October is almost here, so it’s time to discuss our favorite Cozy Mysteries that we have 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! September has been another good reading month for me, as I’ve reread the first entry of M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth 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 September? 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 September 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:
M. C. Beaton: Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series
Kathleen Bridge: Hampton Home and Garden Mystery Series
Nancy Coco (aka Nancy J. Parra and Nell Hampton): Candy-Coated Mystery Series
Barbara Colley: Charlotte LaRue Mystery Series
Kate Collins: Flower Shop Mystery Series
Bill Crider: Dan Rhodes Mystery Series AND Carl Burns Mystery Series AND Sally Good Mystery Series
Janet Finsilver: Kelly Jackson Mystery Series
Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swensen Mystery Series
Jan Karon: The Mitford Series (not mysteries)
Sofie Kelly (aka Sofie Ryan & Darlene Ryan): Magical Cats Mystery Series
Sally Goldenbaum: Seaside Knitters Mystery Series
Victoria Hamilton (aka Amanda Cooper): Merry Muffin Mystery Series
Sadie Hartwell (aka Susannah Hardy): Tangled Web Mystery Series
Joan Hess: Maggody Mystery Series AND Claire Malloy Mystery Series
Amanda Lee (aka Gayle Trent & Gayle Leeson): Embroidery Mystery Series
Claire McGowan: Paula Maguire Mystery Series (first entry The Lost)
Louise Penny: Chief Inspector Gamache Mystery Series
Ashley Weaver: Amery Ames Mystery Series (first entry Murder at the Brightwell)
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.
Rob Jarrad says
I’ve been reading a lot of Bill Crider, lately. He is an English professor and department Chairperson of his college in Alvin, Tx. He writes three series plus some other assorted Western, Horror as well as mystery.
Very humorous, dry, humble, tongue in cheek and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Very entertaining.
Just finished his Murder In The Air (A Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery), Red, White and Blue mysteries, Dying Voices and One Dead Dean which is a Professor Carl Burns book. His series of a lady professor, Sally Good is very entertaining also. Total review of this author is positive, fun and I’ve read almost everything he has written that I can get from my library. He is that good.
Lois Glass says
I just discovered Bill Crider’s books recently and have kept my library busy with requests for interlibrary loans, tracking down titles that they don’t have. These are really fun and very relaxing to read. I highly recommend them.
Sharon S says
Rob, the Bill Crider novels sound good. Thanks for suggesting them. My inter-library system has a good selection of his earlier novels, so I ordered the first book in three of them. And I like that they’re under 200 pages!
Paula Catherine says
I just completed the embroidery series by Amanda Lee /Gayle Trent.
This series is so much fun, much to learn about embroidery all while solving murders! The books in this series was certainly entertaining prepping for and tolerating the issues after Hurricane Irma!
The characters are believable, not without flaws, but would be fun to know. Marcy is kind of nosy and sometimes speaks before thinking of the outcome. She has a wonderful relationship with her Mom which is refreshing as so many books focus on adversarial relationships.
The Seven Year Stitch decor sounds delightful and Jill is the kind of “employee “ anyone would want, listens but doesn’t talk back!!
Gretchen Karout says
I read the Charlotte LaRue maid series by Barbara Colley this month. Charlotte is older and witty. I will reread.
Claire McGowan: The Lost ~ set in Northern Ireland.
Paula McGuire, a forensic psychologist, has to return to to the hometown that she left years before. This series is so smart and well-written. There are flashbacks to the troubled history (The Troubles) of this country which make it a very fascinating read. Nothing is what it seems and it will keep you riveted. This will probably be a limited series of six books which saddens me because Paula McGuire’s story is one I’d like to follow for a long time.
I have loved Joanne Fluke series about Hannah Swensen and her cookies. And after a short break I read the Double Fudge Brownie and the Wedding Cake Murder. But, in one of the recent books, she included a chapter from an earlier work, before that series, titled Dead Giveaway. This was really a page turner, even scary a bit. Kept me glued to the end.
Janice G says
I didn’t read as much as usual this month but what I did read was really good. The newest book in the Magical Cats series A Tale of Two Kitties by Sofie Kelly was a fun read with Owen and Hercules helping to solve the case. The second book by Sadie Hartwell A Knit Before Dying continues the story of an interesting group of new friends brought together by a yarn store trying to solve a long-ago disappearance of a seamstress.
Sally Goldenbaums’ book Murder Wears Mittens was a great new installment to this series – who wouldn’t want to be invited to Friday night dinner on the deck. I also enjoyed Pudding Up With Murder by Julia Buckley and The Essence of Malice by Ashley Weaver.
We appear to have similar tastes in ‘cozy’ reading. I also read Tale of Two Kitties and Knit before Dying this September. I have Pudding up with Murder in my TBR pile…probably next. I’ve enjoyed the first two books of this series.
We’re in TOTAL agreement on the Seaside Knitters (see my entry). I, too, would LOVE to join them on the deck some Friday evening. Or, even be a part of their group at Izzy’s shop on Thursday night (even though I don’t knit). The ambiance of this series is wonderful.
BUT, I haven’t read this series by Ashley Weaver. So, since we’re ‘in sync’, I’m going to get the first book. THANKS for the suggestion. 🙂
Janice G says
I hope that you enjoy the Ashley Weaver series – I think that I started reading it after someone suggested it on this site. The first book had an Agatha Christie feel about although a little edgier.
Joyce Kerrigan says
I have been re-reading Phyllis A. Whitney due to the fact that quite a few of her books have become available for Kindle and I have always been a huge fan of hers ever since I can remember. I am thrilled her books are becoming available for download and I hope this trend will continue until all of her titles are available. I’ve been able to read some old favorites and also a couple I had somehow missed back in the day, so brand new for me! I also have re-read some Victoria Holt who is also a favorite author of mine and I hope there are plans to make more of hers available for Kindle. So far, I have only been able to find 8 or 9 titles. Now if they would only make Mary Stewart available I’d be really happy! All in all, though, September has been a great reading month for me. Lots more reading to do though! Yay!
I started re-reading Victoria Holt books from the beginning last year. I read some of them as a teenager, but not all, so it is fun reading them again.
‘Emerald’ is my favorite.
I see that some of Barbara Michaels books are now also available on kindle. If you like Phyllis Whitney you may like her. I’m not fond of the ‘Ammie’ – too scary. BUT, ‘Shattered Silk’ is one of the BEST mysteries (well……according to me!). I often recommend this book to other mystery readers (it’s not considered a cozy), and always get a positive feedback.
I discovered after many mentions by my fellow cozy friends the Maggody series by Joan Hess. I checked it our from my local library since I wasn’t sure if I would like it. After the first chapter I am hooked. The characters are quirky but not to over the top to enjoy. Just a good easy read. My other (but I have to pace myself) is Louise Penny. I’m up to a Trick of the Light. I love Three Pines and feel like the characters are old friends. If you’ve not discovered her yet, no one has been disappointed that I’ve turned onto series. Well off to the shower and then happy reading. One thing I love about the days getting shorter, more time to curl up with a good book 🙂
I tried the Maggody series but it wasn’t for me. However, I like the Claire Malloy series by Hess.
September Recommendations – 2017
Murder Wears Mittens – Sally Goldenbaum
OK, everyone, take note — I JUST noticed this. This is the FIRST book of a new series, “Seaside Knitters Society”. HOWEVER, it is a continuation of the “Seaside Knitters Club”. I assume a move to a new publisher brought about this ‘series title’ change.
This series is the ‘epitome’ of a ‘cozy’. Each book is character centered, reading more like a novel with its heartfelt/enduring cast and family storylines. The mystery is always good, but seems to take second place as Ms. Goldenbaum weaves a great tale. And, this author is very considerate of the readers – she provides a cast of characters in the beginning of the book! 🙂 The character list is vast and not all are in each story. Izzy, who owns a yarn shop in this Atlantic Coastal community (Seaside), is NOT the main character.
There are four, who rotate in significance in each story. Nell is Izzy’s aunt and a prominent member of the community. She is probably at the forefront most often. Cass owns a lobster business with her brother. And, Birdie is the ‘elder’ of this group with many unique qualities. In this story, Murder Wears Mittens, Cass comes to the forefront of the story. These characters are very well developed with complexity and intelligence.
This story involves a newcomer to the community, a single mother (Kayla) of two beautiful children (Christopher and Sarah Grace) who has a mysterious past. Izzy’s brother, Charlie, moves to the,Seaside community from Kansas and befriends Kayla. A wealthy elderly lady and friend of Kayla’s family is murdered and Kayla is a prime suspect.
The plot intertwines many stories. It is fast paced and always captivating. The reader can figure out the ‘culprit’ before the ending. However, the last chapter has a delightful surprise.
Cozy fans are really missing out if they haven’t read this series yet. Goldenbaum is an excellent storyteller. “Try it, you’ll like it!”
Ghostal Living – Kathleen Bridge
This is the third book of this enjoyable series set in the NY Hamptons area. Meg Barrett is an interior designer, and enjoys repurposing antiques. In this story, the focus is on an area ‘bibliophile’ B&B. An F. Scott Fitzgerald expert is found dead over an embankment and in the ocean.
Meg and her best friend, antique store owner Elle, work together to find out ‘who dun it’. Many, many twists and turns to this plot. With a wide and varied range of suspects, a conclusion is not easily reached. In fact, most readers will be surprised at the ending.
There is a LOT of historical research and detail in this series. Although I find most of it very interesting, some may feel it bogs down the story.
Of course (as is the cozy ‘formula’) there are two romantic interests. In this book one eventually gets eliminated. BUT, is there another possibility on the horizon?
Yew With Caution – Kate Collins
This is another long running series (19 books) that I often recommend. The author has found a way to incorporate the husband into the story depicting an enjoyable relationship without being boring. AND, she doesn’t send the husband (fiancé, significant other, boyfriend) away on a trip. Kudos to her creative talents to keep this relationship captivating. I know, I know I sound like a broken record because I’ve commented on this several times in various other recommendations.
Abby owns a flower shop. Her husband Marco owns a nearby bar in this small Indiana community near Chicago. Together they have formed a detective agency.
I missed Abby’s best friend, Nikki, in the last book. However she takes center stage in this book as she is suspected of being part of a murder plot of the husband of an acquaintance. Of course Abby steps in to find the solution of this crime. The methodology is surprising and well researched.
This is a well plotted story with action and twists. Collins always develops the characters with depth and insight.
Although one probably could read this book as a stand-alone, I strongly recommend reading the series sequentially or you miss out on the progression of the characters.
Murder at the Mansion — Janet Finsilver
I started this series based on recommendations from this site. Kelly Jackson is a B & B manager in Redwood Cove, CA located on the Pacific Ocean. While her B&B is under renovation she is cataloging artifacts of a nearby mansion owned by company she works for. This brings historical detail into the story.
When Kelly goes to awake a guest for an event, she finds her dead at her dressing table. Kelly and the Silver Sleuths start an investigation into this murder. There also have been some thefts at this resort. The mystery gets more convoluted when it is discovered the victim was using a false identity.
This is mainly a character driven story. And, it is the diversity and complexity of the main characters (from the seniors group to the autistic 10 yr. old) that make this book so enjoyable. One feels the family ambiance of this group.
This author injects some humor into her writing. The pacing is quick and the story engaging, thus keeping the reader rapidly turning the pages. For those that prefer a shorter book, you will certainly like this one – it’s only 182 pages!!
Oh Fudge — Nancy Coco
This is a light and fun series set on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Allie McMurphy is the main character and runs a hotel she inherited. She specializes in making fudge, showcasing her talents in demonstrations each day at her hotel. As an aside, there are always several yummy looking fudge recipes in each book.
Allie’s beautiful cousin (Tori) comes to the island to help with a fund raiser. She also claims she deserves to inherit her share of the hotel. Allie finds Tori standing over the body of a dead woman holding the murder weapon. Both Tori and Allie embark on separate missions to find the culprit. Tori goes missing which adds another dimension to the story.
This author adds humorous dialogue into the stories, making them particularly enjoyable. After several books, I think the romance angle is beginning to turn in a direction I suspect most readers would prefer.
A gripe/rant on editors……….
I often find errors in this author’s (Coco/Parra) works. In this book, characters are called by different names on two different occasions. It isn’t even the same characters………….it’s different ones. In her last book (written under another name) there was a huge error with a scene repeated twice…100 pages apart.
SO, I ask, “what is the role of the editor”? Authors often thank them in their acknowledgements. HOWEVER it appears editors don’t always read the book. Perhaps she/he is passing that job down to an underling who gives it a cursory glance. In all honesty, I don’t even blame the author because it should be the editor’s job to catch these errors, assuming they are getting paid to actually read the book and make appropriate corrections.
OH! I forgot to mention when commenting on ‘Murder Wears Mittens’ by S. Goldenbaum — one of the characters name is “Hannah Swenson”.
I thought it was so ironic since “Hannah Swenson” has been the main/lead character for 17 years in Joanne Fluke’s series entitled “Hannah Swenson”. When a reader gets to know a character well, it’s somewhat disconcerting to think of that name applied to a completely different type of character.
I’d say it’s a fair bet that Sally Goldenbaum hasn’t read Joanne Fluke’s series.
Authors have many characters to name in each book and they can’t be cognizant of all characters in millions of other books (a herculean task)……..but this is a fairly popular series (Hannah Swenson) in the cozy world.
Betsy N says
I’ve been working through the Merry Muffin mysteries (1 left to read!) by Victoria Hamilton. I love the strong and assertive MC Merry, her quirky friends, and descriptions of the castle she inherited!
Arlene Levy says
I recommend Amory Ames mystery series by Ashley Weaver. I just read the first in the series: Murder at Brightwell. Fast paced, charming, romantic traditional British style mystery. Absolutely worth reading and enjoying.
Jan Karon’s latest, To Be Where You Are, is not a mystery, but it sure is cozy. Like a pair of old slippers! It was fun to catch up with Dooley and Lace, a few months after their wedding and fostering of young Jack. Father Tim and Cynthia, now in their late 70s are as busy as ever, and several Mitford folks have problems that, happily, Father Tim can help with. Very satisfying.
Susy S says
I read all of the Nancy Coco books this month and really enjoyed them. Allie is very likeable, and her interaction with Francis, Jenn and Mr. Devaney is terrific.. I like how she treats the senior citizens as friends and as smart individuals. To many time I have seen seniors treated as though they no longer have a working brain, but she treats them as the wise individual they are, even when they have silly quirks. I also like the fact that she doesn’t act like romance is reserved for the young.
I liked them so much, I had to go find a Nancy Parra book, which I also enjoyed very much.