The most recommended cozy mystery books

Who picked these books? Meet our 212 experts.

212 authors created a book list connected to cozy mystery books, and here are their favorites.

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Book cover of Date with Death

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From Toni's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Historian Author Teacher Bestseller

Toni's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

Julia Chapman’s Date with Death is one of a great series of not-so-cosy crime novels set in the Yorkshire Dales’ fictional village of Bruncliffe with numerous nefarious deeds occurring in the midst of stunning scenery.

With lead characters named Samson and Delilah, I knew this was going to be an intriguing read and I wasn’t disappointed. There was rip-roaring action, melodrama, and plot twists to enthrall the reader – what’s not to like? 

By Julia Chapman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Meet two sleuths from a sleepy Yorkshire village as they investigate murders and discover the secrets behind the twitching curtains. Date with Death is the first cosy crime novel in Julia Chapman's Dales Detective series, perfect for fans of Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club and M. C. Beaton.

Samson O'Brien has been dismissed from the police force, and returns to his hometown of Bruncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales to set up the Dales Detective Agency. However, the villagers aren't that welcoming to a man they see as trouble.

Delilah Metcalfe is struggling to keep her business, the Dales Dating…


Book cover of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Dana Mentink Author Of Pint of No Return

From my list on hungry armchair sleuths who love their snackies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe it’s due to my Cuban heritage, but I was raised to appreciate a delicious meal. Beans and rice, roasted pork, plantains, my mouth waters at the thought. When I launched into the writing business twenty five years and fifty books ago, I managed to sprinkle my novels with plenty of tasty treats. Diving into the culinary mystery world allowed me to combine my fancy for food and fiction into one glorious place. The best kind of mystery novels are the ones that tickle your taste buds while they tweak your little grey cells, don’t you think?

Dana's book list on hungry armchair sleuths who love their snackies

Dana Mentink Why did Dana love this book?

Similar to Goldy in the prior recommendation, Hannah Swenson knows her way around a cookie. She runs her own bakery with offerings that make the reader’s mouth water (mine sure does!) She’s got plenty of sass and a mom who is constantly trying to find her a man. I love her determination to solve the murder of the milkman but most of all I love the cookie recipes which are easy for the average baker. I am a massive cookie lover so I am always looking for new types to try and Hannah Swenson delivers. She keeps the recipes easy and accessible but always with a fun twist.

By Joanne Fluke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the New York Times-bestselling mystery series: “A cleverly plotted cozy full of appealing characters and delicious cookie recipes.”—Publishers Weekly

Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you've got the recipe for this mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her comments and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

While dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, Hannah runs The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But after Ron LaSalle, the beloved deliveryman…


Book cover of Die Noon

Kris Bock Author Of Something Shady at Sunshine Haven

From my list on mystery series when you need a laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I make a snarky remark during a party, chances are one person will catch my eye with the amused look that says, “I saw what you did there.” Everyone else will keep right on talking. But in a book, the reader is right there in the character’s head, which lets your audience catch those subtle humorous comments. In my mystery series, The Accidental Detective, Kate shares witty observations about life with the reader – making Kate funnier than I am. I don’t do as much slapstick and joking (in life or in fiction), but I enjoy writers who pull off those forms of humor well. Humor makes life’s challenges bearable

Kris' book list on mystery series when you need a laugh

Kris Bock Why did Kris love this book?

Matilda moves to the small New Mexico town of Goodnight after inheriting a house, a small newspaper, and two dogs. She learns just how odd the town is when she starts investigating the murder of a reporter. The town of Goodnight is pretty bizarre, but speaking as someone who lives in a small town in New Mexico, Goodnight is more believable than it might seem to an outsider. I prefer books where weirdness is something to celebrate, and here the characters embrace their crazy with enthusiastic joy. This story is part screwball comedy and part mystery, and both work.

By Elise Sax,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Matilda Dare can’t sleep. Her insomnia is one more reason to move to the quirky small town of Goodnight, New Mexico after she inherits a house, a small newspaper, and two old dogs there. But despite the Goodnight name, Matilda still spends hers wide awake, and she has good reason after a reporter is murdered. With a mystery to solve, she begins to investigate the town and uncovers more suspects than she knows what to do with.

Meanwhile, the hottie cowboy sheriff is doing his own investigation into Matilda, and the mysterious, handsome stranger, who just happens to live with…


Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

Book cover of Thorn City

Pamela Statz

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Dressed to kill and ready to make rent, best friends Lisa and Jamie work as “paid to party” girls at the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala, a gathering of Portland's elite.

Their evening is derailed when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician and Lisa’s estranged mother. And to make matters worse, Lisa’s boyfriend, Patrick, crashes the party to meet his new boss, Portland's food cart drug kingpin. Lisa makes a fateful choice that traps her, Jamie, and Patrick in Ellen’s web. In this gripping thriller, Lisa must reconcile a painful past and perilous present.

Thorn City

By Pamela Statz,

What is this book about?

Suspected murder, eclectic food trucks, and artisanal cocaine: just another day in Thorn City.

It’s the night of the Rose City Ripe for Disruption gala—a gathering of Portland’s elite. Dressed to kill in sparkling minidresses, best friends Lisa and Jamie attend as “paid to party” girls. They plan an evening of fake flirtations, karaoke playlists, and of course, grazing the catering.

Past and present collide when Lisa stumbles across Ellen, a ruthless politician who also happens to be Lisa’s estranged mother. Awkward . . . When Lisa was sixteen, Ellen had her kidnapped and taken to the Lost Lake Academy—a…


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 One Good Turn

Joe Foweraker Author Of Oligarchy in the Americas: Comparing Oligarchic Rule in Latin America and the United States

From Joe's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Scholar Gentleman Storyteller Golfer Traveler

Joe's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Joe Foweraker Why did Joe love this book?

I love reading Kate Atkinson, especially her crime novels with the irresistible hero Jackson Brodie. One Good Turn is both a literary drama with an extensive cast of quirky characters and an addictive and fast-paced thriller.

Best of all, it is the funniest book she has written to date, and that says a lot. I read it for the third or fourth time, and I was captivated all over again. Read and enjoy.  

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One Good Turn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Atkinson's bright voice rings on every page, and her sly and wry observations move the plot as swiftly as suspense turns the pages of a thriller."-San Francisco ChronicleTwo years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam - the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage - a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous…


Book cover of Mrs. Plansky's Revenge

Lucy Burdette Author Of A Clue In The Crumbs

From Lucy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Clinical psychologist Foodie Reader Pet enthusiast

Lucy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Lucy Burdette Why did Lucy love this book?

Spencer Quinn's Mrs. Plansky, a retired 70-something in a Florida retirement community, falls victim to a scam that cleans out her savings. She has no job, no husband (he's recently deceased), an elderly and difficult father, and several needy grown children with ridiculous schemes that would require big cash infusions from their mother.

She decides she can't take this blow lying down and rises to the occasion in the most charming and wildly believable way. (Hint: she travels to Romania to track down and confront the scammers.)

Since I enjoy Richard Osman's books about a foursome of senior sleuths and adore writing octogenarian Miss Gloria in my Key West mysteries, Mrs. Plansky struck me as the perfect spunky sleuth. 

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Plansky's Revenge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a recent widow in her seventies, is settling into retirement in Florida while dealing with her 98-year-old father and fielding requests for money from her beloved children and grandchildren. Thankfully, her new hip hasn't changed her killer tennis game one bit.

One night Mrs. Plansky is startled awake by a phone call from a voice claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs ten thousand dollars to get out of a jam. Of course, Loretta obliges-after all, what are grandmothers for, even grandmothers who still haven't gotten a simple "thank you" for a gift sent weeks…


Book cover of Three Shots to the Wind

Sherry Lynn Author Of Digging Up Daisy

From my list on beachfront cozy mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

The sound of waves rolling to shore. The scent of beach roses and salty air, mixed with suntan lotion. Breezy summer days with no agenda. This is the promised escape when I discover a cozy mystery with a waterfront cover. I’m immediately transported to a journey of respite with a sprinkle of intrigue tucked deep within the pages. The waterfront setting is one that I desire in both to read and to write, and I know I’m not alone. I’ve compiled a list of favorites for you when choosing a book that revolves around seaworthy things. 

Sherry's book list on beachfront cozy mysteries

Sherry Lynn Why did Sherry love this book?

Set in the emerald cove of Florida’s Panhandle, Three Shots to the Wind by Sherry Harris is the third book in the cozy Chloe Jackson, Sea Glass Saloon Mystery series.

The characters in this series are realistic and likable and embody that sense of community that cozy mystery readers long for. A fun premise with an ex-fiancé winding up dead and her current love interest a prime suspect.

By Sherry Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Shots to the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The third installment in Sherry Harris’s Agatha Award-nominated series finds former Chicago librarian Chloe Jackson loving her new life as a bartender in Florida…until a surprise visit from her Windy City ex-fiancé ends with him blown away in the Panhandle!
 

DEAD EXES TELL NO TALES
 
Saloon owner Chloe Jackson appears to have a secret admirer. She’s pouring drinks at the Sea Glass Saloon in Emerald Cove when an airplane flies by above the beach with a banner reading I LOVE YOU CHLOE JACKSON. She immediately rules out Rip Barnett. They are in the early stages of dating and no one…


Book cover of Homicide in Hardcover

Hannah Dennison Author Of Murder at Honeychurch Hall

From my list on murder and humor set in small communities.

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. 

Hannah's book list on murder and humor set in small communities

Hannah Dennison Why did Hannah 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 Big Sky

J. Woollcott Author Of Blood Relations: A DS Ryan McBride Novel

From J.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mystery Reader Nervous wreck Dog lover Always cold

J.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

J. Woollcott Why did J. love this book?

In Big Sky, Kate Atkinson manages to create a wonderfully engaging cast of characters, each with a life of their own. Everyone in her books has a personality, they are memorable, and they are there for a purpose.

Even the aging dog, Dido, who is dragged around with our hero, Jackson Brodie, has a presence. Dido is used to show a flicker of humanity in Jackson’s carefully sketched son, Nathan, the perfect bored teenager, the roller of eyes, the yawner. Atkinson’s trademark humor is threaded throughout.

This book contains several nasty, complex plots, and in the middle of them, we find Jackson cutting a gentle swathe through the bad guys. He solves the mysteries, or happens to be there when they are solved, and generally sets wrongs to right without gunplay or car chases (well, maybe the odd one, but only under duress). He is the perfect reluctant hero…

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The stand-out read of the summer. It's a masterclass in brilliant writing and whether you've read the earlier books in the series or not, you'll enjoy it.' Independent

'Like all good detectives, he is a hero for men and women alike.' The Times

'Laced with Atkinson's sharp, dry humour, and one of the joys of the Brodie novels has always been that they are so funny.' Observer

Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village in North Yorkshire, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son Nathan and ageing Labrador Dido, both at the discretion of his former…


Book cover of The Recycled Citizen

Dory Codington Author Of Beside Turning Water

From my list on realistic historical fiction that makes you swoon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started the Edge of Empire series which includes Beside Turning Water when I was a Park Guide at Boston’s National Historical Park. As a guide I gave tours on the Freedom Trail which preserves the buildings and stories from the era of the American Revolution. I wanted to create a book like the ones I love full of romance a bit of sex, and with historical accuracy. Books that would help readers fall in love with the characters and understand the history of the events in the Revolution without that dry history-class feeling.

Dory's book list on realistic historical fiction that makes you swoon

Dory Codington Why did Dory love this book?

Detectives Sarah Kelling and her much-loved husband Max Bittersohn live in her inherited house on Beacon Hill, Boston. These are detective novels of the cozy and charming sort, and because of the relationship between Sarah and Max are adventure romances as well.

Sarah has a large extended family and they enter into all the books as friends. This makes each one a friend and fun to read. MacCleod knows Boston and her descriptions of the habits and haunts of classic Beacon Brahmins/Yankees are as charming and rich as her plots. I recommend this and her other books for the fun of reading and the great plots.

By Charlotte MacLeod,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Recycled Citizen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A “funny and exciting” mystery in the series featuring a husband-and-wife sleuthing team in Boston (Publishers Weekly).

Boston and its suburbs are stuffed with Kellings, and the city is about to get one more. Sarah Kelling and her husband Max Bittersohn—a pair of amateur sleuths equally at home in back alleys as they are at black-tie balls—are about to have a baby. And if the child takes after his parents, he will be one of the cleverest infants in New England. But while Sarah is a month away from giving birth, she cannot let pregnancy slow her down—she has a…