The best humorous murder mysteries

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

I wrote...

Death in Paris

By Kate Darroch,

Book cover of Death in Paris

What is my book about?

Màiri and her BFF Lianna dump their cheating partners and head for a New Life in Istanbul. But they get stopped dead in Paris. Lianna is locked up in jail, charged with murder. Màiri is being hunted by murderous terrorists. She never dreamt that travelling outside Scotland would be so dangerous...  

Death in Paris won 9 International Book Awards in 2022, including the Firebird Award for Best Book by a Debut Author.

The books I picked & why

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The Shortest Way to Hades

By Sarah Caudwell,

Book cover of The Shortest Way to Hades

Why this book?

Narrator Professor Hilary Tamar’s habits and character traits invite non-stop laughter; and yet amazingly the three young barrister characters are every bit as funny in an entirely different way. One of the barristers always carries the action; but Hilary is no Dr. Watson gasping at their brilliance; in every book, her perspicacity and specialist knowledge enable the murder motive to be unravelled and the murderer brought to justice.

These books are rich in comic dialogue, often given as indirect speech. Caudwell’s unique spin on technical legal language will have you laughing out loud. 

The storyline is enchanting. Without Hilary’s specialist knowledge of ancient Greek texts, there might well have been many more murders! And yet so cleverly is this charming novel plotted, that we almost feel her esoteric expertise is only what might be expected of any amateur sleuth worthy of the name.  

Escape from Sunset Grove

By Minna Lindgren,

Book cover of Escape from Sunset Grove

Why this book?

In Escape from Sunset Grove, Minna Lindgren gives us a delightful contemporary cozy murder mystery whose protagonists, the nonagenarian amateur sleuths of the Lavender Ladies Detective Agency, live in a Finnish Retirement Apartments complex. When their quiet lives are quite literally broken to bits by unskilful plumbers, Siiri and Irma innocently go in search of a quieter place to drink a cup of coffee—and find a murderer.

The humour in Lindgren’s delightful cozy series, excellently translated by Kristian London, is quieter than Caudwell’s sparkling masterpieces but just as enjoyable. Called with some justice “The Finnish Miss Marple” the Lavender Ladies appeal to all age groups.

One for the Money

By Janet Evanovich,

Book cover of One for the Money

Why this book?

Can any guide to the Best Humorous Murder Mysteries be complete without Janet Evanovich? If you are unfamiliar with her books, joyfully murderous mirth is coming straight at you by the barrelful, via 30 Stephanie Plum novels. Stephanie lives in an extraordinary neighborhood, where law enforcers, Mafia types, goodies, baddies, peeps-crazy-in-a-good-way, bonkers-in-a-bad-way, and all stops in between, are crammed cheek by jowl.

In the first book One for the Money out-of-work Stephanie becomes a Bounty Hunter. We meet her nutcase Nan and her crazy family,  and follow her as she learns her dangerous new job via laugh-out-loud captures! Too much cussing to be a true cozy, but Evanovich novels have all the best features of the cozy mystery. Having met Stephanie and her clan, likely you’ll keep coming back for more.

Getting Rid of Bradley

By Jennifer Crusie,

Book cover of Getting Rid of Bradley

Why this book?

Do you like some romance with your murder mystery? Then you will love Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie. Better known for her many bestselling romantic comedies, twice RITA winner Crusie had been writing laugh out loud love scenes for years before she turned to murder mystery. And boy does it show!

The pace is lightning fast, the dialogue a delight, the snazzy sister talk and keep your hair on cop talk metamorphose swiftly into a laugh-a-minute embezzlement and attempted murder romp. Does true love win? Ask Jake or Lucy. Or perhaps Lucy’s sister Tina, who will always take the opposite view. A well-plotted story that satisfies yet still leaves you wanting more!

He Do the Time Police in Different Voices

By David Langford,

Book cover of He Do the Time Police in Different Voices

Why this book?

My all time fav Humorous Murder Mystery (now out of print but still available currently in the anthology He Do The Time Police In Different Voices) British author David Langford's The Spear of he Sun is set on a spaceship. This gem is simultaneously a terrific Locked Room murder mystery; the best Father Brown story I have ever read (and I've been a Father Brown fan for decades); a wonderful cozy mystery; and a fantastic parody-pastiche of GK Chesterton, The Roman Catholic Church imprints, and Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine, all three at the same time. It's tears-of-laughter-pouring-down-your-cheeks funny, and a Hall-of-Fame-Quality of murder mystery if read straight. Don't miss it.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murders, humour books, and private investigators?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murders, humour books, and private investigators.

Murders Explore 338 books about murders
Humour Books Explore 65 books about humour books
Private Investigators Explore 121 books about private investigators

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., The Season of You & Me, and The Wishbones if you like this list.