It’s no secret that I love a good mystery novel.
I cut my teeth on Encyclopedia Brown as a kiddie, then graduated to the Boxcar Children and the Bobbsey Twins. I read a couple of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels that my local library had in stock. I dabbled in Sherlock Holmes. But it wasn’t until I picked up my first Agatha Christie novel when I was about 10 or 12 that I fell in love with the murder mystery genre as a whole. I loved Christie’s intricate puzzles that seemed so impossible to solve, and yet became so clear and simple once her famous sleuths unmasked the evil beneath the mask.
It’s fair to say that about 50 percent of my reading these days is mystery-related, mostly in the cozy realm. Who knew that murder and death could be so much fun to read about?
So, I’d love to share a few of my favorite cozy mystery series with you today, and then hear about what your favorites are. I prefer mine to have good dose of humor mixed in!
The Royal Spyness Mysteries, by Rhys Bowen
First book: Her Royal Spyness
Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgianna Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As thirty-fourth in line to the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsy. But when her brother cuts off her allowance, Georgie leaves Scotland for life in London, which means helping out her royal cousin, the Queen, solving the occasional murder, and navigating the tricky world of being a penniless aristocrat.
Taking place in 1930s England, Bowen’s Royal Spyness series is like a 1940s screwball comedy featuring royalty at their most “royal We,” and a good dash of heart as well. Georgie always manages to get herself into interesting scrapes, but the dashing, also penniless Darcy O’Mara is usually around to help her out.
Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle
First Book: On What Grounds
Clare Cosi is manager of the landmark Village Blend coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. Supervising a cast of colorful New Yawkers, Clare dispenses her knowledge of how to make the perfect brew while often solving murders alongside the NYPD.
Now up to 16 books in the series, the Coffeehouse Mysteries are full of fun characters and memorable mysteries. I love how Coyle manages to bring each and every one of them around to coffee, in some form or another. Of course, not all of the murders take place at Clare’s coffeehouse, or she might start getting a reputation! Recipes are also included with these books.
Cupcake Bakery Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay
First book: Sprinkled with Murder
Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are two best friends who make a mean cupcake. After they open their dream bakery, Fairy Tale Cupcakes, they have to deal with bridezillas who can’t decide on the perfect flavor, rival bakers, and the occasional dead body.
McKinlay has several series currently going, but this is my favorite. Light on the mystery but heavy on the humor, these books are a ton of fun from start to end. Sprinkle in a dash of romance and a heap of unforgettable sidekicks, and the Cupcake Bakery mysteries are a sweet treat. And each book contains cupcake recipes mentioned in the story!
Do-It-Yourself Mysteries by Jennie Bentley
First Book: Fatal Fixer Upper
Avery Baker was once a New York textile designer, but inheriting her aunt’s old Maine cottage has led her down a new career path – home renovation. Finding a property’s hidden potential has rewards and challenges, especially when a mystery surfaces behind the walls.
This series has concluded after seven books, and I LOVED them! Avery and her partner, Derek, are a fun team when it comes to solving mysteries as well as renovating old homes. The series also has something I love – mixed in with the modern mystery is usually an “old” or historic puzzle that Avery has to figure out.
Honorable Mentions (and proof that I apparently read a LOT of series!)
- Figure Skating Mysteries by Alina Adams
- A Novel Idea Mysteries by Lucy Arlington
- Molly Murphy Mysteries by Rhys Bowen
- Writer’s Apprentice Mysteries by Julia Buckley
- Million Dollar Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark
- Flower Shop Mysteries by Kate Collins
- Haunted Guesthouse Mysteries by E.J. Copperman
- Elizabeth I Mysteries by Karen Harper
- White House Chef Mysteries by Julie Hyzy
- Cat in the Stacks Mysteries by Miranda James
- Haunted Bookshop Mysteries by Alice Kimberly (Cleo Coyle)
- Library Lovers Mysteries by Jenn McKinlay
- Family Skeleton Mysteries by Leigh Perry
What’s your favorite mystery series or novel?