I love a good cozy mystery. From the early inventors of the sub-genre (think Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh) to contemporary writers (like Jenn McKinlay and Parnell Hall) a good cozy mystery is clever, thought provoking and entertaining. If you are familiar with Joanne Fluke, you might know that her “Hannah Swensen” mysteries have been adapted to a wildly successful cable TV show.
One of the things that cozy mysteries do well is remain civil in the face of VERY un-civil situations. Hallmarks of a cozy mystery include little to no violence (if there is a murder, it takes place off-page…no gruesome descriptions in these books), no strong language, and no sexual content. The sleuths are most often normal people, with normal jobs, lives, and hobbies. These are mysteries, but the opposite of hard-boiled mysteries!
If cozy mysteries seem like something you might like to try, give any of the following books a try. You might enjoy them!
Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple
By Agatha Christie
Thirteen short mystery stories featuring the indomitable elderly English sleuth Miss Marple. Includes “Tape-Measure Murder,” “Strange Jest,” “Sanctuary,” “Greenshaw’s Folly,” “The Case of the Perfect Maid,” “The Blue Geranium,” “The Companion,” “The Four Suspects,” “The Bloodstained Pavement,” “The Herb of Death,” and others. 1966.
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
By Joanne Fluke
Bakery owner Hannah Swensen of Lake Eden, Minnesota, discovers the body of the local dairy delivery man in her alley. Although her brother-in-law, Bill Todd, is a deputy sheriff, Hannah does some sleuthing of her own. Then another murder occurs. Includes cookie recipes. 2000.
Library Lover’s Series: Books 1-5
By Jenn McKinlay
Books one through five, written between 2011 and 2014, in the series featuring library director and amateur sleuth Lindsey Norris of Briar Creek, Connecticut. In Books Can Be Deceiving, Beth Stanley, Lindsey’s friend and employee and an aspiring children’s author, is suspected of murdering her famous-writer boyfriend. 2014.