From a lighthearted mystery by Joanne Fluke to notable cozy mystery work of Leslie Meier, the following list of handpicked books feature some of best cozy mystery novels featuring amateur sleuths we have come across this month:
Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is a fun cozy read which brings back the lovable character Hannah Swensen. It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be murder.
With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care.
But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake.
Glitter Bomb by Laura Childs and Terrie Farley Moran: An exploding Mardi Gras float has got to be the strangest murder weapon scrappy sleuth Carmela Bertrand has ever encountered in this latest Scrapbooking Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author.
It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans and scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand is excited to be attending the Pluvius Parade along with her best friend Ava. Carmela’s ex-husband Shamus rides by the duo on his float at the head of the parade, when suddenly the revelry turns to disaster. Shamus’ float crashes and explodes, and although Shamus escapes unhurt, a member of his krewe is killed.
Carmela and Ava plunge into an investigation of the krewe-member’s death, but as they dig deeper it starts to look less like an accident and more like a murder….and Shamus seems less like a victim, and more like a suspect.
A Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang: This is a great debut historical mystery and one of our favorites. The year is 1924. The cobblestoned streets of St. James ring with jazz as Britain races forward into an age of peace and prosperity. London’s back alleys, however, are filled with broken soldiers and still enshadowed by the lingering horrors of the Great War.
Only a few years removed from the trenches of Flanders himself, Lieutenant Eric Peterkin has just been granted membership in the most prestigious soldiers-only club in London: The Britannia. But when a gentleman’s wager ends with a member stabbed to death, the victim’s last words echo in the Lieutenant’s head: that he would “soon right a great wrong from the past.”
Eric is certain that one of his fellow members is the murderer: but who? Captain Mortimer Wolfe, the soldier’s soldier thrice escaped from German custody? Second Lieutenant Oliver Saxon, the brilliant codebreaker? Or Captain Edward Aldershott, the steely club president whose Savile Row suits hide a frightening collision of mustard gas scars?
Eric’s investigation will draw him far from the marbled halls of the Britannia, to the shadowy remains of a dilapidated war hospital and the heroin dens of Limehouse. And as the facade of gentlemenhood cracks, Eric faces a Matryoshka doll of murder, vice, and secrets pointing not only to the officers of his own club but the very investigator assigned by Scotland Yard.
A Willing Murder by Jude Deveraux: New York Times bestselling romance author Jude Deveraux makes her debut in the world of mystery with a story of old secrets, deadly grudges and an improbable group of friends who are determined to uncover the truth regardless of the consequences…
Sara Medlar is a household name in romance, with millions of books sold. But lately, retirement has been boring her and she’s found herself back in her hometown of Lachlan, Florida, remodeling the grand old mansion she’d admired as a child. It’s much too big for her alone, but she’d die before letting anyone in town know that.
Then Sara’s niece Kate is offered a job in Lachlan—a start in what could be a very successful career in real estate. She accepts immediately, but with so little saved up, she’ll have to approach her estranged yet incredibly famous aunt for a place to stay while she gets herself settled. But when she arrives at Sara’s home, she finds she’s not the only long-term houseguest. Jackson Wyatt already has his own room, and though it’s impossible to deny his good looks and charm—he’s clearly got her aunt wrapped around his finger—she’s also never met anyone who irritates her quite like Jack does.
However, when two skeletons are accidentally uncovered in the quiet town, this unlikely trio is suddenly thrust together by a common goal: to solve a mystery everyone else seems eager to keep under wraps. United by a sense of justice and the desire to right old wrongs, Sara, Kate and Jack will have to dig into Lachlan’s murky past to unravel the small town’s dark secrets and work to bring the awful truth to light.
Reel of Fortune by Jana DeLeon: Nothing says Welcome Home like a murder. It’s official. Fortune Redding is out of the CIA and a newly minted resident of Sinful, Louisiana. She never expected her homecoming to be all apple pie and hugs, but a murder wasn’t on her list of things to deal with before she’d even gotten her name stenciled on her mailbox.
Boone Carre—Hooch, to the locals—was a drunk and a louse and had shafted pretty much everyone he’d ever done business with. So when someone kills him, there is no shortage of suspects. Unfortunately, Ally is at the top of the list. Fortune, Ida Belle, and Gertie know that Ally isn’t capable of murdering anyone, but with an ambitious ADA looking to make a name for himself, and the local gossip train intent on finding someone to blame, they know they have to find the killer and clear Ally’s name.
The Dead Ringer: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton: The idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna is best known for the medieval church of St. Ethelred and its bells, which are the pride and glory of the whole community.
As the bell-ringers get ready for the visit of the dashing Bishop Peter Salver-Hinkley, the whole village is thrown into a frenzy. Meanwhile, Agatha convinces one of the bell-ringers, the charming lawyer Julian Brody, to hire her to investigate the mystery of the Bishop’s ex-fiancée: a local heiress, Jennifer Toynby, who went missing years ago and whose body was never found…
Meanwhile, the bodies in the village just keep on piling up: the corpse of Larry Jensen, a local policeman, is discovered in the crypt. Millicent Dupin, one of a pair of bell-ringing identical twins, is murdered near the church. And Terry Fletcher, a journalist and (briefly) Agatha’s lover, is found dead in her sitting room! Agatha widens her investigation and very soon her main suspect is the handsome Bishop himself. But could he really be behind this series of violent killings, or is it someone who wants to bring him―and his reputation―down?
Silver Anniversary Murder by Leslie Meier: Much has happened since Leslie Meier first introduced her beloved sleuth Lucy Stone with Mistletoe Murder. Many holidays and bake sales have come and gone, Lucy’s children have all grown up. But even after twenty-four books into the bestselling series, murder is never out of the picture.
As Tinker’s Cove, Maine, buzzes over a town-wide silver wedding anniversary bash, Lucy is reminded of her nuptials and ponders the whereabouts of Beth Gerard, her strong-willed maid of honor. Lucy never would have made it down the aisle without Beth’s help, and although the two friends lost touch over the years, she decides to reach out. It only takes one phone call for Lucy to realize that a reunion will happen sooner than later—at Beth’s funeral.
Beth, who was in the process of finalizing her fourth divorce, had a reputation for living on the edge—but no one can believe she would jump off a penthouse terrace in New York City. The more Lucy learns about Beth’s former husbands, the more she suspects one of them committed murder.
Summoning her friend’s impulsive spirit, Lucy vows to scour New York from the Bronx to the Brooklyn Bridge in search of the killer. With each ex dodgier than the last, it’s not long before Lucy’s investigation leads her to a desperate criminal who will do anything to get away—even if it means silencing another victim.
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen: If only Darcy and I had eloped! What I thought would be a simple wedding has been transformed into a grand affair, thanks to the attendance of the queen, who has offered up the princesses as bridesmaids. Silly me! I thought that withdrawing from the royal line of succession would simplify my life. But before Darcy and I tie the knot in front of queen and country, we have to find a place to live as man and wife…
House hunting turns out to be a pretty grim affair. Just as we start to lose hope, my globetrotting godfather offers us his fully staffed country estate. Mistress of Eynsleigh I shall be! With Darcy off in parts unknown, I head to Eynsleigh alone, only to have my hopes dashed. The grounds are in disarray and the small staff is suspiciously incompetent.
Not to mention the gas tap leak in my bedroom, which I can only imagine was an attempt on my life. Something rotten is afoot–and bringing the place up to snuff may put me six feet under before I even get a chance to walk down the aisle.
Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Shaffer: Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama team up in this high-stakes thriller that combines a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs.
Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.
Part noir thriller and part bromance, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.
Die Me A River by Denise Swanson: School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins’ christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there’s a body inside.
As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can’t help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.
Premeditated Peppermint by Amanda Flower: Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday treat: peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas.
Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town—and Swissmen Sweets—be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death—and Eric’s the prime suspect.
With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name . . . and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world—or to Bailey—this deadly Noel.
Hitting The Books by Jenn McKinlay: When a stack of library materials is found at the scene of a hit and run, library director Lindsey Norris finds herself dragged into the investigation as the police try to link the driver of the stolen car to the person who borrowed the books. Before Lindsey can delve into the library’s records, the victim of the hit and run, Theresa Houston, suffers another “accident” and the investigation shifts from driver negligence to attempted homicide.
A clue surfaces in the confiscated library materials that could crack open the case and it is up to Lindsey to piece it all together. But things are not as they seem in the sleepy town of Briar Creek and when the driver of the stolen car turns up dead, Lindsey, her staff and her library friends have to hit the books before the murderer gets the last word.