22 Lighthearted, Cozy Mystery Books to Settle Down With
A warm, fuzzy blanket is wrapped around you, candles are flickering nearby, and the real world has slowly slipped away as you're lost inside a good book — it's the perfect evening. The power of a book is simply irresistible. From tracking down fictional murderers to learning about iconic women, every #booknerd loves a mystery-thriller book. But if you're sick of not being able to get to sleep after reading intense books late at night, you may want to give cozy mystery books a try.
Unlike horror, thrillers, or true-crime novels, cozy mysteries don't get into the bloody gore of murder or the violent actions of hardened criminals or sociopaths. They are as delightful as they sound: lighthearted, comical mysteries that draw you in without raising your heart rate. According to Goodreads, cozy mysteries (aka Cozies) rarely include sex, profanity, or violence. Instead, it's usually based in a small town, where an amateur detective personally knows all the suspects, keeping you guessing as you wade through the charm. If you are looking for a few cozies to enjoy this month, check out the best options ahead. The only thing left to solve is which one you'll pick up first!
"Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries"
"Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries" follows Cambridge professor Emily Wilde, an expert on the study of faeries who's set out to write the world's first encyclopedia of faeries. But while Emily excels at all things fae, she's no good with people, preferring books over parties and faeries over people. When she arrives in the village of Hrafnsvik to research the world's most elusive faeries called The Hidden Ones, she's frustrated to learn her handsome academic rival, Wendell Bambleby, is also in town (and he's much better at charming the local townsfolk). As Emily unravels the mysteries of The Hidden Ones, the bigger mystery becomes the question of who Wendell Bambleby really is and what he truly wants. As Emily searches for answers, she may end up falling in love in this heartwarming mystery with a touch of magic.
"The Murder at the Vicarage"
Agatha Christie is known as Queen of Crime, and her Miss Marple series is the perfect introduction to the world of cozy mysteries. "The Murder at the Vicarage" is the first one, which introduces Miss Marple as an amateur sleuth living in the village of St. Mary Mead. A few hours after the local parson makes an offhand remark about how murdering Colonel Protheroe would do the world a favor, the same colonel is found dead. Miss Marple is on the case — but everywhere she turns, someone has a motive to kill this man.
"Mayhem at the Orient Express"
When three very different women are forced by court order to attend a library-book discussion group, things do not go as plan. They are initially asked to read Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express," which reminds them of their town's newest Chinese restaurant called Orient Express. While there, the restaurant's owner is murdered, leaving the League of Literary Ladies to channel their inner Christie to work together to solve the crime. "Mayhem at the Orient Express" by Kylie Logan is fun and definitely relatable if you've ever had to work with others you didn't particularly like.
"Dying For Chocolate"
Chocolate is amazing — but is it worth losing your life over? "Dying For Chocolate" by Diane Mott Davidson is a whodunit that follows Goldy Bear, a bright, wild caterer whose personal life is a mess. She moves her business to the luxe Aspen Meadow Country Club, where she can prepare decadent dinners for rich guests. But when the handsome local psychiatrist, Phillip Miller, drives his BMW into an oncoming bus, Goldy smells something fishy. She works through his secrets to discover who could have murdered him, while trying not to get caught as the next victim herself.
"Christmas Cupcake Murder"
"Christmas Cupcake Murder" is dripping with sweet desserts and mystery! In Joanna Fluke's latest Hannah Swensen mystery novel, readers catch up with Hannah, who is busy trying to get everything done before the holidays. But when she is dealing with her sister Andrea, who wants to help out at Hannah's bakery, and her friends (bringing more drama to the holiday season), something unexpected happens: a man is found near death two doors down from The Cookie Jar — and he can't remember anything except how to restore antique furniture. In between frosting Christmas cookies and dealing with her personal life, Hannah works to help this man solve the mystery of what happened to him.
"Killer Kung Pao"
Pair your noodles with a steaming mystery, and you have the perfect chilly night combination! "Killer Kung Pao" is Vivien Chien's latest Noodle Shop mystery, featuring Lana Lee, who runs her family's Chinese restaurant in Cleveland. All week, Lana looks forward to spending the weekend with boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, until she witnesses a car accident and knows she has to get involved. Businesswoman June Yi rear-ends Millie, resulting in fighting and cursing from both. But later, Millie ends up dead at the beauty salon — could June have killed her, or is there someone else threatening the residents of Asia Village?
Dayna Anderson is a semifamous actress, who turned her love of sleuthing into a side job when she became an apprentice private eye. When celebrity publicist Lyla Davis is killed during awards season, Dayna wades through backstage gossip, prominent figures in Hollywood, and her own suspicions to find out who did it. "Hollywood Ending" by Kellye Garrett is one of those books that you won't be able to put down!
"A Waffle Lot of Murder"
Just in time for Halloween, "A Waffle Lot of Murder" will be released on Oct. 6. The latest book by Lena Gregory in the All-Day Breakfast Café series is set in autumn in Boggy Creek, FL. As Gia gets ready to promote her pumpkin-spice waffles, she gets sucked into attending the Haunted Town Festival. It quickly turns scary when Gia and her friend, Savannah, discover the event organizer's body buried in the woods. They must work hard to find her killer before they are next.
"Live and Let Chai"
Escape to the delightful seaside town of Charm, NC, when you pick up "Live and Let Chai," the first in a series by Bree Baker. When a body is mysteriously found on the boardwalk outside Everly Swan's iced-tea shop, she becomes the number-one suspect. So, instead of focusing on growing her new Sun, Sand, and Tea shop, she has to figure out how to clear her name to save herself and her shop!
"Glazed Murder: A Donut Shop Mystery"
Jessica Beck's "Glazed Murder: A Donut Shop Mystery" will have your mouth watering as you try to figure out who murdered the person left on Suzanne Hart's floor. Suzanne, new owner of the Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, NC, starts to think all of her too-interested customers are suspects, and she works with the retired sheriff to help solve this scary crime.
"To the Land of Long Lost Friends"
The newest release of Alexander McCall Smith's No 1. Ladies' Detective Agency series, "To the Land of Long Lost Friends," is a good one. It's about Precious Ramotswe, who takes a case for a childhood acquaintance, then realizes how tricky it is to work with family. Botswana's premier detective discovers that her friend's daughter seems to be involved with a charismatic preacher — and not necessarily in an innocent way.
"A Red Herring Without Mustard"
In this addicting novel by Alan Bradley, the clever 11-year-old sleuth Flavia de Luce asks a Gypsy woman to tell her fortune — and later discovers that someone bludgeoned the older woman almost to death in her caravan. Several years ago, people were convinced a soothsayer had abducted a local child, so Flavia works to find out if these two crimes were connected or if it's just a red herring used by the real killer. "A Red Herring Without Mustard" is definitely a read-in-one-sitting book.
"Pies and Prejudice"
Get lost in the delectable world of Ella Mae LaFaye, a pie baker in New York, in "Pies and Prejudice" by Ellery Adams. When she catches her husband cheating, she goes home to Havenwood, GA, where flakey crusts and sweet fruit help her chase away her worries. Eventually, she discovers her tasty treats are actually magical. It's all fun and enchantment until her old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor's fiancé is found dead with Ella Mae's rolling pin, and she has to work hard to clear her name.
"Dead Man’s Chest"
Glamour, drama, and murder can be found in "Dead Man's Chest" by Kerry Greenwood. This book, part of the Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, follows Phryne Fisher on a journey to Queenscliff, where she promised her daughters, her friend, and her dog a nice holiday by the sea. But when they arrive, they discover a mystery brewing in the town. A butler and his wife are missing, and three wild youths are talking about buried treasure; their getaway is bound to be full of much more excitement than anyone anticipated.
"Death Beside the Seaside"
"Death Beside the Seaside" is set in July 1910, when Lady Hardcastle and her sidekick Flo set off on a seaside break. But in between the ice creams and donkey rides, their guests start to go missing — so they have to drop everything to solve the case. She gets her brother in the secret service to help, but the more Lady Hardcastle dives into this mystery, the more she wonders if it is something personal. T. E. Kinsey keeps readers on their toes in this latest installment of the Lady Hardcastle series.
"Homicide in Hardcover"
Brooklyn Wainwright is a book expert who recognizes that murders always makes for bestsellers. When she gives up her job as a surgeon to restore books instead, she enjoys a different kind of success. That is, until her friend Abraham Karastovsky is found in a pool of blood, whispering "Remember the Devil" right before he dies and gives Brooklyn a cursed book for safe keeping. Now, she is accused of murder (and theft!) and has to clear her name by figuring out the clues Abraham left her. If you like "Homicide in Hardcover" by Kate Carlisle, then check out the rest of her 15-book series!
"One For the Books"
The latest in the Library Lover's Mystery series, "One For the Books" by Jenn McKinlay, catches up with library director Lindsey Norris and boat captain Mike Sullivan as they plan a wedding. Lindsey and her crafternoon friends are on Bell Island to see if it would make a good venue when they find a body washed up on shore — the body of the man who was supposed to officiate her wedding! Now, Lindsey must try to solve the mystery and figure out if it had anything to do with her upcoming nuptials.
"The Diva Runs Out of Thyme"
Sophie Winston, a domestic diva, is used to fighting with her childhood rival, Natasha Smith. After all, Natasha became a local celebrity and stole Sophie's husband! But Sophie is determined to win the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown in Alexandria, VA, if she can just find the right ingredient. While looking, she stumbles across a corpse — and the police happen to find Sophie's name and photo inside the victim's car! "The Diva Runs out of Thyme" by Krista Davis is the first in this 14-book series.
"A Deadly Inside Scoop"
This charming new cozy mystery series, "A Deadly Inside Scoop" by Abby Collette, is about Bronwyn "Win" Crewse, a recent MBA grad who takes over her family's ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, OH. As she's renovating the place to make it her own, things don't go according to plan, and her grand opening ends up falling on the first snow day of the season. Later, Win finds a body in the snow, who turns out to be a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. When Win's father is implicated in his death, she takes it upon herself to clear his name while running her business at the same time.
"Sex, Murder, and a Double Latte"
Nobody is more untrustworthy than a mystery writer! "Sex, Murder, and a Double Latte" by Kyra Davis is about thriller writer Sophie Katz, a woman who loves Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos and using her overactive imagination to write scary stuff. That's why no one believes her when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to re-create creepy scenes from her books. When her friend is murdered (in the same way Sophie wrote about in one of her books), Sophie is worried she'll be next — and she knows exactly how it's going to happen.
"The Long Quiche Goodbye"
Welcome to the Fromagerie Bessette, the cheese shop in Providence, OH, run by Charlotte Bessette. In this first book of the series, "The Long Quiche Goodbye" by Avery Aames, Charlotte is busy making her delicious and beautiful cheese plates when someone leaves a body stabbed to death outside her shop — using one of her olive-handled knives. She must work to solve the mystery before she is implicated in the murder — or she becomes the next victim herself.
"The Quiche of Death"
Speaking of quiche puns, "The Quiche of Death" is the first of M.C. Beaton's 25 novels that follow Agatha Raisin, a woman trying to enjoy her retirement in a small town in the English countryside, only to keep stumbling across murder after murder. If you've ever fantasized about quitting your job and moving to a cottage, you'll love this series.