With mystery being one of my favorite genres, I am ashamed to say that I don’t read a lot of the cozy mystery genre. But luckily, I have a friend who is also a mystery lover who has recommended me good ones that has cause me to turn over new leaf.
There’s something comforting about reading a cozy mystery. Not only are they atmospheric and quirky to read, it’s nice to take a break from the police procedural and psychological thrillers. So if you are looking to jump in on the cozy mystery bandwagon, the following series are perfect ones to start with!
Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery by Gigi Pandian
An impossible crime. A family legacy. The intrigue of hidden rooms and secret staircases.
After a disastrous accident derails Tempest Raj’s career, and life, she heads back to her childhood home in California to comfort herself with her grandfather’s Indian home-cooked meals. Though she resists, every day brings her closer to the inevitable: working for her father’s company. Secret Staircase Construction specializes in bringing the magic of childhood to all by transforming clients’ homes with sliding bookcases, intricate locks, backyard treehouses, and hidden reading nooks.
When Tempest visits her dad’s latest renovation project, her former stage double is discovered dead inside a wall that’s supposedly been sealed for more than a century. Fearing she was the intended victim, it’s up to Tempest to solve this seemingly impossible crime. But as she delves further into the mystery, Tempest can’t help but wonder if the Raj family curse that’s plagued her family for generations–something she used to swear didn’t exist–has finally come for her. (Credit: Minotaur Books)
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a legal education from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes women’s legal rights especially important to her.
Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X–meaning she probably couldn’t even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah–in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger. (Credit: Soho Crime)
Ruby Red Herring: An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery by Tracy Gardner
After her parents’ deaths, Avery Ayers takes over the family business, Antiquities & Artifacts Appraised, from the home office in Lilac Grove and a branch in Manhattan. Now living back at home with her younger sister Tilly and their newly moved-in, eccentric Aunt Midge and her Afghan hound, Avery’s life is filled with jewels, tapestries, paintings, and rare finds. But their world is rocked when Avery learns that the theft of a priceless ruby may be connected to her parents’ demise.
The trouble starts when the Museum of Antiquities hires Avery to appraise a rare, resplendent ruby. It bears a striking similarity to a solitary stone in the museum’s prized Xiang Dynasty bejeweled dragon medallion exhibit, which has long been missing one of its ruby eyes. Now, Avery and her colleagues–ostentatious Sir Robert Lane and fatherly Micah Abbott–suspect they may have the missing gem. But facets of the case remain cloudy. Security guard Art Smith is always underfoot but is not what he appears. Another body turns up connected to the appraisal. And Avery receives mysterious notes that begin to put her life in danger.
Avery enlists possible ally Art’s help in cutting the list of suspects who might have polished off her parents and swiped the jewel. Was it art collector Oliver Renell? Curator Nate Brennan? Acquisitions Liaison Francesca Giolitti? Actor Tyler Chadwick? Was the crime impersonal or perpetrated by someone all too close to Avery? If she can’t find the culprit, lovely Lilac Grove may be the setting for Avery’s own death. (Credit: Crooked Lane Books)
Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O’Connor
Nowadays Siobhán O’Sullivan, along with her five siblings, runs the family bistro named for their mother. It’s been a rough year for the O’Sullivans, but it’s about to get rougher. One morning, as they’re opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table with a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest. With the local garda suspecting the O’Sullivans, and their business in danger of being shunned, it’s up to feisty redheaded Siobhán to solve the crime and save her beloved brood. (Credit: Kensington Publishing Corporation)
Farm To Trouble by Amanda Flower
Shiloh Bellamy cashed in her big city job and 401K to return home to Michigan to save the family farm, but turning Bellamy Farms into a sustainable, organic operation – complete with a farm-to-table café – is no small feat. Especially when her new investor is found dead among the flowers just hours after the contract is signed. Everyone knows her father had a grudge against the investor, and word travels fast in a small town…
Now, Shiloh must clear her family’s name and track down the real killer before her organic farm dreams wilt before her very eyes. But with her father trying to stop any progress on his land, her cousin belittling her every effort, the farmhouse falling down around her, and the whole town believing her family at fault, Shiloh’s small town troubles are growing much faster than her crops. She’ll have to trust her own investigation or risk all her dreams drying up before they begin. (Credit: Poisoned Pen Press)
Against the Currant: A Spice Isle Bakery Mystery by Olivia Matthews
Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York: Lyndsay Murray is opening Spice Isle Bakery with her family, and it’s everything she’s ever wanted. The West Indian bakery is her way to give back to the community she loves, stay connected to her Grenadian roots, and work side-by-side with her family. The only thing getting a rise out of Lyndsay is Claudio Fabrizi, a disgruntled fellow bakery owner who does not want any competition.
On opening day, he comes into the bakery threatening to shut them down. Fed up, Lyndsay takes him to task in front of what seems to be the whole neighborhood. So when Claudio turns up dead a day later–murdered–Lyndsay is unfortunately the prime suspect. To get the scent of suspicion off her and her bakery, Lyndsay has to prove she’s innocent–under the watchful eyes of her overprotective brother, anxious parents, and meddlesome extended family–what could go wrong? (Credit: St. Martin’s Press)
Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.
And there are no second takes in real life. (Credit: Midnight Ink)
Buried In A Good Book by Tamara Berry
Bestselling thriller writer Tess Harrow is almost at the end of her rope when she arrives with her teenage daughter at her grandfather’s rustic cabin in the woods. She hopes this will be a time for them to heal and bond after Tess’s recent divorce, but they’ve barely made it through the door when an explosion shakes the cabin. Suddenly it’s raining fish guts and…is that a human arm?
Tess was hardly convincing Gertie that a summer without Wi-Fi and running water would be an adventure. Now she’s thrust into a murder investigation, neighbors are saying they’ve spotted Bigfoot in the woods near her cabin, and the local sheriff is the spitting image of her character Detective Gabriel Gonzales–something he’s less than thrilled about. With so much more than her daughter’s summer plans at stake, it’s up to Tess to solve this case before anyone else gets hurt. (Credit: Poisoned Pen Press)
Up to No Gouda by Linda Reilly
Back in Balsam Dell to heal after the death of her husband, Carly Hale is finally pursuing her lifelong dream–opening Carly’s Grilled Cheese Eatery. After only five months, business is booming as Vermont vacationers and townspeople alike flock to lunch on her Party Havartis and other grilled cheese concoctions. All but Lyle Bagley, Carly’s one-time high school boyfriend and now town bully who just bought the building that houses her eatery and wants Carly out. After a muenster of a fight, Carly’s forced to put her nose to the rind and find a solution to keep her business afloat.
That is…until Lyle is discovered dead behind the dumpster of Carly’s shop, and one of her employees becomes the prime suspect. In order to save her eatery and prove her friend’s innocence, Carly must sleuth out the killer before she’s the one who gets grilled.
With a delightful cast of characters, an inventive amateur sleuth, and a whole host of cheesy hijinks, Up to No Gouda is the perfect cozy murder mystery to melt into. (Credit: Poisoned Pen Press)
A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors–many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown… (Credit: Berkley Books)