While cozy mysteries come in many forms, they typically involve a minimum of violence and gore, and they’re usually set in quaint villages or small communities. So whether you like your mystery books with a spot of time travel, a dash of humor, or just some good old-fashioned whodunit shenanigans, there’s a cozy mystery to suit every taste. To get you started, here are five fantastic books that will keep you chuckling and turning pages at the same time. This list includes classics by such legendary greats as Daphne du Maurer and Agatha Christie as well as recent bestsellers and lesser-known gems. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Daphne du Maurer may not be known for her time travel books, but with The House on the Strand, it is abundantly clear that she can do time travel as well as she does mystery novels and gothic suspense. During his stay at his friend Magnus Lane's country house in Cornwall, Dick Young agrees to be a test subject for a new drug that Magnus has discovered. But something strange happens when he samples the drug: he's transported to the 14th century. As Dick spends more and more time in the past, the dangers he faces in the future—where he leaves his physical body while he time travels—grow steadily worse.
Agatha Christie fans will love this witty novel within a novel—two mysteries for the price of one! Magpie Murders begins with editor Susan Ryeland reading the latest manuscript of bestselling mystery author Alan Conway. At first it appears to follow the same formula as the rest of his books: detective Atticus Pünd solving another murder in another quiet English village. But as Susan reads, she becomes convinced there's something else going on between the lines, and she's determined to find out what it is. A clever twist on a classic mystery suspense tropes, this one will keep you guessing until the satisfying endings of both stories.
No list of cozy mysteries would be complete without at least one book by Agatha Christie. Midwinter Murder collects several of Christie's short stories, all with wintery, holiday themes. These satisfying whodunits feature roaring fires and dangerous snowdrifts, gifts that may not be what they seem, deadly meals, and, of course, appearances by beloved detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. If you're looking for a dose of murder in your holiday reading line-up this year, there's no better place to start than with this collection from the queen of mystery herself.
A gruesome murder in a seemingly peaceful pastoral village is a classic set up for a cozy mystery, and Elizabeth George executes it brilliantly in A Great Deliverance. Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers arrive in the quaint Yorkshire village of Keldale after a local woman is found sitting beside her father's corpse with an ax in her lap, claiming she did the dead. As Lynley and Havers attempt to piece together what happened, they discover an underbelly of buried secrets, scandals, and crimes that will change the quiet village forever.
Wicked Autumn is the first in G.M. Malliet's Max Tudor mystery series, set in the charming English village of Nether Monkslip. Max Tudor, a former M15 agent, is quite happy in his new and much less dangerous life as the vicar of St. Edwold's in the idyllic English countryside. He's found peace and quiet among the quirky villagers, and plans to spend the rest of his life there, the traumas that sent him into the countryside in the first place firmly locked away. But then Wanda Batton-Smythe, the very unpopular president of the Women's Institute, is found dead at the Harvest Fayre. It looks like an accident, but Max's training makes him immediately suspicious. Before he can think better of it, he's knee-deep in a murder investigation—one that threatens to upend the simple life he's built for himself.
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