The best cozy mysteries by contemporary authors

Who am I?

A good puzzle will draw me in every time, and I’ve always loved mysteries. When I was a kid, Trixie Belden was my favorite sleuth. In junior high, I tried my hand at writing a few mystery stories. I also discovered logic puzzles about this time. In a mystery, you have to locate the clues and put them together in a logical manner to solve the riddle. Now I’m the author of 100 published books. Many of them are mysteries, and most of the ones that aren’t have elements of mystery within the story. 

I wrote...

Blue Plate Special

By Susan Page Davis,

Book cover of Blue Plate Special

What is my book about?

Campbell McBride drives to her father’s house in Murray, Kentucky, dreading telling him she’s lost her job as an English professor. Her father, Bill McBride, isn’t there or at his office in town. His brash young employee, Nick Emerson, says Bill hasn’t come in this morning, but he did call the night before, saying he had a new case.

When her dad doesn’t show up by late afternoon, Campbell and Nick follow up on a phone number he’d jotted on a memo sheet. They learn who last spoke to her father, but they also find a dead body. When Bill’s car is found, locked and empty in a secluded spot, Campbell and Nick must get past their differences and work together to find him.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Stone and Spark: Book 1 in the Raleigh Harmon Mysteries

Why did I love this book?

While I love the old classics, I’ve discovered several contemporary authors whose cozy mysteries draw me in. I read this prequel after having devoured several books about Raleigh Harmon as an adult working for the FBI and then as a private investigator. They’re all great, but the three in the Prequel series (or Young Raleigh Harmon series) are now my favorites. I love the teenage Raleigh, who must solve serious mysteries while dealing with her difficult family. I love her genius best friend, Drew. And I love the way Raleigh uses her passion for geology and her common sense in every mystery.

By Sibella Giorello,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the worst week of her life, Raleigh Harmon discovers her destiny.
Her best friend is a smart-mouthed genius girl named Drew Levinson. But Drew is gone. Nowhere to be found. Everybody insists Drew ran away. But Raleigh suspects something worse.

Armed with one rock hammer, an encyclopedic knowledge of city criminal codes, and a stubborn streak wide as the Chesapeake Bay, Raleigh searches for clues.

Did Drew secretly meet somebody? Did her loony parents finally push her over the edge? Or is Raleigh’s hunch dead-on: Drew didn’t choose to leave….

The first book in the best-selling Raleigh Harmon prequel…

A Vow of Silence

By Veronica Black,

Book cover of A Vow of Silence

Why did I love this book?

I’m a big Sister Joan fan. The murders she solves take place within or near the convent where she resides. She’s an artist at heart, and she’s committed to her religious life, but somehow she keeps being reluctantly drawn into murder cases.

This series opens in Cornwall, England in 1988 and spans several years. It has a bit of a historical feeling because of the isolation and traditional customs within the convent community. Sister Joan is a wonderful character. She’s smart, she’s cautious, and she’s strong. I love the small things about her that make her different from the other nuns—for instance, the way she wears jeans under her habit (with the Mother Superior’s permission) when she rides the order’s horse to the schoolhouse where she teaches.

By Veronica Black,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Vow of Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When one nun dies in a bizarre accident and another disappears, hushed whispers of virgin sacrifice, Mother Goddess worship, suicide, and murder spread among the Sisters at Cornwall House convent and Sister Joan is sent to investigate

A Fatal Obsession

By Faith Martin,

Book cover of A Fatal Obsession

Why did I love this book?

The characters always pull me back for the next book in the series. Trudy Loveday is a WPC—Woman Police Constable—in the 1960s. She’s a young woman clawing her way up in a man’s world. Her favorite sidekick is Dr. Clement Ryder, the local coroner. He’s nearing retirement, and he has secrets he’d rather not reveal—like the reason he quit being a surgeon and signed on as coroner. Together these two solve murders faster than the local police detectives, inspiring jealousy and suspicion. Trudy and Clement make an ideal sleuthing team. I pre-order these books as soon as I learn there’s another one coming out, I love them so much.

By Faith Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fatal Obsession as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Absolutely loved it... The characters were some of the best I've read in a long time.' Angela Marsons, no. 1 bestselling author of the Kim Stone series

Oxford, 1960. Police constable Trudy Loveday is about to face her first murder case...

It's five years since twenty-one-year-old Gisela Fleet-Wright died. But when her former boyfriend is found brutally beaten to death the day after a mysterious note threatened his life, the case is reopened - and, to WPC Trudy Loveday's delight, she's sent to investigate alongside coroner Clement Ryder.

At first it's just a ploy by her senior officer, a man…

Book cover of A Quiet Life in the Country

Why did I love this book?

This series is a little lighter, a lot funnier, than the ones recommended above. As usual, it’s the characters who latched hold of me. Lady Hardcastle is a widow in 1920s England with an amazing maid who has all sorts of talents. The two of them decide to find a house in the country where they can live in peace and quiet. But you guessed it—murders start coming their way to solve. The Lady Hardcastle series is not too grim, not too silly. Just plain fun!

By T E Kinsey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Quiet Life in the Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they've just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life.

But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There's a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation...

As Lady Hardcastle and Flo delve deeper into rural rivalries…

Maids of Misfortune

By M. Louisa Locke,

Book cover of Maids of Misfortune

Why did I love this book?

I love historical mysteries, and this series set in nineteenth-century San Francisco delivers the goods. I really like the main character, Annie Fuller. She’s been left on her own, and she excels at her ventures as a boardinghouse owner and a financial advisor. When she learns she has sleuthing talents as well, there’s no stopping her. In this book, she goes undercover as a housemaid to solve a mystery. 

By M. Louisa Locke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's the summer of 1879, and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, is in trouble. Annie's husband squandered her fortune before committing suicide five years earlier, and one of his creditors is now threatening to take the boardinghouse she owns to pay off a debt. Annie Fuller also has a secret. She supplements her income by giving domestic and business advice as Madam Sibyl, one of San Francisco's most exclusive clairvoyants, and one of Madam Sibyl's clients, Matthew Voss, has died. The police believe his death was suicide brought upon by bankruptcy, but Annie believes Voss has been murdered…

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