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Cozy Mysteries you will love to read!

Updated on March 24, 2016
Mickie Gee profile image

Mickie Gee is a retired librarian and a grandmother. She knows a little bit about a lot of topics. Life experiences are wonderful.

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

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 (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery, 28)
Death of Yesterday (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery, 28)
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 (Southern Sisters Mystery, 1)
Murder on a Girls' Night Out: A Southern Sisters Mystery (Southern Sisters Mystery, 1)
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.

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