If you’re looking for some escape reading but need it on the lighter side while still being murder-y and mystery-solving, then cozy mystery novels are what you need. As you can imagine, I have a bunch of them for you to curl up with this fall, and bonus points: if you like any of the mystery novels on this list, you’ll have a whole series to fall into.
Here’s a wonderful and inventive series that is traditional in the mystery genre tropes but adds a new twist–baby elephant!–while skating the line between cozy and mystery. It offers something for all readers while dealing with real issues without being gruesome or dark. And again, baby elephant! Inspector Ashwin Chopra retires, inherits a baby elephant (how do I sign up for this to happen to me?!), runs a restaurant, but ya know, it’s a mystery series, so he’s dragged into a mystery. He may be retired from the police force, but he’s soon working as a PI with his little baby elephant in tow. Come for the baby elephant and stay for the mystery-solving!
If you didn’t already know that Mary Higgins Clark’s daughter is also a mystery author, now you know and have a book to pick up. Regan Reilly’s former roommate finally turns up. Dead. Being the daughter of a mystery writer and a P.I., Reilly wants nothing more than to solve this murder, and she’ll get her wish because the clues of the case follow her onboard the Queen Guinever cruise. I am always here for mystery solving while trapped on something–especially on the high seas!
Come for the delicious ice cream descriptions and stay for the lovely family. Bronwyn Crewse has decided to move back to Chagrin Falls, Ohio and bring the family ice cream shop back to its original glory from the time when her grandparents ran it. With her marketing degree, she’s set–except there are construction delays, a snowstorm, and that pesky dead body her father is accused of having something to do with. Looks like she’ll have to solve this crime while convincing customers they do want to eat cold ice cream during a snowstorm. Have a pint of ice cream with you for this read because the scenes where she makes ice cream will have you needing your own scoop. Or two. Or pint.
There’s supposed to be a wedding taking place, but a car crash, caused by a shooting, causes judge Deborah Knott and the soon-to-be-groom, sheriff deputy Dwight Bryant, to put their focus on solving what happened to their assistant D.A. over planning the wedding. Enter extended family members to work on last-minute wedding details while Knotts and Bryant work on the case, which they’ll need full focus on because they’re about to go down a road full of corruption…
Still thinking about the ice cream cozy but need some real food before dessert? Lana Lee has returned home after a bad breakup and a huge work meltdown. While at home, she’s stuck working at her parents' Chinese restaurant, which is super unlucky for her as she’s the person who delivers the dumplings that end up killing the strip mall’s owner! As you can imagine, the restaurant that supplied the deadly food is going to be suspect numero uno! So she’s going to have to figure out how that happened and get her life in order, and maybe fall for a cute detective on the case...
For fans of “chick-lit” (a genre that I love with a term I hate), here's a mystery. We have Bailey Weggins, a Manhattan women's magazine crime writer who is naturally the perfect person to solve a crime, so of course, she ends up with a crime to solve! Weggins puts her personal life issues on the back burner when her boss’s live-in nanny is found murdered, and it seems her boss was actually the intended target. Is someone trying to kill her editor? If so. why? And who...
Does the life of an ex-librarian, current romance writer–who of course solves murders–sound like fun? Because that’s what you get! Jacqueline Kirby goes from thinking of quitting writing to quickly being lured into writing the sequel for a wildly popular novel by the author's heirs. What could go wrong? Well. it’s a murder mystery, so as soon as Kirby starts looking over notes and researching, things start getting a bit scary–until she realizes someone clearly doesn’t want her to write this book and they’re willing to end her life if need be.
Maybe a cozy mystery in Scotland is the warm blanket your heart needs–with some murder, of course. Jane Winters is a widowed tabloid reporter who has been murdered, and as you can imagine the whole tabloid writer part made her super unpopular. So plenty of suspects keep Scottish highland village cop Hamish Macbeth busy in trying to find the killer...
With all these best selling mystery authors, certainly, your next favorite cozy mystery is on this list.
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Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor and Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.