The best humorous cozy mysteries with protagonists who work with sidekicks

Why am I passionate about this?

To be a successful humorous cozy mystery author, character development is the key. Prior to writing cozy mysteries, like the protagonist in my Holly Swimsuit Mystery Series, I enjoyed a career as a ladies’ apparel sales exec. Fortunately for my writing gig, salespeople are also students of human nature. I've been fascinated by what makes people tick all my life and have taken all I have learned and applied it to my writing. The relationship between the protagonist and her sidekick is one that makes the characters in my stories imperfect, but believable, accents their individuality, and lets their personalities come alive so that readers can’t help but invest in them.


I wrote...

Death by Pins and Needles

By Susie Black,

Book cover of Death by Pins and Needles

What is my book about?

Death by Pins and Needles is the story of one ruthless woman who didn’t care who she had to step on to get to the top. Who wanted Lissa Charney dead? The list was as long as your arm…but which one actually killed her? The last thing Mermaid Swimwear sales exec Holly Schlivnik expected to find when she opened the closet door was nasty competitor Lissa Charney’s battered corpse nailed to the wall. When Holly’s colleague is wrongly arrested for Lissa’s murder, the wise-cracking, irreverent amateur sleuth sticks her nose everywhere it doesn’t belong to sniff out the real killer. Nothing turns out the way she thinks it will as Holly matches wits with a heartless killer hellbent on revenge. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Two for the Dough

Susie Black Why did I love this book?

Ironically, as a wordsmith, I absolutely adore the universal hilarity of physical comedy, an art form that transcends the need for words. So, I was immediately drawn to the slapstick antics of calamitous Trenton, NJ rookie bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. In this book, Stephanie is hot on the trail of bail jumper Kenny Mancuso. Low on expertise but learning fast, high on resilience, and despite the help she gets from friends and relatives, Stephanie is targeted by a loathsome adversary. Lula, Stephanie’s soon-to-be-sidekick, was first introduced as a minor character in the debut of the series, One for the Money.

Lula is a zaftig black ex-hooker who somehow squeezes her size 16 body into a size 10 spandex bodysuit. Lula’s wisecracking, street-smart philosophy is to always shoot first and ask questions later. In this second book of the series, Lula becomes a continuing character with her role as a file clerk in Stephanie’s Uncle Vinnie’s bail bond office. Once Lula becomes Stephanie’s improbable sidekick, then all the fun begins when things really go off the rails. Think Lucy and Ethel as bounty hunters. Yikes.

By Janet Evanovich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two for the Dough as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kenny Mancuso shot his childhood buddy Moogey Bues and then jumped bail. Now bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is on the case to track Kenny down.
Then someone finished Moogey off, Kenny can't be found, twenty-four coffins are missing, and there's some ex-army heavy artillery roaming the streets. And Joe Morelli - the cop with more than a professional interest in her every move - is tailing Stephanie.
With a healthy disregard for the law, and an unhealthy dependence on marshmallow hot chocolate, Stephanie's a match for anyone - even Morelli. That is, until her eccentric grandmother goes AWOL and little…


Book cover of Them Bones

Susie Black Why did I love this book?

Maybe it’s because I see a lot of myself in them, that I’ve always been a sucker for square pegs trying to fit into round holes. So, it stands to reason that unwed, unemployed, over thirty, flat broke, and about to lose the family plantation to creditors, unconventional, but irrepressible southern belle PI Sarah Booth Delaney is my kind of gal. In this debut book of the series, we meet sassy Sarah Booth and refined Tinky, our heroine’s lifelong BFF and soon-to-be reluctant sidekick. Tinky is a true Daddy’s girl southern belle who is married to the president of the bank in their hometown of Zinia, Mississippi. Tinky is everything the ghost of Sarah Booth’s great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who haunts our hapless heroine, thinks Sarah Booth should be. In this book good talker Sarah Booth improbably gets hired to solve a murder. When Sarah Booth asks too many questions, she almost becomes the next corpse. Sarah Booth and Tinky as sleuths? Imagine a still sassy, but sweeter Scarlet O’Hara and a not-so-mousy Melanie as Private Investigators. As they say down in Dixie, well, shut mah mouth…

By Carolyn Haines,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Them Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Sarah Booth Delaney, an unconventional Southern belle whose knack for uncovering the truth is about to make her the hottest detective in Zinnia, Mississippi . . . if it doesn't make her the deadest.

No self-respecting lady would allow herself to end up in Sarah Booth’s situation. Unwed, unemployed, and over thirty, she’s flat broke and about to lose the family plantation. Not to mention being haunted by the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, who never misses an opportunity to remind her of her sorry state—or to suggest a plan of action, like ransoming her friend’s prize pooch to…


Book cover of Bantam of the Opera

Susie Black Why did I love this book?

My parents would certainly confirm I have always asked a lot of questions, and I am naturally the curious sort (some narrow-minded people say I am nosy…go figure…LOL). So, Seattle bed-and-breakfast hostess Judith McMonigle Flynn, who can’t mind her own beeswax to save her soul and let the police do their job, is a gal after my heart. In this book, Judith isn't exactly bellowing "Bravo!" over the news that obnoxious opera star Mario Pacetti and his entourage are coming to stay at the Hillside Manor. So when the would-be Pavarotti inadvertently drinks poison and falls down dead on his tosca, accusing eyes turn to Judith and her amateur sleuthing partner, irrepressible graphic artist cousin Renie. It's curtains unless the cousins can unmask the real culprit—before a killer's final, fatal encore.

I love the collision of wills between the bed and breakfast hostess and her cousin that bring a snap, crackle, and pop to the plot. Judith’s more cautious “cuz” and her futile attempts to rein in the impetuous hostess with the mostest not only tickles my funny bone, but also reminds me of the sidekick in my books and her hopeless efforts to rein in my pushy protagonist. 

By Mary Daheim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bantam of the Opera as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bed-and-breakfast hostess Judith McMonigle Flynn isn't exactly bellowing "Bravo!" over the news that obnoxious opera star Mario Pacetti and his entourage are coming to stay at the Hillside Manor. The world-class tenor is a renowned pain-in-the-neck—a bloated buffoon who could easily eat her out of house and home. So when the puffed-up, would-be Pavarotti inadvertently drinks poison and falls down dead on his tosca, accusing eyes turn to Judith and her amateur sleuthing partner, cousin Renie. Now it's curtains unless the cousins can unmask the real culprit—before a killer's final, fatal encore.


Book cover of Murder on a Girl's Night Out

Susie Black Why did I love this book?

My younger sister and I are completely unlike. I fell in love with the protagonists of this debut book of the series after page one; two siblings even more unalike than my sis and me. Petite Patricia Anne—"Mouse"—is respectful, respectable, and demure, a perfect example of genteel Southern womanhood. Mary Alice—"Sister"—is big, brassy, flamboyant, and bold. Together they have a knack for finding themselves in the middle of some of Birmingham, Alabama's worst messes. In this book, overly impulsive Mary Alice thinks it makes perfect sense to buy the Skoot 'n' Boot bar—since that's where the many-times-divorced "Sister" and her boyfriend du jour hang out. Sensible retired schoolteacher Patricia Anne disagrees—especially when they find a strangled and stabbed dead body dangling in the pub's wishing well.

The sheriff has some questions for Mouse and her sister – Sister, who were the last people, besides the murderer, to see the victim alive. And to make matters worse, a killer with unfinished business has begun sending the sibs threatening messages. I adored the zany antics of the adventuresome sister and the futile efforts of the down-to-Earth one to bang some sense into her sibling’s head before they both end up as dead as the first victim. Heck, my sis and I are identical twins by comparison. 

By Anne George,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder on a Girl's Night Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Different Kind of Sister Act

Patricia Anne -- "Mouse" -- is respectful, respectable, and demure, a perfect example of genteel Southern womanhood. Mary Alice -- "Sister" -- is big, brassy, flamboyant, and bold. Together they have a knack for finding themselves in the center of some of Birmingham's most unfortunate unpleasantness.

Country Western is red hot these days, so overimpulsive Mary Alice thinks it makes perfect sense to buy the Skoot 'n' Boot bar -- since that's where the many-times-divorced "Sister" and her boyfriend du jour like to hang out anyway. Sensible retired schoolteacher Patricia Anne is inclined to…


Book cover of Caramel Pecan Roll Murder

Susie Black Why did I love this book?

Ok, fine…you caught me. I admit it: I’ve got a ginormous sweet tooth and gooey caramel is my downfall…so, you can see why I’d naturally gravitate to a cozy mystery that features a small-town cookie shop owner and amateur sleuth like Hannah Swenson. In this book, Hannah gets asked for her help in baking pastries at the local inn for a flashy fishing competition with big prizes and even bigger names. While at the fishing tournament, Hannah spots a runaway boat on the local lake and, on board, the lifeless body of the event’s renowned celebrity spokesperson. Hannah joins forces with her younger sister and sidekick, Andrea, to catch a clever culprit before another unsuspecting victim goes belly up. The two sisters are like night and day. I love how their differences not only help solve the murder, but are the spice that adds zing to the plot.

By Joanne Fluke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Caramel Pecan Roll Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this scrumptious new read in the blockbuster series packed with delightful recipes from a beloved New York Times bestselling author, baker Hannah Swensen is tempted by a high-profile tournament in Lake Eden that quickly turns deadly…

“A good puzzle, lots of delicious recipes…Fluke reinforces her place as the queen of culinary cozies.” —Publishers Weekly

Embracing a sweet escape from her usual routine at The Cookie Jar, Hannah gets asked for her help in baking pastries at the local inn for a flashy fishing competition with big prizes and even bigger names. But the fun stops when she spots a…


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Book cover of Saving Raine

Marian L Thomas

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What is my book about?

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By Marian L Thomas,

What is this book about?

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