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.

The books I picked & why

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Stone and Spark: Book 1 in the Raleigh Harmon Mysteries

By Sibella Giorello,

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

Why 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.

A Vow of Silence

By Veronica Black,

Book cover of A Vow of Silence

Why 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.

A Fatal Obsession

By Faith Martin,

Book cover of A Fatal Obsession

Why 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.

A Quiet Life in the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery, 1)

By T.E. Kinsey,

Book cover of A Quiet Life in the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery, 1)

Why 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!

Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery

By M. Louisa Locke,

Book cover of Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery

Why 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. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murders, San Francisco, and criminal investigations?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murders, San Francisco, and criminal investigations.

Murders Explore 334 books about murders
San Francisco Explore 120 books about San Francisco
Criminal Investigations Explore 182 books about criminal investigations

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Coroner's Lunch, Forensic Medicine and Death Investigation in Medieval England, and Dying from Improvement if you like this list.