Last December I wrote a post on several terrific mysteries to add to your, or a loved one’s, Christmas list. I thought this year I would write about a few cozy authors whose work I enjoy and admire. You may already read some of these series, though perhaps you will find one or two you would like to add to your wish list this season.
Nancy Atherton – I fell in love with Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series this year. Set in the beautiful English village of Finch, this paranormal series has American Lori Shepherd as its main protagonist. Lori and her family moved to the Cotswolds after Lori inherited a charming cottage from her mother’s friend, Dimity. Though Dimity is deceased, she can communicate with Lori via a book Lori keeps in the study. All Lori needs to do is open the book, speak her piece, and read as Aunt Dimity’s lovely penmanship fills the pages with wisdom and advice. I’ve read three books so far (Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well is my favorite) and none have featured murder. Rather, the mysteries Lori and Aunt Dimity investigate involve thefts, treasure hunts, and riddles. I’m eager for more visits to the English countryside to accompany Lori on her adventures.
Cleo Coyle – The Village Blend is the quintessential Manhattan coffeehouse at the center of Coyle’s bestselling Coffeehouse Mystery series. When manager and barista Clare Cosi isn’t creating a new blend for her customers, she is tracking down murderers with help from her NYPD detective boyfriend, Mike Quinn. In each book, Coyle (a pen name for an author and her husband) takes readers to beautiful New York City locales that aren’t included in a typical tour while weaving in puzzling mysteries, romance, and a strong sense of family. I’m a tea drinker, but this series makes me long for a cup of joe. It’s not too late to add Once Upon A Grind, released this month, to your wish list.
Elizabeth Spann Craig/Elizabeth Craig/Riley Adams – Yes, this is one woman writing three cozy series. I’m exhausted already. The Myrtle Clover Mystery Series, which Elizabeth publishes under her full name Elizabeth Spann Craig, is set in North Carolina and features octogenarian Myrtle Clover. Myrtle, a feisty sleuth, is the star of eight books. As Elizabeth Craig, the author publishes The Southern Quilting Mysteries. Also based in a quiet North Carolina town, this series (the fifth book comes out next summer) features Beatrice Coleman, a retired art museum curator. The Memphis Barbeque Series, published under Craig’s pen name Riley Adams, has such titles as Delicious and Suspicious and Finger Lickin’ Dead in a series that has restaurateur Lulu Taylor as its lead character. There is something for every mystery reader in this buffet, I’d say. If not, then a sleuth needs to be dispatched at once to investigate the matter.
Mary Daheim – Daheim is one of the queens of the cozy world. She pens two series, the Alpine series with Emma Lord and the Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries. I’m working my way through the B&B books, of which Clam Wake is the latest installment. Judith Flynn is the proprietor of Seattle’s Hillside Manor and the sleuth who solves the murders of her guests and other assorted Seattle residents. She is assisted by her husband, Joe, a retired cop, and her quirky cousin, Renie. This is a wacky series; one book (A Streetcar Named Expire) features a runaway ostrich. Judith’s obstreperous mother, Gertrude, makes regular appearances; she lives in the converted shed in Judith and Joe’s backyard and is always ready to insult anyone who crosses her path. This series has me dreaming of a visit to Seattle, though I’d definitely stay somewhere other than Hillside Manor.
Rosie Genova – Murder and Marinara, the first in Genova’s Italian Kitchen Mystery series, had me craving a plate of spaghetti and a visit to the Jersey shore. When mystery writer Victoria Rienzi (Vic) returns to her family’s New Jersey home, she is soon involved in a murder investigation when a patron of her family’s restaurant drops dead on the premises. Poisoning is the cause of death, and Vic hurries to solve the case and save her family’s business. The Wedding Soup Murder, the second in the series, is at the top of my To Read pile. A third book will be published next fall. Grab a cannoli and a cup of espresso and enjoy.
I hope you are enjoying this holiday season (make sure you take regular reading breaks)!