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Cozy Mysteries you will love to read!

Updated on March 24, 2016

A cozy chair for reading your favorite book.

Seeking: a mystery novel that will not give me the willies!

Lately, I have found that there are too many mystery novels that are just too weirdly violent and make me feel like the whole world is "going to h*ll in a hand basket".

For example, Night Vision by Randy Wayne White, seemed extremely violent to my husband and me (alligators attacking and devouring humans, snuff films, drug abuse, child abuse, torture). Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford Series had been one of my "favorites" until this book. I do not read to learn about new horrors that might be taking place in the world; I read to escape those inhuman horrors. Sure, a mystery/suspense novel does have some violence by the sheer nature of the genre -- BUT why supply all the gory details? Why give people more ideas on how to be cruel to other human beings?

That is what attracted me to a bookmark at my local library with the heading "Cozy Mysteries".

Below you will find my suggestions for cozy mystery novelists that might not give you nightmares--they will give you a "good read"! So find a cozy chair and curl up and read an entertaining mystery that is long on plot and short on gore! I am only naming authors that I have read and enjoyed, by the way.

Image of the cozy reading chair is from flickr user papermoons using a Creative Commons search.

(Updated: 7/15/2013)

A Cozy Mystery for your eReader! - A Featherweight Mystery to read!

I just downloaded this Joe and Dottie Loudermilk mystery for my Kindle e-reader on my Apple devices.

When I read the description of the novel and saw that Library Journal referred to this mystery as a "featherweight", I knew it would be perfect for my Cozy Mystery List.

I am going to begin reading it and will report back with a review.

Heading off to get cozy!

Going Nowhere Fast (The Joe and Dottie Loudermilk Mysteries Book 1)
Going Nowhere Fast (The Joe and Dottie Loudermilk Mysteries Book 1)

Library Journal describes this as a "featherweight" mystery. Reviews on Amazon confirms that there is no gore! Yeah, that is what I am talking about reading!

 

You MUST Add Author Susan Wittig Albert to your Cozy Reading List - One of my favorite mystery authors! EVER.

Ms. Albert's series featuring China Bayles is one of my favorites. I am known to have a preference for female detectives and China is one of the best amateur sleuths I have found. Ms. Bayles is a former lawyer who has run from the big city to the Hill Country of Texas where she peruses her passion for growing herbs. Each mystery has the name of an herb and one learns about it as well. So "educational entertainment" is one of the pluses in these mysteries. Not an oxymoron, by the way.

If you click China Bayles Herbal Mysteries you will be taken to reading guides for book clubs who want a really good discussion.

Another feature of these tales is the way Ms. Albert effectively weaves the lives of the characters into the stories. This meets the criteria for Cozy-Mystery.com of having "characters who I could envision having as neighbors or friends."

One of my very favorite books by author Susan Wittig Albert!

Widow's Tears (China Bayles)
Widow's Tears (China Bayles)

I just finished this wonderful "paranormal" mystery. It is excellently written and does a splendid job combining real history with fictional events. Love, love this book.

 
Thyme of Death (China Bayles 1)
Thyme of Death (China Bayles 1)

This is the first in the China Bayles series and you should really begin with this novel if you can. I, personally, always try to read books in the order written, if possible. However, Albert is such a good writer and each mystery is able to stand on its own.

 

Cozy Up to Meira Pentermann's Firefly Beach!

My book club recently read "Firefly Beach" by Meira Pentermann. Actually, they read it because I recommended it. All members agreed that this is the perfect book to take on vacation. Some also said that it was the perfect book for escaping the helter skelter world that we live in because one must let go of a bit of reality. The novel is basically about a newly divorced woman who decides to get away from her past life and pursue her dream of becoming an artist. She moves to a coastal Maine village and gets caught up in finding out what happened to her landlord's daughter who disappeared 35 years ago--all because of a "firefly" who leads her to a secluded beach and a hidden diary. Even though you might think you have the book figured out, you just might be surprised by the ending. I was.

Firefly Beach
Firefly Beach

If you are lucky, you might get the Kindle ebook for free on Amazon. Even if you do not get it free, Firefly Beach will be a good read.

 

Cozy Writer M. C. Beaton

I have actually not "read" any M.C. Beaton mysteries--I have listened to the audio books! They are delightful.

I prefer the Hamish MacBeth series, myself. Hamish is a policeman in a small Scottish town and he does not want to get promoted because the police station that he calls home would be made "redundant"! He absolutely loves the village of Loch Dubh (sounds like "lock doo) in the Scottish Highlands and cannot imagine what would happen to the locals if he were promoted and the police station were to close.

These books satisfy another criteria of a "cozy mystery": most of these mysteries take place in a small, picturesque town or village.

FYI: visit Heartwarming Christmas Story: A Highlands Christmas to read my thoughts about that Hamish audio book.

Death of Yesterday (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries)
Death of Yesterday (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries)

Best start at the beginning of the series for maximum cozy reading.

 

Diane Mott Davidson writes comfort food mysteries: - Cozy enough for apres ski enjoyment by a blazing fire.

I discovered Ms. Davidson when I lived in Denver. I love to read books that are set in locales with which I am familiar. Her mysteries are set in a fictional town inspired by Evergreen, CO. Of course, if there were as many murders in Evergreen as there are in fictional Aspen Meadows, then the population would be moving out in droves. Also, if a character knows Goldy, the diva of these books, then his or her days are numbered. I am surprised that Marla (Goldie's best pal and ex-wife of G's ex-husband) is still breathing.

These mysteries are such fun to read because of Ms. Davidson's comedic writing style. She also includes really good recipes in the books as well. Oh did I mention that the lead character is a chef and caterer? I have made quite a few in Colorado and in the low altitudes of the South USA. My favorite one is for the "Marmalade Mogul Muffins". I made these for my book club when living in Colorado. They were a hit.

Oh yes, read them in order to keep up with who is alive or dead. You won't want to read about someone if you know they are bumped off in a later book. It spoils the fun.

Catering to Nobody (Goldy, Book 1)
Catering to Nobody (Goldy, Book 1)

This is the book that got me hooked on Diane Mott Davidson. Of course, I was living in Colorado at the time and that made this read so much fun. It also gave me an excuse to go to Evergreen in the mountains to get the feel for the settings.

 

Southern Cozy Author Anne George - One of the best warm and fuzzy mystery authors you can find.

Anne George is one of my very favorite southern authors. Unfortunately, she died not too many years ago, and left a gaping void on my bookshelf that cannot be filled.

I met Ms. George at a conference and she autographed a few of my books, God love her! I liked her "Southern Sisters" series so much that I bought the entire set for my mother. After my mom died, I was clearing out her bookshelves and found all of Ms. George's books tied together with a pink ribbon. My mother usually gave her books to the local library in Lillian, Alabama, but she was saving the ones I gave her. I now have them on my own shelf and lend them to my own daughters when they ask me for a good book to read on vacation.

My husband even enjoys listening to the audio versions of the Anne George mysteries. We quite enjoy the humorous situations that the sisters Patricia Anne and the elder Mary Alice find themselves in. The only problem we have with the audio is that the reader does tend to mispronounce some of the "southernisms" in the books.

Murder on a Girls' Night Out: A Southern Sisters Mystery
Murder on a Girls' Night Out: A Southern Sisters Mystery

Girls Night Out will never mean the same for you. Funnier than Evanovich.

 

Martha Grimes is "cozy" mystery author, too.

Ms. Grimes's Richard Jury series is not fun, but the books are oh so intriguing. Set in the countryside of England, most of the novels have the name of a pub in the title. The plots are twisted in that there can be many different characters who may or may not be the criminal. Grimes keeps you guessing until the very end. I have both read and listened to the audio versions of the novels and quite enjoy both.

What makes these mysteries cozy? Well, the pub atmosphere and the quaint small village settings. I can just imagine myself curled up in a thatched roofed cottage enjoying a cup of tea (or a most likely a "pint") and reading every word.

A Novel, Cozy Debate - Participation is encouraged!

This debate is about over-doing violence in novels. Some readers are not bothered by the gory details; that is OK. It is my opinion that many of our best-selling mystery authors are becoming more violent and graphic in their newest books. Could it be they feel the need to compete with television and movies that have become more gory of late?

You can leave a comment about why you chose the side you did in this debate after you vote. Defend your decision.

What do you think about violence in the books you read?

Do you think that the images of violence are created by the reader in their own mind?

See results

Poll: Is the violence all in your head?

I heard author Karin Slaughter speak in February 2012 at the Southern Voices Writers Conference at the Hoover Public Library in Alabama. She is often criticized for making her novels too violent. Ms. Slaughter said that she did not think that her books were excessively violent and that most of the violence is in the reader's mind. In my own words, I understood her to mean that she just provides the situation, the level of the violence is imagined by the reader.

In this media hungry world, we are exposed to so very much. It sometimes seems to me that the networks and publications are trying to get higher ratings or more sales by out-doing each by using shock value. We are almost becoming numb to the horrendous happenings in this world. We can literally see it all by just searching the web or our cable TV menu.

Your opinion on the Cozy Mysteries Counts:

So, which type of mystery novel would you like to read? The violent, bloody, macabre ones? Or the cozy variety? Any particular novelist mentioned here pull at you from the computer screen?

I will be adding more authors in the next few weeks. If you have a favorite that you want mentioned, please let me know.

A few years ago, I got acquainted with author Elizabeth Jean Allen on the now defunct website Squidoo. She wrote a cozy mystery which I read and reviewed on Amazon. If you want to check it out, click My Mother's Shoes.

Thank you for considering my recommendations

Mickie_G is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

I am also in affiliation with AllPosters.com, which carries the largest selection of prints and posters online.

I participate in several other affiliate programs (such as Night Owl Paper Goods) as well where we may be eligible for earning advertising fees. Thank you, again, for considering my recommendations.

Voice Your Opinion: Are you fed up with the gore and violence in mystery novels? - Feel cozy and comfy leaving a comment.

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    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 17 months ago

      @Huntgoddess: all I can say is that great minds think alike. I had never seen your article before you left the comment and I did not copy your ideas, promise. I got the original idea from a paper bookmark created by the Hoover Public Library in Alabama.

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 2 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I have a Hub about cozy mysteries.

      Coincidence?

      My Hub was published in September of 2010.

      My Hub also has a picture of a comfortable chair.

      Another coincidence?

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 3 years ago

      @kjlafrance: I have not read the two mystery series you mention. Thank you for the recommendation.

      Yes, I agree that the "vintage" authors of classic mysteries are so much more cozy that contemporary novels. My husband and I both adore the Agatha Christie iconic characters.

    • profile image

      kjlafrance 3 years ago

      I am with you on the cozy mystery side of things....and glad to have found your site. Looking forward to trying some of these. Curious if you have ever read the Ursula Blanchard series by Fiona Buckley or the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen? These are both historical fiction and the downside to these mysteries is that they are often easier to figure out...but they definitely fit the description of "cozy". I also wanted to comment that if you go back and read what's considered a classic series in the mystery genre (I am speaking of one Mr. Doyle writing about one Mr. Holmes) it has very little violence or gore. And I for one feel that the frequent setting of two chums smoking their pipes by a warm fire makes it very cozy indeed.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 3 years ago from United States

      You have touched on the exact reason why I do not read mysteries! I hate the gory details and the mental imagery. I simply do not want them, nor do I need them in my mind. Thank you so very much for introducing me to authors who can write a great mystery without freaking me or grossing me out in the process. I do believe you have just added mysteries back to my bookshelves.

    • TerriCarr profile image

      TerriCarr 3 years ago

      I don't read much fiction these days but I do like a very occasional cozy mystery. I was trying to remember what the not-so-scary mystery genre is called recently.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      Thanks for these cozy mystery ideas. That's the kind I look for. Another cute mystery series is the "Cat Who..." series by Lilian Jackson Braun. Congratulations on being Editor of the Day!

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @WhiteIsland: You will not be sorry when you discover this wonderful series. Thanks for the link to another page about an interesting author.

    • WhiteIsland profile image

      WhiteIsland 4 years ago

      I will have to add M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series to my reading list. They sound cute, and I love Scottish stories. :) I personally love the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries by Carola Dunn: https://hubpages.com/literature/daisy-dalrymple-my...

    • RosaMorelli profile image

      RosaMorelli 4 years ago

      My mum's always been a mystery-book fan - the cosier ones like Miss Marple. I managed to find her a few cosy mysteries that she hadn't read for last year's Mother's Day, but I've been struggling to find more for this year - so cheers, I'll be bookmarking this page for ideas :)

    • four SusieQ profile image

      four SusieQ 4 years ago

      Great Lens! So much great info. Another author I like, that has not been mentioned here, is Dorothy Gilman. Her books feature Mrs. Pollifax, a delightful eccentric lady who became a spy in her 60's! The stories are set in unusual locales. Ms. Gilman passed away this last year, but she left us over 14 cozy mysteries to enjoy!

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @four SusieQ: My husband likes Dorothy Gilman, too.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I am familiar with some of the series you mention. Love Laura Lippman and Susan Wittig Albert, btw! You have also mentioned some authors I must add to my "to read" list.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Cozy is great. I like a great series though. I wonder what the author is going to do with the character while i'm waiting for the next book in the series. Here are a few of my favorites. Daisy Dalrymple and Cornish Mystery series by Carola Dunn, Coffeehouse series by Cleo Coyle, Chocoholics Mysteries series by Jo Anna Carl, Lucy Stone series by Leslie Meier, Hannah Swenson series by Joanne Fluke, Tea Shop Mysteries series by Laura Childs, Jane Jeffry series by Jill Churchill as well as her Grace and Favor series. Bed and breakfast and Emma Lord series by Mary Daheim, Death on Demand and Henrie O series by Carolyn Hart, Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews, Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series, China Bayles series and Darling Dahlias series all by Susan Wittig Albert, Thomas Pitt and William Monk series by Anne Perry, Goldy Schulz series by Diane Mott Davidson, Molly Murphy and Lady Victoria Georgiana series by Rhys Bowen, Tess Monaghan series by Laura Lippman and who could forget the Jim Qwilleran series by Lilian Jackson Braun...

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Just stopped back to bless this interesting and informative lens.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Since I used to live in Littleton, I would love to read this new cozy mystery.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi Mickie, My name is Liesa and I'm excited to say that in June 2013, my first novel, a cozy mystery set in Littleton, Colorado will come out with publisher Five Star. The title is "Faith On The Rocks" and has a widow and retired special education teacher as the protagonist. Please let me know if you'd like to review this book, and thanks for making cozies a great reading community!

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      I like a good mystery, especially set in the foggy streets of England. Interesting characters, and figuring out the culprit is captivating, not the gore.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Cecile Lamalle; Louise Penny

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @Gail47: I can see we read the same books!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      I'm always looking for new mysteries to read. Thanks for the great suggestions. :)

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      Gail47 5 years ago

      I do not like the gore and violence, it's not necessary. Just like many movies that are made with scenes that are too graphic, books that do the same thing with descriptions just turn me off. Wittig is my favorite and I've read all of the China Bayles series more than once. Also, the Grafton abc series - more than once.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love Agatha Raisin - she's hilarious : )

    • profile image

      EstherGCole91 5 years ago

      Nice recommendations, my favorite is Firefly Beach by Meira Pentermann.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I really appreciate recommendations for what you call cozy mysteries. I don't like gore, violence, and extreme suspense. Ruins the whole thing for me. Love your suggestions!

    • profile image

      hercolanium 5 years ago

      The author creates the atmosphere but a reader's mind can enhance the scary part, mostly if the reader has an imaginative mind :-)

    • balancebydesign4u profile image

      Carol 5 years ago from Arkansas

      I loved this lens! It has come at a great time-I just finished the latest book by Earline Fowler (the Benni Harper mysteries) and have been looking for some new authors to read. I hate graphic sex scenes and guts and gore so I can't wait to check out the authors on your list. Be sure and check out the Earline Fowler books- you'll be hooked! These need to be read in order, too, so as not to ruin the surprise of developing relationships. I'm bookmarking this lens and will come back often!

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comments on my mystery series lens. I added your link to my page, too.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @PennyHowe: I agree. If the actions fit in the story for a good reason, then it is ok. Adrian McKinty is an author that I follow that does have blood and guts in, but they are not gratuitous. He is a fine, fine writer.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      @ElleryAnne: Ellery Queen was my first "mystery" love.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      I used be be able to read Lee Child's Jack Reacher series... but can't manage them anymore. You might enjoy Louise Penny's "Three Pines" Inspector Gamache series... my current favorite, along with Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Leave out the gore, but most described 'violence' in a mystery novel is created by the reader's imagination from the author's description. I see your point for having a pleasant 'read', but I need a bit of tension and suspense in my mysteries, so am not really interested in the 'chocolates' and 'herbs', cats & dogs based mysteries. I actually am more drawn to police procedurals, I think -- stories where the main character is a policeman, detective, private detective or FBI. So, guess I'm not into 'cozy'. :)

    • profile image

      ElleryAnne 5 years ago

      Nice lens! My personal favorites are Ellery Queen (okay, maybe I'm partial, given my name) and anything by Josephine Tey.

    • PennyHowe profile image

      PennyHowe 5 years ago

      I don't mind some gore and violence as long as it fits in the story. But sometimes there is just too much and I skip over it.

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      I like gore when it adds to plot. When it is put in just to gross me out I can do without it. I read cozies, noir, hardboiled, and everything else as long as it has a good mystery with good characters in it. Blessed.

    • writergrey profile image

      writergrey 5 years ago

      I prefer cozies, but once in a while I'll read a gorier one if the writing is very good.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      I like Rex Stout.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 6 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      Added to my Reading (no Bummer ____reader in the blank I write Summer, fall Season whatever) lens in featured lenses.

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 6 years ago

      My favorites are still the classic English writers Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
      Author

      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @Addy Bell: I adore the stories of Alexander McCall Smith. Particularly the HBO series

      based on them.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @resabi: I have not read those authors. Thanks for the recommendation. I will read them soon.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @justholidays: I enjoyed the earlier Scarpetta novels. The newest ones in this series were too "character driven" for me. I enjoy a good story.

    • Mickie Gee profile image
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      Mickie Goad 6 years ago

      @franstan lm: Glad that you have found my list of cozy mysteries helpful. Good Reading to you!

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      You have provided me with a list of books I just have to read. Thanks

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 6 years ago

      Although I've read some gore books in my early life, I quickly stopped because they provided me with nightmares.

      My favourite authors are Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie, Martha Grimes, Georges Simenon (since I'm of a French culture) and a few others.

      Still, although they're quite violent, I've appreciated Patricia Cornewell's Kate Scarpetta novels. But they more relate to reality situations than to pure violence.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 6 years ago

      First, thank you for adding this to the list on my Sipping on Summer lens! I enjoy the lack of blood and gore mysteries you've shared, especially the list by author Diane Mott Davidson -- recipes included sounds great! Oh, and, thanks for the link for the Reading Journal -- great idea!

    • profile image

      resabi 6 years ago

      I'm definitely a fan of cozy mysteries. I can recommend 2 of the authors on your "unknown" author list: Barnard and Aird -- both are great reads. This lens is a great intro to the cozy mystery genre. Thanks.

    • profile image

      wayne_luvinlife 6 years ago

      Because of the lack of tasteful and engaging mystery novels as of late, I have switched to more motivational real life stories and novels celebrating the beauty and strength of the people in this world that make it better for all of us! However, I would love to read a good mystery soon! thanks for the lens! Very nicely done!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Thanks for these recommendations, I enjoy a good mystery but hate gore and violence. I'll be looking out for these authors. Great concept for a lens.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      This is a great page. I think you'd really love the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books my Alexander McCall Smith. They take place in Botswana, the mysteries are very low key, and the protagonists are all people I would love to have as neighbors.

    • littlelotus profile image

      littlelotus 6 years ago

      spare me the gory details anytime..... I hate those. Don't read much, but this is an excellent lens..... :)

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      Excellent list and I like your "cozy mystery" term. Blessed.

    • pacrapacma lm profile image

      pacrapacma lm 6 years ago

      I don't usually read mystery novels, because usually there is a killing or crime. I prefer to read other types of books when I have time. The news is enough of a downer for me. I might find a good mystery novel in your group of recommendations though. Is there one in particular you would suggest that is upbeat with a happy ending? I love happy endings.

    • Richard-H profile image

      Richard 6 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

      I don't get to read much these days, but many of the mystery novelists seem to be going the way of blood and gore. If it's well-written, that part of the subject matter doesn't bother me too much. If it's just there for shock value, then I would probably put the book down.