21 best cozy mysteries to curl up with this winter

January 30, 2021

 

For me, reading a cozy mystery whilst curled up inside away from the cold, dark and wet winter is the ultimate comfort. Something about the juxtaposition between your sheltered position and the crime-solving adventures of detectives and amateur sleuths is just so satisfying. If you're looking for some cozy mysteries this winter, check out this list (21 for 2021!) below.

 

The Thursday Murder Club - Richard Osman

 


"In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

 

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?"

 

This book is a recent release in the cozy crime genre by much loved presenter Richard Osman - I haven't read it yet myself but have heard great things.

 

A Game of Cones - Abby Collette

 


"Bronwyn Crewse is delighted that Crewse Creamery, the ice cream shop her family has owned for decades, is restored to its former glory and serving sweet frozen treats to happy customers in the picturesque small town of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. But when a big city developer comes to town intent on building a mall, a killer with a frozen heart takes him out.

 

After literally stumbling across the body, one of Win's closest friends becomes the prime suspect, and to make things worse, Win's aunt has come to town with the intention of taking command of Crewse Creamery. Even though Win has a rocky road ahead to help her friend and keep her ice cream shop, it'll take more than a sprinkle of murder to stop her from solving the crime and saving the day."

 

This is the second book in the Ice Cream parlour series, but if you haven't yet read the first, you've got time, as this book is not set to release until March 2nd.

 

The Windsor Knot - SJ Bennett

 


"It is the early spring of 2016 and Queen Elizabeth is at Windsor Castle in advance of her 90th birthday celebrations. But the preparations are interrupted when a guest is found dead in one of the Castle bedrooms. The scene suggests the young Russian pianist strangled himself, but a badly tied knot leads MI5 to suspect foul play was involved. The Queen leaves the investigation to the professionals—until their suspicions point them in the wrong direction.

 

Unhappy at the mishandling of the case and concerned for her staff’s morale, the monarch decides to discreetly take matters into her own hands. With help from her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshodi, a British Nigerian and recent officer in the Royal Horse Artillery, the Queen secretly begins making inquiries. As she carries out her royal duties with her usual aplomb, no one in the Royal Household, the government, or the public knows that the resolute Elizabeth will use her keen eye, quick mind, and steady nerve to bring a murderer to justice.

 

SJ Bennett captures Queen Elizabeth’s voice with skill, nuance, wit, and genuine charm in this imaginative and engaging mystery that portrays Her Majesty as she’s rarely seen: kind yet worldly, decisive, shrewd, and most importantly a great judge of character."

 

I am a HUGE fan of the British royal family, so you had me at 'Windsor'. This book is set to release right at the tail end of winter, on March 9th.

 

Murder at the Vicarage - Agatha Christie
 


"‘Anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe,’ declared the parson, brandishing a carving knife above a joint of roast beef, ‘would be doing the world at large a favour!’ It was a careless remark for a man of the cloth. And one which was to come back and haunt the clergyman just a few hours later – when the colonel was found shot dead in the clergyman’s study. But as Miss Marple soon discovers, the whole village seems to have had a motive to kill Colonel Protheroe."

 

I can hardly write a blog post recommending cozy mysteries without mentioning the absolute queen of crime, Agatha Christie. If you've never read any of her books, first of all do - and second of all, this is a good place to start, as it's the first book in her Miss Marple series.

 

The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie

 


"Tommy Beresford and Prudence 'Tuppence' Cowley are young, in love… and flat broke. Just after Great War, there are few jobs available and the couple are desperately short of money. Restless for excitement, they decide to embark on a daring business scheme: Young Adventurers Ltd.—"willing to do anything, go anywhere." Hiring themselves out proves to be a smart move for the couple. In their first assignment for the mysterious Mr. Whittingtont, all Tuppence has to do in their first job is take an all-expense paid trip to Paris and pose as an American named Jane Finn. But with the assignment comes a bribe to keep quiet, a threat to her life, and the disappearance of her new employer. Now their newest job are playing detective.

 

Where is the real Jane Finn? The mere mention of her name produces a very strange reaction all over London. So strange, in fact, that they decided to find this mysterious missing lady. She has been missing for five years. And neither her body nor the secret documents she was carrying have ever been found. Now post-war England's economic recovery depends on finding her and getting the papers back. But he two young working undercover for the British ministry know only that her name and the only photo of her is in the hands of her rich American cousin. It isn’t long before they find themselves plunged into more danger than they ever could have imagined—a danger that could put an abrupt end to their business… and their lives."

 

I'm not going to apologise for putting multiple Christies on this list - this book is the first in her Tommy and Tuppence collection, which follows two amateur detectives on their way through numerous crimes. These books are actually my favourite out of all of Christie's books - so I'd definitely recommend!

 

Whose Body? - Dorothy L. Sayers

 


"The stark naked body was lying in the tub. Not unusual for a proper bath, but highly irregular for murder -- especially with a pair of gold pince-nez deliberately perched before the sightless eyes. What's more, the face appeared to have been shaved after death. The police assumed that the victim was a prominent financier, but Lord Peter Wimsey, who dabbled in mystery detection as a hobby, knew better. In this, his first murder case, Lord Peter untangles the ghastly mystery of the corpse in the bath."

 

Murder lo Mein - Vivien Chien
 


"Lana Lee’s stake in her family’s Chinese restaurant is higher than ever now that she’s been made manager. So when she enters Ho-Lee into Cleveland’s Best Noodle Contest, Lana makes it her business to win—at all costs. But when a local food critic receives a threatening note in a fortune cookie and is later found dead, face-down in a bowl of lo mein, all bets are off. . .

 

Now, along with her sweet-and-sour boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana decides to take matters into her own hands and dig into the lives of everyone involved in the contest. But when she receives an ill-fated fortune, Lana realizes that in order to save the reputation of her restaurant, she needs to save herself first. ."

 

The Broken Spine - Dorothy St. James

 


"Trudell Becket finds herself in a bind when her library is turned into a state-of-the-art bookless 'technological center'. A library with no books breaks Trudell's book-loving heart and she decides to rescue hundreds of beloved tomes slated for the recycle center. Under the cover of darkness, Trudell sets up a secret book room in the library's basement and opens it to her loyal patrons.

 

When the town councilman, who was a vocal supporter of the library's transformation is crushed by an overturned shelf of DVDs, Trudell becomes the prime suspect. She was the only person in the library at the time of his murder, or so the police believe. But the visitors to Trudell's secret bookroom were actually all there too.

 

If she tells the police about the backdoor patrons who were in the library at the time of the murder, she'd have to explain about the secret book room and risk losing the books. To keep herself out of jail, Trudell--with the help of a group of dedicated readers--decides to investigate. She quickly finds herself on the same page with a killer who would love to write her final chapter."

 

The Eyre Affair - Jaspre Fforde

 


"Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. Baconians are trying to convince the world that Francis Bacon really wrote Shakespeare, there are riots between the Surrealists and Impressionists, and thousands of men are named John Milton, an homage to the real Milton and a very confusing situation for the police. Amidst all this, Acheron Hades, Third Most Wanted Man In the World, steals the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit and kills a minor character, who then disappears from every volume of the novel ever printed! But that's just a prelude . . .

 

Hades' real target is the beloved Jane Eyre, and it's not long before he plucks her from the pages of Bronte's novel. Enter Thursday Next. She's the Special Operative's renowned literary detective, and she drives a Porsche. With the help of her uncle Mycroft's Prose Portal, Thursday enters the novel to rescue Jane Eyre from this heinous act of literary homicide. It's tricky business, all these interlopers running about Thornfield, and deceptions run rampant as their paths cross with Jane, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. Can Thursday save Jane Eyre and Bronte's masterpiece? And what of the Crimean War? Will it ever end? And what about those annoying black holes that pop up now and again, sucking things into time-space voids . . .

 

Suspenseful and outlandish, absorbing and fun, The Eyre Affair is a caper unlike any other and an introduction to the imagination of a most distinctive writer and his singular fictional universe."

 

The Body in the Belfry - Katherine Hall
 


"There was no question that the body in the church belfry was Cindy Shepherd and that she was dead. The kitchen knife sticking out of her curvaceous young body left no doubt. As Faith Sibley Fairchild, the minister's wife who made the grisly find soon realises, there is no shortage of suspects who might have wanted Cindy dead: childhood enemies, jilted lovers and angry victims of her vicious tongue. But ex-New Yorker Faith has a lot to learn about murder in Massachusetts. Digging up seedy little secrets in a quiet New England village can make the natives a bit nervous...and turn the lady from the big city into just another small town statistic."

 

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith



 

"Warm, humorous and uplifting, Alexander McCall Smith's hugely popular novels featuring Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of Botswana's only female private detective agency, have become international bestsellers, sold over seven million copies, and been translated into 26 languages. These acclaimed productions, complete with vibrant music, bring the exotic world of the books vividly to life.

 

The Daddy introduces us to Mma Ramotswe as she embarks on her first case and takes on a new secretary, the resourceful and talented Mma Makutsi. Together, they must find the truth about a Daddy who appears to have returned from the dead—as well as investigating a wayward teenage girl and attempting to find a vanished child.

 

The Bone sees the determined duo following Mr Patel's daughter to find out whether she has a boyfriend. They must also solve the darker and more frightening case of the finger bone found in a car—does it belong to a missing boy snatched by a witch doctor?

 

Starring Claire Benedict as Mma Ramotswe and Nadine Marshall as Mma Makutsi, these dramatisations are guaranteed to appeal to all fans of the engaging lady detective."

 

 

The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King

 


"Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes's pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test."

 

Crocodile on the Sandbank - Elizabeth Peters

 


"Amelia Peabody inherited two things from her father: a considerable fortune and an unbendable will. The first allowed her to indulge in her life's passion. Without the second, the mummy's curse would have made corpses of them all."

 

Date with Danger - Julia Chapman

 


"In the heart of Yorkshire, the Dales Detective Agency is about to face its biggest challenge.

A fatal accident at Bruncliffe’s livestock auction mart leads auctioneer Harry Furness to call in detective duo Samson O’Brien and Delilah Metcalfe, but what starts as a simple health-and-safety investigation soon takes a sinister turn when they discover evidence that suggests murder.

 

With their inquiries ongoing, Clive Knowles approaches them for help – his sheep are being threatened by the gang of rustlers that is plaguing the Dales. Meanwhile, Poacher Pete Ferris has also decided to play his hand, setting in motion a blackmail plot which will ensure Samson is pulled back into trouble with his nemesis Rick Procter.

 

When all three cases begin to converge, Samson and Delilah will find that their latest investigation is fraught with danger; a danger that could leave them fighting for their lives."

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder - Joanne Fluke

 


"Discover the delicious mystery that started it all!

 

No one cooks up a delectable, suspense-filled mystery quite like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke's dessert-baking, red-haired heroine whose gingersnaps are as tart as her comebacks, and whose penchant for solving crimes one delicious clue at a time has made her a bestselling favorite. And it all began on these pages, with a bakery, a murder, and some suddenly scandalous chocolate-chip crunchies. Featuring a bonus short story and brand new, mouthwatering recipes, this limited edition of the very first Hannah Swensen mystery is sure to have readers coming back for seconds.

 

Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother's attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota's most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can't get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer.

 

Who would have the sheer audacity and the motive to kill the most punctual delivery man Hannah ever had? Topping the list is the high school football coach. What exactly was his wife doing, making the rounds with the milkman? Could Max Turner, owner of Cozy Cow Dairy, have had a secret he didn't want to share with his top employee? The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up. Why has Lake Eden's most prominent prodigal son, Benton Woodley, just resurfaced? And what about the mysterious Mr. Harris who seemed interested in buying the property next to the dairy, but then disappeared? This is one murder that's starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah's mouth. And if she doesn't watch her back, Hannah's sweet life may get burned to a crisp."

 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley

 


"It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

 

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” "

 

The Quiche of Death - M.C. Beaton

 


"Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry--but falls over dead! After her quiche's secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

 

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner's tag on her toe…"

 

A Bird in the Hand - Ann Cleeves

 


"In England’s birdwatching paradise, a new breed has been sighted—a murderer . . .

 

Young Tom French was found dead, lying in a marsh on the Norfolk coast, with his head bashed in and his binoculars still around his neck. One of the best birders in England, Tom had put the village of Rushy on the birdwatching map. Everyone liked him. Or did they?

 

George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher who decided quietly to look into the brutal crime, discovered mixed feelings aplenty. Still, he remained baffled by a deed that could have been motivated by thwarted love, pure envy, or something else altogether.

 

But as he and his fellow “twitchers” flocked from Norfolk to Scotland to the Scilly Isles, in response to rumours of rare sightings, George—with help from his lovely wife, Molly—gradually discerned the true markings of a killer. All he had to do was prove it . . . before the murderer strikes again. "

 

A Little Local Murder - Robert Barnard

 


"Social infighting in the tiny village of Twythching, just when Radio Broadwich starts to do a documentary on the town, leads to some poison pen letters and a murder, which Inspector George Parrish must investigate. "

 

The Body on the Beach - Simon Brett

 


"Sensible Carole Seddon doesn't have the tolerance to deal with her new bohemian neighbor, Jude. But Jude doesn't seem so bad when Carole discovers another addition to the neighborhood-a dead body on the beach bearing two wounds on its neck"

 

Dr. Finlay's Casebook - A.J. Cronin
 


"Dr Finlay's Casebook is a delightful collection of episodic stories of Dr Finlay and his life in the fictional Scottish village of Tannochbrae during the inter-war years and based on A.J. Cronin's own experiences as a doctor. The BBC went on to dramatise these stories on both television and radio during the 1960s and 1970s, with the television adaptation drawing weekly audiences of 12 million viewers. The characters were revived by ITV from 1993-96 and were adapted again for BBC radio in 2001 and 2002. This omnibus edition of Doctor Finlay of Tannochbrae and Adventures of a Black Bag revives Cronin's masterpiece for a contemporary audience – stories which are tragic, funny and wry and which are a celebration of Cronin's tremendous talent."


That finishes off the list of the best 21 cozy mystery books to read this winter - will you be adding any to your TBR?

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