If Books Could Kill
Updated: Oct 4, 2018
Cosy mysteries are the warm and fuzzy version of hardboiled detective novels.
While murder (or, more often, a series of murders) always takes place in a cosy mystery, they’ve been painted with soft blurred lines and often take place in a small and charming town where “this type of thing never happens.”
Cosy mysteries also often (though, not always) have a female lead character not involved in law enforcement playing amateur sleuth while the reader is invited to play armchair detective right alongside.
Frequently, cosy mysteries lay claim to the puniest of names. Whether clever, a play on words or just plain silly, they really indicate that what you’re about to read is a murder, wrapped in blankets and holding tea.
Cosy mysteries’ most famous matron, Agatha Christie, typifies the genre.
I can honestly say cosy mysteries are my favourite adult genre and I read a LOT of them, no matter how formulaic they can occasionally be. Perhaps it’s because I grew up frequently visiting “the stately pile” of my relations in a small English village or perhaps it’s because I’m a (not so) closet Murderino.
Whatever the reason, there are a lot of cosy mystery books and series to explore and I’m always keen to read more!
Sleeping Murder Agatha Christie
(Miss Marple Mystery, Number 12)
Agatha Christie’s last novel, published posthumously, features one of her most beloved characters, Miss Marple.
Newlywed Australian Gwenda buys a house for her and her husband, Giles, on the lovely English seaside. While renovating her new house, Gwenda has increasing moments of precognition, asking for changes to the house that had in fact once existed.
When Gwenda has a terrible turn and pictures a beautiful woman dead in the hallway, Miss Marple urges the young couple to "let sleeping murder lie."
Naturally, The Reeds do not heed her advice, and they find themselves piecing together a murder, if it even was a murder, that may or may not have happened, and that Gwenda may or may not have witnessed as a toddler in that very house 18 years ago.
Faux Paw Sofie Kelly
(A Magical Cats Mystery, Number 7)
The magical cats in this mystery series are less magical and more oddly unexplained, a difference that helpfully places this mystery more firmly in the mystery camp then the fantasy camp.
This cosy mystery centres on small-town librarian, Kathleen Paulson, her two catnip crazed kitties (Owen and Hercules), the Mayville Heights art exhibition, and a disagreeable and overbearing curator.
When Kathleen finds a body and a missing sketch, the centerpiece of the whole exhibit missing, she takes it upon herself to paw through the potential suspects and find the murderer.
The first in the series is Curiosity Thrilled the Cat (A Magical Cats Mystery, Book #1)
The Quiche of Death M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin Series, Number 1)
For Agatha Raisin, transitioning from her blue collar upbringing to landed blue blood has been her life’s goal.
When, upon taking early retirement she moves to the quiet village of Carsely in the heart of the idyllic Cotswolds country life might not be all Agatha thinks it to be. Trying too hard to fit in, Agatha enters her store bought quiche into the village baking contest. Not only does she not win, but her quiche kills a judge.
In a plot to prove her innocence and win her place in the country village, Agatha starts an investigation of her own.
Books Can Be Deceiving Jenn McKinlay (Library Lover’s Mystery Number 1)
Lindsey Norris is the director of the Briar Creek Public Library. Beth Stanley is Briar Creek’s children’s librarian and Lindsey’s best friend.
When a hot shot New York City editor comes to town, Beth pitches her children’s book, only to find her very recently ex-boyfriend of five years had pitched it, and published it first! On their way to confront the rat of an ex, they find him, murdered, and Lindsey must act fast before Beth ends up being the only suspect.
Owls Well That Ends Well
(Meg Langslow Mystery Series Number 6)
The sixth book in the Meg Langslow Mystery Series, features a garage sale, money-mad heirs, endangered barn owls, hidden treasure, and an antiques dealer dead in a trunk, all key ingredients for a memorable murder mystery.
It's a read that's funny and warm, in the fine tradition of the other Meg Langslow mysteries.
The first in the series is Murder With Peacocks (Meg Langslow Mystery Series, Book #1)
Elementary, She Read Vicki Delany
(A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery Number 1)
Gemma Doyle, the manager of Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, and her friend Jayne Wilson, the manager of the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room set out on an adventure involving a valuable magazine, an unpublished Sherlock Holmes story, and a dead body.
Putting all their deductive powers to the test, Gemma and Jayne investigate a whole host of suspicious characters trying to track down the likeliest culprit. The game, as they say, is afoot!
The Merlot Murders Ellen Crosby
(Wine Country Mysteries Number 1)
Lucie Montgomery’s idyllic life in France comes crashing to a halt when, at 2:30 in the morning she gets a phone call from her brother. She needs to come home, her father, Leland, has died.
Going home for Lucie means facing a brother she barely recognizes, a sister who resents her, a crumbling business, and an ex with supreme amounts of baggage. When Lucie’s godfather tells her he thinks Leland’s death was anything but an accident and turns up dead himself, Lucie’s life, family, and family business are on the line.
Did you know? There are many sub-sets of cosy mysteries? For instance, there are cosy mysteries that feature cooking and baking and usually include a recipe or two! Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries, Merry Muffin Mystery Series, Hannah Swensen Mystery Series, and Paws and Claws Mystery Series are some of my very favourite (with great recipes!)
If you enjoyed these titles, or are interested in other themed cosy mysteries and television series, check out this cosy mystery list: Don’t Judge a Book by its Murder!