Cozy mystery is one of our favorite subgenres. You get the intrigue and suspense of a mystery book without the heaviness or gore. Let’s be honest, crime fiction can get dark. Real dark. Cozy mysteries border the line between charming and wholesome while delving into those darker subject matters that are oftentimes better dealt with in small doses. Anyone who has read a Karin Slaughter novel knows what we mean. Don’t get me wrong, we love Karin Slaughter…but sometimes a lighter topic is necessary. When those times come around, a cozy mystery always hits the spot. Here are some of our favorite cozy mystery books coming in 2022—all a certifiable good time with whip-smart characters, killer one-liners, and a central mystery that’s bursting with intrigue.
Mary Helen Stefaniak
With help from Pondside Manor’s quirky, twentysomething kitchen worker Foster Kresowik, wheelchair-bound resident Robert Kallman creates The World of Pondside, a video game that delights the nursing home’s residents by allowing them to virtually relive blissful moments from days long past—or even create new ones.
One-legged Duane Lotspeich is overjoyed when he can dance the tango again. Octogenarian Laverne Slatchek cheers on her favorite baseball team from the stands at Candlestick Park with her beloved husband—who died years ago. Even the overwhelmed Pondside administrator escapes her job by logging into a much more luxurious virtual world.
Robert’s game enlivens the halls of Pondside Manor, but chaos ensues when he is found dead, submerged in the pond, still strapped into his wheelchair. If any resident witnessed his death, they’re not telling—either covering up or, quite possibly, forgetting. And it’s far from clear to anyone—including the police—if the death of this brilliant man, who suffered from ALS, was suicide or murder.
When Robert’s video game goes dark, its players grow desperate. The task of getting it back online falls to young Foster, who enlists help from a raucous group of residents and staff. Their pursuit—virtual and real—has unintended consequences, uncovering both criminal activities and the dying wishes of Foster’s friend Robert. From Pondside Manor, this unlikely bunch of gamers embarks upon an astonishing journey—blissful, treacherous, and unforgettable.
by M. C. Beaton
With R.W. Green
Hamish's new constable, Dorothy McIver, may be the most beautiful woman he's ever seen. Completely bewitched by her sparkling blue eyes, Hamish spends the summer traveling with her up and down Sutherland until finally, he can take it no longer. He gets down on one knee beside the Land Rover and begs her to marry him—and to his amazement and delight, she says yes. But just as the town of Lochdubh gets ready to celebrate, Hamish finds himself with a new murder on his hands. If he doesn't find the killer fast, Hamish's dream wedding could become a nightmare.
Early summer brings plenty of work for Hannah, even before Mayor Bascomb's wife drops by The Cookie Jar to place an order for eleven-hundred cookies. Stephanie Bascomb is organizing an elaborate three-day event to support local charities, and though it's a worthy cause, Hannah almost flips when her business partner, Lisa, suggests setting up an apple turnover stand. Hannah's never made a turnover—but pushover that she is, she places her faith in Lisa's mother-in-law's recipe and agrees to be a magician's assistant in the fundraiser's talent show . . .
Hannah has to admit that stepping out of her comfort zone has been fun as well as profitable. The only snag is the show's host, community college professor Bradford Ramsey. Hannah and her younger sister Michelle each had unfortunate romantic relationships with Ramsey, and when he comes sniffing around between acts, Hannah tells him off. But when the curtain doesn't go up, she discovers Ramsey backstage—dead as a doornail with a turnover in his hand. To protect her reputation and Michelle's, Hannah must get to the bottom of the professor's bitter end—and track down a killer who's flakier than puff pastry—and far more dangerous . . .
After a long cold winter, spring is beginning to bloom in the alpine village of Leavenworth, Washington, where craft brewer Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are putting the finishing touches on their bright and refreshing Lemon Kiss ale. They’ll be debuting their new line at the Maifest celebration, which will bring visitors from near and far to dance around the Maipole and shop at the outdoor flower markets.
Despite the festive spirit in the air, Sloan is brewing over her past. She’s spent months following leads that have turned into dead ends. But when she spots a woman who strongly resembles Marianne—a long lost contact who may be her only connection to piecing together her story—she hopes that things might be taking a turn in her favor. That hope is quickly smashed when Marianne is involved in the murder of a local housekeeper. To make matters worse, Marianne issues a dire warning that Sloan and her entire family are in danger. If Sloan can’t figure out who the killer is and what happened in her past, she won’t find any hoppy endings.
by M. C. Beaton
With R.W. Green
When Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is sent to investigate reports that the wealthy new laird of the remote Naglar House has disappeared, north-west Scotland is hit by the worst storm in living memory. The road is washed away, phone lines are down, mobile reception is dead and his police radio is out of order. He is trapped with the laird's high-class house guests. Then he discovers the laird's body.
Forced to remain overnight at the house, Hamish interviews each of the guests and pieces together an alarming picture of clandestine infidelity, vicious jealousy, deadly revenge, lust, greed and fear. It begins to look like all of the guests had good reason to want the laird dead, but which one of them actually did the deed?
Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is gorgeous in the fall, and Bronwyn Crewse, owner of Crewse Creamery, knows just how to welcome the new season. At the annual Harvest Time Festival, residents will get a chance to enjoy hot-air balloons and hayrides, crown a new Harvest Time Festival Queen, and eat delicious frozen treats sold at Win’s freshly purchased ice cream truck. But she gets into a sprinkle of trouble when a festivalgoer is poisoned and Win is implicated.
Although the victim was a former Harvest Time Festival Queen, her once-sunny disposition had dimmed into bitterness, leaving no shortage of suspects at the festival. To clear her name before the chill of winter sets in, Win will have to investigate and hope that her detective skills won’t “dessert” her.
When Lana Lee’s best friend, Megan Riley, asks her to help host a speed dating contest at Ho-Lee Noodle House, she doesn’t see the harm in lending a hand. The night goes better than anticipated, and both Lana and Megan are beyond thrilled with the results. But before they can break out the champagne, Rina Su, fellow Asia Village shop owner and speed dating participant, calls to inform Lana that the date she’s just matched with has been murdered. Under suspicion of foul play, Rina enlists Lana’s help in finding out what really happened that night.
Without hesitation, Lana begins to dig into the man in question. To her dismay, she quickly finds that Rina’s date has a rather unsavory past. There’s a long line of slighted women, angry neighbors, and perturbed co-workers—all of whom seem to have a motive.
As Lana continues to spiral down the treacherous path of scorned lovers and mistreated acquaintances, she can’t help but dwell on how quickly an innocent evening filled with hope and positivity could turn so sour. When the media gets in on the case, Lana must rush to find the killer before more dates turn deadly.
Lana Lee runs her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village like nobody’s business. When it comes to actual cooking, however, she’s known to be about a step up from boiling rice. So Lana decides to go to culinary school on the sly—and prove that she has what it takes in the kitchen after all. But when course instructor Margo Chan turns up dead after class, Lana suddenly finds herself on the case, frying pan in hand.
Since she was the one who discovered the body, Lana must do double duty in finding the killer and clearing her name. Now, with or without the help of her boyfriend Detective Adam Trudeau, Lana launches her own investigation into Margo’s life and mysterious death. Doing so leads her on a wild goose chase to and from the culinary school—and all the way back to the Ho-Lee noodle shop, where the guilty party may be closer than Lana thinks.
It's the 1930s and a mysterious illness is spreading over Scotland. But the noble and ancient family of Inverkillen, residents of Loch Down Abbey, are much more concerned with dwindling toilet roll supplies and who will look after the children now that Nanny has regretfully (and most inconveniently) departed this life.
Then Lord Inverkillen, Earl and head of the family, is found dead in mysterious circumstances. The inspector declares it an accident but Mrs MacBain, the head housekeeper, isn't so convinced. As no one is allowed in or out because of the illness, the residents of the house—both upstairs and downstairs—are the only suspects. With the Earl's own family too busy doing what can only be described as nothing, she decides to do some digging—in between chores, of course—and in doing so uncovers a whole host of long-hidden secrets, lies and betrayals that will alter the dynamics of the household for ever.
Related: A Brief History of Cozy Mysteries