The best humorous cozy and amateur sleuth mysteries for when you really need a good laugh

Why am I passionate about this?

I started out my writing career in romance and romantic suspense but discovered my humor gene when I wrote my first chick lit novel. Who knew I could write humor? Certainly not me! I bungle every joke I’ve ever tried to tell. But suddenly humor was flowing from my fingertips onto my computer screen. Seeing this new side to my writing, my agent suggested I try my hand at a humorous cozy mystery. Suddenly I found my true calling. I left the world of romance behind and settled into the world of murder and mayhem, complete with a large dollop of laughter.


I wrote...

Guilty as Framed

By Lois Winston,

Book cover of Guilty as Framed

What is my book about?

When an elderly man shows up at the home of reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack and refuses to believe the person he’s looking for doesn’t live at her address, she’s drawn into a decades-old unsolved mystery.

A week later, a stolen SUV containing a dead body appears in Anastasia’s driveway. She’s convinced someone is sending her a message. Alarming incidents continue, including a mugging, a break-in, another murder, and the discovery of an item from the largest museum heist in history. Anastasia must solve the mystery behind these shocking events before she falls victim to thugs who will stop at nothing to get what they want. (The story is loosely based on the burglary of the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum.)

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Fortune and Glory

Lois Winston Why did I love this book?

Technically, Stephanie Plum isn’t an amateur sleuth because she works as a bounty hunter, but since she was never trained and tends to succeed despite her bungling and ineptitude, I consider her an amateur sleuth. Besides, when you’re sorely in need of a good laugh to release some endorphins, you can’t go wrong spending a few hours with Stephanie and her colorful cohorts. This twenty-seventh outing in the long-running series is one of the best when it comes not only to the humor, but it offers up a well-plotted story, and lots of red herrings. Plus, there’s plenty of Grandma Masur in this one. What more could you ask for?

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fortune and Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From “the most popular mystery writer alive” (The New York Times), the twenty-seventh thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series isn’t just the biggest case of Stephanie Plum’s career. It’s the adventure of a lifetime.

When Stephanie’s beloved Grandma Mazur’s new husband died on their wedding night, the only thing he left her was a beat-up old easy chair…and the keys to a life-changing fortune.

But as Stephanie and Grandma Mazur search for Jimmy Rosolli’s treasure, they discover that they’re not the only ones on the hunt. Two dangerous enemies from the past stand in their way—along…


Book cover of Undertaking Irene

Lois Winston Why did I love this book?

When it comes to absurdist humor, this book is a standout. I couldn’t stop laughing, beginning with the first page. Jane Delaney is known as the Death Diva. Her freelance business provides services that range from scattering loved one’s ashes to tasks that…well, let’s just say she’s got the oddest profession of any amateur sleuth I’ve ever come across, not to mention the most unusual sidekick, a neurotic poodle named Sexy Beast who plays Watson to Jane’s Sherlock. The first-person narrative comes alive with Jane’s delicious self-deprecating sense of humor and makes for the absolute best in escapist reading as Jane takes you on a hilarious journey on the road to whodunnit. 

By Pamela Burford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Undertaking Irene as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jane Delaney does things her paying customers can’t do, don’t want to do, don’t want to be seen doing, can’t bring themselves to do, and/or don’t want it to be known they’d paid someone to do. To dead people.

Life gets complicated for Jane and her Death Diva business when she’s hired to liberate a gaudy mermaid brooch from the corpse during a wake—on behalf of the rightful owner, supposedly. Well, a girl’s got to make a living, and this assignment pays better than scattering ashes, placing flowers on graves, or bawling her eyes out as a hired mourner. Unfortunately…


Book cover of Lies, Spies, and the Baker's Surprise

Lois Winston Why did I love this book?

Former investigative reporter Rick Atwood is the go-to guy for the chief of police whenever crime strikes Seaside Cove, but Rick’s precocious eleven-year-old daughter is the real star of this series. Alex is a Nancy Drew for the 21st century. Her diary entries put a smile on my face as they brought back memories of my own childhood. Her upstaging of the adults in her life made me chuckle throughout the book. Terry Ambrose is a true master at capturing what it’s like to be a young girl yearning to be taken seriously by the adults in her life, a difficult task for any author but even more so for a male author.

By Terry Ambrose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lies, Spies, and the Baker's Surprise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The wedding of Seaside Cove Bed & Breakfast owner Rick Atwood and Marquetta Weiss is only days away and the B&B is abuzz with excitement. But the mood changes when Rick’s daughter Alex does a little snooping. She overhears Henry Nicholas on his cellphone with his wife, and it’s not Tara, the woman who checked in as Mrs. Nicholas.

When Alex outs Henry at breakfast, Tara explodes. She demands Henry leave immediately. He checks into the town’s motel. But the next morning, Henry is found dead in his room. Rick and Police Chief Adam Cunningham investigate the death, focusing on…


Book cover of The Thursday Murder Club

Lois Winston Why did I love this book?

If you’re a fan of droll British humor, as I am, you can’t do better than to spend a few hours with The Thursday Murder Club. The author is a master at creating characters that are both over-the-top and oh-so-believable at the same time, and his plot will keep you up well past your bedtime in your quest to find out what happens next. Be prepared to laugh your way through this mystery, with the added bonus that it will keep you guessing whodunnit until the very end.

By Richard Osman,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked The Thursday Murder Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller | Soon to be a major motion picture from Steven Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment

"Witty, endearing and greatly entertaining." -Wall Street Journal

"Don't trust anyone, including the four septuagenarian sleuths in Osman's own laugh-out-loud whodunit." -Parade

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to...
THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead…


Book cover of Ask Me No Questions

Lois Winston Why did I love this book?

When twenty-six-year-old Lady Philomena Dunbridge solves a murder that has stymied the police, she scandalizes Edwardian England. Rather than lead a dowager’s life, she escapes to America—and immediately stumbles upon another murder in need of solving. I absolutely love Lady Phil’s unique outlook on life, which had me chuckling from chapter to chapter. The verbal sparring between her and her butler, the detective assigned to the case, and the mysterious Mr. X often made me shout, “You go, girl!” And she not only excels at dropping perfect bon mots, but she goes about unraveling whodunnit with absolute panache.

By Shelley Noble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ask Me No Questions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A modern woman, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She's ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm.

From the decadence of high society balls, to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.


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The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

Book cover of The Woman at the Wheel

Penny Haw Author Of The Invincible Miss Cust

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Dog walker Dreamer Runner Reader

Penny's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cäcilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love—with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his plans, a dicey move since they alone believe in the machine. When Carl's partners threaten to withdraw their support, he's ready to cut ties. Bertha knows the decision would ruin everything. Ignoring the cynics, she takes matters into her own hands, secretly planning a scheme that will either hasten the family's passage to absolute derision or prove their genius. What Bertha doesn't know is that Carl is on the cusp of making a deal with their nemesis. She's not only risking her marriage and their life's work, but is also up against the patriarchy, Carl's own self-doubt, and the clock.

Like so many other women, Bertha lived largely in her husband's shadow, but her contributions are now celebrated in this inspiring story of perseverance, resilience, and love.

The Woman at the Wheel

By Penny Haw,

What is this book about?

Inspiring historical fiction based on the real life of Bertha Benz, whose husband built the first prototype automobile, which eventually evolved into the Mercedes-Benz marque.

"Unfortunately, only a girl again."

From a young age, Cacilie Bertha Ringer is fascinated by her father's work as a master builder in Pforzheim, Germany. But those five words, which he wrote next to her name in the family Bible, haunt Bertha.

Years later, Bertha meets Carl Benz and falls in love-with him and his extraordinary dream of building a horseless carriage. Bertha has such faith in him that she invests her dowry in his…


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