The best humorous murder mysteries

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Shortest Way to Hades

Kate Darroch Why did I love 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.  

By Sarah Caudwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shortest Way to Hades as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everyone in the family had decided that changing the trust arrangement seemed the perfect way to avoid three million in taxes. However, when dreary cousin Deirdre has a mysterious accident after demanding a fee for her signature, the young London barristers handling the trust seek advice from mentor Hilary Tamar.

Julia believes it's murder; whilst Hilary wonders why the raven-haired heir did not die. But with more deadly accidents occurring, it is Hilary who is given the perilous quest of unmasking the killer.

Book cover of Escape from Sunset Grove

Kate Darroch Why did I love 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.

By Minna Lindgren,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Escape from Sunset Grove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's not easy sharing a flat. Especially when you're 95 years old . . .

Escape from Sunset Grove is the second hilarious and heartwarming crime caper in Minna Lindgren's Lavender Ladies Detective Agency trilogy. Perfect for fans of Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club and M.C. Beaton

Change is afoot at Sunset Grove retirement home, and its residents aren't impressed.

Under threat from falling masonry, best friends Irma and Siiri are forced out of their home to negotiate twenty-first-century living in the centre of Helsinki. Their new surroundings throw up an endless number of daily challenges, from caring for…

Book cover of One for the Money

Kate Darroch Why did I love 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.

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked One for the Money as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephanie Plum is down on her luck. She's lost her job, her car's on the brink of repossession, and her apartment is fast becoming furniture-free.

Enter Cousin Vinnie, a low-life who runs a bail-bond company. If Stephanie can bring in vice cop turned outlaw Joe Morelli, she stands to pick up $10,000. But tracking down a cop wanted for murder isn't easy . . .

And when Benito Ramirez, a prize-fighter with more menace than mentality, wants to be her friend Stephanie soon knows what it's like to be pursued. Unfortunately the best person to protect her just happens to…

Book cover of Getting Rid of Bradley

Kate Darroch Why did I love 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!

By Jennifer Crusie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Rid of Bradley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lucy Savage is not having a good week. Her cheating husband, Bradley, lobbed the final insult when he stood her up in divorce court. A dye job gone wrong has left her hair green. And someone is trying to kill her. To top it off, sexy cop Zack Warren is certain that the very same man Lucy is trying to wash right out of her hair is the same Bradley he wants to arrest for embezzlement.

When someone shoots at her and then her car blows up, Zack decides she needs twenty-four-hour police protection. Next thing Lucy knows, Zack has…

Book cover of He Do the Time Police in Different Voices

Kate Darroch Why did I love 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.

By David Langford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked He Do the Time Police in Different Voices as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A collection of Langford parodies and pastiches incorporating the whole of The Dragonhiker's Guide to Battlefield Covenant at Dune's Edge: Odyssey Two (1988, long out of print) plus some 40,000 words of additional material.

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Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

Book cover of Blood of the White Bear

Marcia Calhoun Forecki Author Of Blood of the White Bear

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author History hound Polyglot Bookworm Neatness averse Yoga beginner

Marcia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Virologist Dr. Rachel Bisette sees visions of a Kachina and remembers the plane crash that killed her parents and the Dine medicine woman who saved her life. Rachel is investigating a new and lethal hantavirus spreading through the Four Corners, and believes the Kachina is calling her to join the work against the spreading pandemic.

She finds Eva Yellow Horn, a medicine woman with the key to fighting the pandemic. When Eva demonstrates ancient healing powers beyond science, Rachel recognizes her as the medicine woman who saved her life years before. Eva reveals that Rachel’s father was investigating the 1979 nuclear disaster in Church Rock, when his plane crashed, killing her parents. Now, Rachel undertakes a new investigation, but she is not alone.

Blood of the White Bear

By Marcia Calhoun Forecki, Gerald Schnitzer,

What is this book about?

“Visions of kachinas guide doctor to spiritual healing in pandemic.”

2014 Finalist in the Willa Literary Award

This is a book that once closed and last line read, my mind wandered to explore certain character motivations and potential follow-up responses. I don’t think an author has to answer every possibility, art comes into play best when the reader’s own imagination can wander within the story.

Dr. Rachel Bisette is drawn to the Four Corners to lead the search for a vaccine against a lethal pandemic. One elusive indigenous woman, Eva Yellow Horn, carries the gift of immunity. In her search…

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