and she is busy on #7 and 8 as well as being one of three authors in Death of a Christmas Card Crafter novellas.
I agree that you need to start with #1 for the series to make sense and I also concur that the characters are delightful. I think the neighbor, Mr. Larkin has a love interest so he is not relevant to Pamela anymore.
Another great series with a distinctly Halloween feel, you need to start with the first book-in Leigh Perry’s Sid the Skeleton series but the Halloween title is THe Skeleton Haunts a House. All fun and tongue in cheek humor. I find myself laughing while reading it. Both great reads. The first book in this series is: A Skeleton in the Family.
Ahhhhh…………..but the author controls the storyline. Ms. Ehrhart introduced the possible romance between Pamela and Richard. THEN, suddenly dropped it. HUH?
I REALLY object because I liked the story line and it makes NO sense that she dropped it. I assume she didn’t want to write a romance story line anymore. Why even bother to start it? I’m very disappointed!
Some authors are far better than others when writing a romance story line with a mystery. Perhaps this isn’t Ms. Ehrhart’s forte so she decided to change direction.
I’d like to put in a plug for the latest J. K. Rowling mystery featuring Cormoran Strike in “Troubled Blood.” It’s long – 1,000 pages – but it kept me reading steadily all the way to the last word. Strike and his partner Robin are juggling quite a few cases when they are asked to solve a 30 years old cold case. They spend a year tracking down every old clue and uncover quite a few more. There are many twists and turns, but the end is very satisfying.
Jo Anne Y says
I’m working my way through Cindy Bell books. Most free with Kindle Unlimited.
Have 3 Christmas related books: Candy Slain Murder by Maddie Day, Christmas Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke and Gift of the Magpie by Donna Andrews on my to be read pile.
Wendy Penner says
I just finished Jill Churchill’s Grace and Favor series. Oh why are there only 6 in the series. Takes place beginning of the 1930’s and only goes to 1934. There is so much more I want to read in this series.
Brendan Benson says
Thank you so much for the recommendation! I just read The Railway Detective! What an awesome book. I am now hooked and will be looking forward to reading the next in the series. Thank you again!
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Brendan, you’re welcome!
Lisa J says
I loved Tea & Treachery the first book in the Tea by the Sea series by Vicki Delany. Set on Cape Cod lovely group of multi generational characters. Always a pleasure to see those over 65 leading fun, productive and full lives.
I recommended this book last month, so am giving a second to Lisa’s recommendation. It’s a ‘thumb’s up’!
I followed the recommendations here and started reading M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth mysteries. Quite entertaining with interesting characters, interesting locations – north area of Scotland – and twisting plots that only Hamish, attuned to human behavior, can resolve. When first introduced, in Death of a Gossip, he is not an endearing character. Joining a paying groups at a fishing school to get a free cup of coffee. And then, when chastised by a heavy aristocratic guest, he… pinches her butt! But we later come to like him, to appreciate him and, of course, he solves the crimes.
In Death of a Cad he is constantly being looked down by the manor owner and his guests but still solves the murders. He has a network of family members spread across the world and gets the useful information.
Death of an Outsider takes him to a different village to an unusual method of murder but still he looks beyond the obvious. All are short stories, compared to the usual ones, and are written in an easy way.
Sophie Hannah has made the headlines recently with her fourth and, apparently the best, Hercule Poirot mystery. With permission from Agatha Christie’s estate where the grandson, I think, has been claiming that her mysteries are not “cozy.” I read the first: The Monogram Murders, where three supposedly unrelated guests at a London hotel are found poisoned with monogrammed cufflinks in their mouths.
I also read the third: The Mysteries of Three Quarters. Four people are getting letters presumably signed by Poirot accusing them of murdering an old man whose death was determined to be an accident. For Poirot, determined to get at the bottom of this, finding whether these four are connected is the first step.
Hannah’s Poirot has the same mannerism and I liked the Three Quarters better. The plots are interesting and we are led to the identity of whodunit. A lot of psychology that I don’t remember where part of Christie’s books.
Will be looking forward to read the other two.
The Garden Girls series by hope callaghan; The Cruise series by Hope Callaghan
And these are affordable too!
Being retired cost does concern me & availability as a Kindle book too.
Would love to hear about more affordable options of cozy mysteries.
Barb E says
Try your local library. If you want to read electronic books ask them if they have Hoopla. Hoopla has a lot of cozy mysteries. Over the phone they will walk you through how to access and use Hoopla. I’ve obtained online library cards at two other libraries so that I can read most of my authors this way during this pandemic.
I, too, and retired and have found that several of the cozy series I follow are available free from my library through Overdrive.
If your library doesn’t have a book in its inventory that you want to read, request it through ILL (Inter Library Loan). If you don’t know how to do this, ask your librarian for help.
Victoria Hamilton’s series including Bowled Over set in. Michigan River Town. All the titles are kitchen implements. Very good!
Paula Catherine says
I just “discovered’ the Berry Basket Cozy Mystery series, written by Sharon Farrow. This cozy mystery is set in a lovely resort town in Mi.
Marlee is the owner if a cute berry themed store. The area in this part of Mi. Is known for growing many kinds of berries. It is a fun series, Marlee has an interesting past, no spolers.
There are four books so far, I just finished book two. I would recommend this series.
I’m really late replying to this (been away due to surgery & health issues, and trying to catch-up), but if by chance you see this, I wanted to say that I read the Berry Basket series as well, and if you liked the first two, I think you’ll really like the other books that have been released so far (if you haven’t read them already by the time I’m writing this). Book 3 has been my favorite, and Book 4 was really good too! I’m reading Book 5 now. Enjoy! 🙂
Amy M. says
I read Krista Davis’s Paws and Claws Series and also Chris Cavender’s Pizza Lovers Series.
Both series have humor in them and make for a light easy read.
Janice G says
I read and enjoyed A Deception at Thorncrest, the newest book in the Amory Ames series by Ashley Weaver and A Crime of a Different Stripe by Sally Goldenbaum. Sorry for the short comment but I fractured my arm making reading and typing more difficult.
Danna - cozy mystery list says
Janice, I’m sorry to hear about your arm!
I started a new series by Paige Shelton called the Alaska Wild series after devouring her Scottish Bookshop series. It centers around a girl who flees to Alaska to get away from a man who kidnapped and held her for 3 days after stalking her. I got the second book as an ARC so went back and read the first one and now am almost halfway through the second one.