100 books like Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder

By Valerie Burns,

Here are 100 books that Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder fans have personally recommended if you like Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Arsenic and Adobo

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

Oh my goodness, first of all: this book will make you so hungry. So, be prepared for that.

Taking place in a warm, intimate Filipino restaurant outside Chicago, Arsenic and Adobo forces recently dumped Lila Macapagal into action after a brutal restaurant critic (who just so happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead while eating her aunt’s food.

She and Tita Rosie are the main suspects, so Lila has to put on her amateur sleuth hat and figure out what really happened to stay out of jail and save her aunt’s business. Arsenic and Adobo is funny, charming, and layered with enough sweetness and spice to keep you devouring it until the last crumb. 

By Mia P. Manansala,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A RUSA Award-winning novel!

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves…


Book cover of A Deadly Inside Scoop

Andrea J. Johnson Author Of Poetic Justice

From my list on cozy mysteries for readers who love culinary crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cozy mysteries are one of the most misunderstood subgenres in fiction, so I’ve been advocating for their promotion for nearly a decade. Even going to far as getting my M.F.A. in the subject and writing a book, How to Craft a Killer Cozy Mystery. These stories focus on the puzzle or whodunit aspect of mystery and present any deaths in a bloodless manner. The focus typically centers on an amateur sleuth and their community rather than law enforcement or villains. My picks are all by female authors of color and have heroines whose culinary inclinations not only help them solve the crime but also leave audiences hungry for another helping.  

Andrea's book list on cozy mysteries for readers who love culinary crimes

Andrea J. Johnson Why did Andrea love this book?

If you love creamy desserts, downhome recipes, and close-knit communities, you’ll love the first entry in Abby Collette’s Ice Cream Parlor Mystery Series. Like all of the protagonists on this list, the story centers on a woman who has inherited a family eatery. In this instance, recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse isn’t able to get her new business off the ground when an early snow and a deadly confrontation with a family adversary put her plans in cold storage and her life in jeopardy.

By Abby Collette,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Deadly Inside Scoop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop—with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family's ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she's going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on…


Book cover of Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Katie Tietjen Author Of Death In The Details

From my list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a steady diet of Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown. Then, in a plot twist that surprised exactly no one, I became an English teacher, a librarian (did you know you can recommend books for a LIVING???), and an author. I love books where the sleuth must not only solve the case at hand, but also wrestle with some sort of ongoing personal problem–bonus points if they can simultaneously pull the curtain back on societal issues and make me feel like I’m getting to experience life in a place where I don’t actually live (I’m looking at you, London and L.A.). 

Katie's book list on mystery books starring kick-butt female sleuths

Katie Tietjen Why did Katie love this book?

I enjoyed being along for this wacky ride as Finlay accidentally gets herself hired as a contract killer, disposes of a body, and navigates the criminal underworld–all while raising her two small children and dealing with her infuriating ex-husband. There’s a love triangle in this book, but the relationship I enjoyed most was the friendship that develops between Finlay and Vero, her former nanny turned partner in crime.

This story is completely absurd, laugh-out-loud funny, and very suspenseful. 

By Elle Cosimano,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Finlay Donovan Is Killing It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Getting the job done" for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It.

One of Suspense Magazine's "Best Thrillers of 2021"
One of New York Public Library's Best Books of 2021
Nominated for the Left Coast Crime 2022 Lefty Award for the Best Humorous Mystery

“Funny and smart, twisty and surprising.”—Megan Miranda

Finlay Donovan is killing it . . . except, she’s really not. She’s a stressed-out single-mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: the new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny…


Book cover of Clammed Up

Debra H. Goldstein Author Of One Taste Too Many

From my list on sleuths who are frightened of the kitchen.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having had two books orphaned (Maze in Blue and Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery), I wanted to write a cozy mystery. Most cozy mysteries feature an excellent cook, baker, or craftswoman. I hate all those things. Stumped for a moment, I realized there were other readers like me—and that is how Sarah Blair, a woman who finds being in the kitchen more frightening than murder was born. Professionally and personally, I’ve been a writer, lawyer, judge, wife, mother of twins, step-mother, and community volunteer, but the Sarah Blair books combine my love of animals with my propensity for accidentally blowing up my kitchen.

Debra's book list on sleuths who are frightened of the kitchen

Debra H. Goldstein Why did Debra love this book?

Financial whiz Julia Snowden returns to her Maine hometown to rescue the family’s clambake business. Although she has financial acumen, she lacks true knowledge of how a clam bake works. She learns the hard way when a murder and a wedding reception don’t mix. I wasn’t familiar with the inner workings of clam bakes, from menu to preparation, but I learned with Julia. I also enjoy Ross’s writing style. The combination of the storytelling plus the facts interwoven make this a good book choice.

By Barbara Ross,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Clammed Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Summer has come to Busman's Harbor, Maine, and tourists are lining up for a taste of authentic New England seafood, courtesy of the Snowden Family Clambake Company. But there's something sinister on the boil this season. A killer has crashed a wedding party, adding mystery to the menu at the worst possible moment. . .

Julia Snowden returned to her hometown to rescue her family's struggling clambake business--not to solve crimes. But that was before a catered wedding on picturesque Morrow Island turned into a reception for murder. When the best man's corpse is found hanging from the grand staircase…


Book cover of Class Reunions Are Murder

Paula Charles Author Of Hammers And Homicide

From my list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cozy mystery writer and reader who loves to suss out family dynamics in the books I’m devouring. My love of genealogy and turning family stories into fiction played a large role while writing my first book, Hammers and Homicide. Wherever my husband and I travel, we search for ancestors in ancient cemeteries and try to find out more about their stories. You’ll find a few of them between the pages of my books. I hope you’ll enjoy these books, all featuring some level of family ties, as much as I did! 

Paula's book list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties

Paula Charles Why did Paula love this book?

I can’t even tell you how much I love Aunt Ginny in Libby Klein’s Poppy McAllister Mystery series! She is an absolute hoot. While I love the whole series, the first introduction to Aunt Ginny in this book remains my favorite. 

Poppy is newly widowed and a grief-stricken disaster when she receives an invitation to her high school reunion. She heads home to Cape May and her eccentric Great Aunt Ginny’s house. As they do in cozy mysteries, a murder happens, and Poppy and Aunt Ginny are on the case.

Poppy and her aunt’s relationship, paired with Aunt Ginny’s crazy antics, always leaves me wiping tears of mirth out of my eyes. Such a fun read!

By Libby Klein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fans of Jana DeLeon and Joanne Fluke will love Libby Klein! For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn't just awkward--it's deadly.
 
Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There's no way on earth she's attending her twenty-five-year class reunion--especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy's best friend practically drags her to the event . . .
 
Using the…


Book cover of The Rocky Road to Ruin

Sarah Fox Author Of Six Sweets Under

From my list on culinary cozy mystery to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cozy mystery lover with a sweet tooth, I devour dozens of mystery novels every year (many featuring food) and I love to sample new series while also following my long-time favorites. I have also written and published more than 15 cozy mysteries of my own, many of which have a culinary theme. Although I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, I now live in a small town and I have a particular fondness for cozy small-town mysteries set by the ocean, as well as those featuring scrumptious treats.

Sarah's book list on culinary cozy mystery to satisfy your sweet tooth

Sarah Fox Why did Sarah love this book?

In The Rocky Road to Ruin, CIA librarian Riley Rhodes returns home to the charming Connecticut town of Pennimen, where she helps run the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop and solves a murder to clear her friend’s name.

The mystery kept me guessing, the ice cream flavors made my mouth water, and the two adorable cats melted my heart like the summer sun melts ice cream.

By Meri Allen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Rocky Road to Ruin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Riley Rhodes, travel food blogger and librarian at the CIA, returns to her childhood home of Penniman, Connecticut - land of dairy farms and covered bridges - to attend the funeral of her best friend Caroline's mother and owner of the beloved Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. Despite the melancholy circumstances, it's a bittersweet first day home filled with reunions with old friends, a walk around her father's cosy bookshop on the green, and late night conversations with Caroline. And, of course, long and joyful hours spent behind the counter serving delicious ice cream to the masses. It feels like…


Book cover of A Trip with Trouble

Debra H. Goldstein Author Of One Taste Too Many

From my list on sleuths who are frightened of the kitchen.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having had two books orphaned (Maze in Blue and Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery), I wanted to write a cozy mystery. Most cozy mysteries feature an excellent cook, baker, or craftswoman. I hate all those things. Stumped for a moment, I realized there were other readers like me—and that is how Sarah Blair, a woman who finds being in the kitchen more frightening than murder was born. Professionally and personally, I’ve been a writer, lawyer, judge, wife, mother of twins, step-mother, and community volunteer, but the Sarah Blair books combine my love of animals with my propensity for accidentally blowing up my kitchen.

Debra's book list on sleuths who are frightened of the kitchen

Debra H. Goldstein Why did Debra love this book?

I recently read an advance copy of A Trip with Trouble (releases October 2022), the 2nd Mountain Lodge Mystery. In the first book in the series, protagonist Misty Murphy turned fifty, got divorced, and invested her settlement in a mountain lodge that she knew nothing about running. A Trip with Trouble finds the inn totally rented out to Dangerous Curves Motorcycle Club, a group of women who plan to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway. On a ride that Misty is invited to join, things go awry when the tail gunner (last rider) is found dead. Although I enjoyed the whodunit aspects of the book, Kelly’s vivid descriptions of the Blue Ridge Parkway area and the mountains grounded the book in reality. A quick read that I stayed up far too late so I could finish it in one sitting. (The book has certain chapters told through the eyes of…

By Diane Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Trip with Trouble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the ladies of the Dangerous Curves Motorcycle Club take over the Mountaintop Lodge for their annual autumn ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Misty Murphy couldn't be more thrilled. Every room is full and the adventurous women couldn't be more entertaining. The ladies even invite Misty and her assistant Brynn to join them on a ride to admire the colourful fall foliage. Hotel handyman Rocky Crowder is happy to keep an eye on the lodge for the day, and the ladies set out for a fun ride on the scenic road.

The skies are clear, the air is crisp,…


Book cover of Death by Bubble Tea

Paula Charles Author Of Hammers And Homicide

From my list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cozy mystery writer and reader who loves to suss out family dynamics in the books I’m devouring. My love of genealogy and turning family stories into fiction played a large role while writing my first book, Hammers and Homicide. Wherever my husband and I travel, we search for ancestors in ancient cemeteries and try to find out more about their stories. You’ll find a few of them between the pages of my books. I hope you’ll enjoy these books, all featuring some level of family ties, as much as I did! 

Paula's book list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties

Paula Charles Why did Paula love this book?

In this book by Jennifer J. Chow, I loved how the differences between Yale Yee, the sleuth, and her cousin, Celine, not only created tension throughout the book but ultimately played on each of their strengths to solve the mystery. 

The two cousins are thrown together when quiet Yale is tapped by her dad to run the family bubble tea stand at L.A.’s night market. Loud and flamboyant Celine, a social media influencer, arrives in L.A. and gets tasked with helping Yale out.

Chow does a great job of showing the two girls' very different personalities and adding in that family tension. On top of that, the L.A. night market is fascinating! I hope this will be a long-running series!  

By Jennifer J. Chow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two cousins who start a food stall at their local night market get a serving of murder in this first novel of a delicious new cozy mystery series by Jennifer J. Chow, bestselling author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it’s a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn’t cooked in years,…


Book cover of Hot and Sour Suspects

Andrea J. Johnson Author Of Poetic Justice

From my list on cozy mysteries for readers who love culinary crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cozy mysteries are one of the most misunderstood subgenres in fiction, so I’ve been advocating for their promotion for nearly a decade. Even going to far as getting my M.F.A. in the subject and writing a book, How to Craft a Killer Cozy Mystery. These stories focus on the puzzle or whodunit aspect of mystery and present any deaths in a bloodless manner. The focus typically centers on an amateur sleuth and their community rather than law enforcement or villains. My picks are all by female authors of color and have heroines whose culinary inclinations not only help them solve the crime but also leave audiences hungry for another helping.  

Andrea's book list on cozy mysteries for readers who love culinary crimes

Andrea J. Johnson Why did Andrea love this book?

In the early entries of Vivien Chien’s beloved Noodle Shop Mysteries, the focus is on protagonist’s Lana Lee’s failed love life, her mother’s determination to find her a husband, the family restaurant, and murder, of course. But Hot and Sour Suspects focuses more on the dating trials and tribulations of Lana’s friend and local shop owner, Rina Su, who attends a speed dating contest at Lana’s Ho-Lee Noodle House. It isn’t long before Rina’s date is found murdered and Lana takes up the responsibility of uncovering the truth before the situation and subsequent deaths threaten to sour the reputations and businesses of her fellow restaurant owners. 

By Vivien Chien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hot and Sour Suspects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lana Lee returns for another delectable cozy set in a Chinese restaurant in Vivien Chien's Hot and Sour Suspects.

"Pair your noodles with this steaming mystery, and you have the perfect chilly night combination!”—PopSugar

At the Ho-Lee Noodle House, murder is on the menu.

When Lana Lee’s best friend, Megan Riley, asks her to help host a speed dating contest at Ho-Lee Noodle House, she doesn’t see the harm in lending a hand. The night goes better than anticipated, and both Lana and Megan are beyond thrilled with the results. But before they can break out the champagne, Rina Su,…


Book cover of Evil Woman

Judy Alter Author Of Saving Irene: A Culinary Mystery

From my list on outrageous cozy mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lifelong fan of cozy mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew. Although I have written primarily about women of the 19th-century American West, I always longed to write mysteries. The Irene in Chicago Culinary Mysteries is my fourth series but the first outrageous one. The books combine my love of all things culinary (I’ve even written cookbooks) and my love of Chicago, my hometown. What makes them outrageous? Irene’s diva-like deceptions and Henny’s snarky commentary.

Judy's book list on outrageous cozy mysteries

Judy Alter Why did Judy love this book?

In this fourteenth book in the Country Club Murders series, Ellison Russell returns from a long honeymoon to find an older woman has been murdered in her bed. With a new husband, her mother in the hospital (targeted by the murderer?), her difficult sister as a houseguest, one too many animals, and a full social calendar, Ellison can’t catch a break. Ellison is smart and funny, and she’s found herself a new, inappropriate, and wonderful husband. The spoof of the 1980s country club society is spot on.

By Julie Mulhern,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Ellison Russell Jones returns from her honeymoon, she’s ready for a restful summer.

But while she was away, an older woman was murdered in her bed. And the police have questions only Ellison and her friends can answer.

She gets to be a sleuth. A real one! But with a new husband, her mother in the hospital (targeted by the murderer?), her sister as a house guest, one too many animals, and a full social calendar, Ellison can’t catch a break, much less a killer.

She’d better focus, or she may be the next victim.


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