The best books set in small communities where murder and humor abound

Why am I passionate about this?

My picks reflect my passion for the cozy mystery genre (which I write myself!) One of the reasons I love cozy mysteries is that justice always prevails. There is no violence, bad language, or sex on the page. The murders take place in a small town or community where everyone is known to everyone else. If you like Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders, you’ll enjoy this genre. 


I wrote...

Murder at Honeychurch Hall

By Hannah Dennison,

Book cover of Murder at Honeychurch Hall

What is my book about?

Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate complete with eccentric lords and ladies and butlers and cooks.

When a secret from the past comes back to haunt Iris, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all. And when the bodies start piling up, it is up to Kat to unravel the tangled truth behind the murders at Honeychurch Hall.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Quiche of Death

Hannah Dennison Why did I love this book?

The Agatha Raisin series features a 52-year-old successful PR executive who retires to a small country village in England. Agatha is a force of nature, she’s irascible, difficult, and determined but utterly endearing. She’s not averse to cheating either and it’s when she passes off a quiche as her own in a village contest (the quiche turns out to be poisoned) – Agatha is the prime suspect. The situations Agatha gets into are very much like I Love Lucy.  

By M.C. Beaton,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Quiche of Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Every new Agatha Raisin escapade is a total joy' ASHLEY JENSEN

'No wonder she's been crowned Queen of Cosy Crime' MAIL ON SUNDAY

'A Beaton novel is like The Archers on speed' DAILY MAIL

The first Agatha Raisin mystery from bestselling author M. C. Beaton

__________________________

Revenge is a dish best served warm...

High-flying public relations supremo Agatha Raisin has decided to take early retirement. She's off to make a new life in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. To make friends, she enters the local quiche-making competition - and to make quite sure of first prize she secretly pays a visit…


Book cover of Homicide in Hardcover

Hannah Dennison Why did I love this book?

I love the adventures of bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. There are 15 books in the series and each one features a well-known book as a backdrop that is integral to the plot. The plots are clever with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Most of all I enjoy the interaction of the characters – Brooklyn was brought up in a commune and was named after the bridge beneath which she was conceived … which says it all really!

By Kate Carlisle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Homicide in Hardcover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book expert Brooklyn Wainwright discovers that murder is always a bestseller in the first novel in the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a skilled surgeon. Sure, her patients might smell like mold and have spines made of leather, but no ailing book is going to die on her watch. The same can’t be said of Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn’s friend and former employer. 
 
On the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration, Brooklyn finds her mentor lying in a pool of his own blood. With his final breath Abraham leaves Brooklyn with a cryptic…


Book cover of Her Royal Spyness

Hannah Dennison Why did I love this book?

The Royal Spyness series is a cross between Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence and Nancy Mitford. It’s set in the 1930s and stars Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. Lady “Georgie” is 34th in line to the throne. When her allowance is cut off she is forced to earn her own money … with disastrous – and deadly – results.

By Rhys Bowen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Her Royal Spyness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIRST ROYAL SPYNESS MYSTERY!

The New York Times bestselling author of the Molly Murphy and Constable Evan Evans mysteries turns her attentions to "a feisty new heroine to delight a legion of Anglophile readers."*

London, 1932. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, 34th in line for the English throne, is flat broke. She's bolted Scotland, her greedy brother, and her fish-faced betrothed. London is a place where she'll experience freedom, learn life lessons aplenty, do a bit of spying for HRH-oh, and find a dead Frenchman in her tub. Now her new job is to clear her long family name...


Book cover of Murder with Peacocks

Hannah Dennison Why did I love this book?

A bookseller recommended the Meg Lanslow series to me years ago and I’ve read them all – 31, as of 2021.  I like Meg’s character – she’s a decorative blacksmith. Each title is a play on birds (no pun intended). They are all fast-paced and witty. 

By Donna Andrews,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Murder with Peacocks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hectic plans for three family weddings in one summer are made even more hectic by murder.


Book cover of Cloche and Dagger

Hannah Dennison Why did I love this book?

Full disclosure: I love all Jenn McKinlay’s books, but the Hat Shop Mysteries are my favorite – probably because I know the area of London she writes about. I also love the Cupcake Mysteries, the Library Lover’s Mysteries as well as her stand alones. Her sense of humor is laugh-out-loud funny and the plots, twisty and fun. 

By Jenn McKinlay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An all-new series from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay

Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.

But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she…


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The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

Book cover of The Midnight Man

Julie Anderson Author Of The Midnight Man

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I write historical crime fiction, and my latest novel is set in a hospital, a real place, now closed. The South London Hospital for Women and Children (1912–1985) was set up by pioneering suffragists and women surgeons Maud Chadburn and Eleanor Davies-Colley (the first woman admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons) and I recreate the now almost-forgotten hospital in my book. Events take place in 1946 when wartime trauma still impacts upon a society exhausted by conflict, and my book choices also reflect this.

Julie's book list on evocative stories set in a hospital

What is my book about?

A historical thriller set in south London just after World War II, as Britain returns to civilian life and the men return home from the fight, causing the women to leave their wartime roles. The South London Hospital for Women and Children is a hospital, (based on a real place) run by women for women and must make adjustments of its own. As austerity bites, the coldest Winter then on record makes life grim. Then a young nurse goes missing.

Days later, her body is found behind a locked door, and two women from the hospital, unimpressed by the police response, decide to investigate. Highly atmospheric and evocative of a distinct period and place.

The Midnight Man

By Julie Anderson,

What is this book about?

BEWARE THE DARKNESS BENEATH

Winter 1946

One cold dark night, as a devastated London shivers through the transition to post-war life, a young nurse goes missing from the South London Hospital for Women & Children. Her body is discovered hours later behind a locked door.

Two women from the hospital join forces to investigate the case. Determined not to return to the futures laid out for them before the war, the unlikely sleuths must face their own demons and dilemmas as they pursue - The Midnight Man.

‘A mystery that evokes the period – and a recovering London – in…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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