Let's talk about cozy mysteries

I have been a fan of cozy mysteries for a long time. I started with Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple and went from there. I don’t know if this exactly fits the bill, but I loved Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series. Her adventurous attitude and deadpan humor had me hooked.

Then I moved into the more lighthearted stuff like Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swenson and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. I also like the foodie type mysteries like Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy and Susan Wittig Albert’s series on herbs.

I’m also a fan of TV shows based on cozy mysteries like Murdoch Mysteries (currently watching), Miss Fischer’s Murder Mysteries and of course the classic Poirot and Miss Marple.

I’m currently listening to a Harper Lin series based on a latte shop owner, a Chris Ewan series called The Good Thief’s Guide to [place], and Juliet Blackwell’s series on Annie Kincaid, an art restoration expert with a tendency toward forgery.

What are some of your favorite cozy mysteries? Or even cozy mystery genres since there are so many at this point?

For TV, there’s Death in Paradise, as typical as cozy as you’ll see these days, which always end with the detective gathering all the suspects together in the room to tell who the murderer is (they even are a bit self-aware of that). They even do locked room mysteries (the very first episode is one).

Midsomer Murders is very much in that genre, as are the Father Brown Mysteries.

I’ve been thinking of subscribing to Acorn TV. All three, Death in Paradise, Midsomer Murders and Father Brown Mysteries are all there, and many more.

I’ve been watching MIdsomer Murders free on IMDb TV and started both Father Brown Mysteries and Death in Paradise on Hoopla (free library service). I’m also watching Janet King on Hoopla but don’t know if that’s a cozy.

Does Psych fit into the genre? I watch that on Peacock TV.

For books some of my favorite cozies are:
Savannah Reid series by G.A. McKevett
Benni Harper series by Earlene Fowler
Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries by Philip Craig

On the TV side, not mentioned yet:
Rosemary and Thyme

I just read the first book in a cozy series called “An Unkindness of Ravens” by ME Hilliard, featuring a librarian who, as she puts it, “read a lot of girl mysteries growing up and prefers Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew.” I quite enjoyed it, and my wife is enjoying it now.

In an odd way, I think the Family Skeleton series by Leigh Perry fits here.

I also for the most part enjoy Stephanie Plum, but she’s starting to get a bit tired, I think. Time for the status quo to shake up a bit somehow.

Death in Paradise is on my local PBS station of Saturday nights.

Probably because Mystery! On PBS ran it alongside Agatha Christie stuff, I put Cadfael in the same genre of mystery stories. I haven’t read the books it’s based on, but I do enjoy the episodes. (There are 4 seasons, but a total of 13 episodes)

This is a good plan, because there you will find things like Agatha Raisin, Whitstable Pearl, Professor T, and Dead Still. Also you may want to track down McDonald and Dodds, Rosemary and Thyme, Miss Scarlet and the Duke, and Shakespeare and Hathaway.

Thanks for the recommendations! All of those are on Britbox except Miss Scarlet is on PBS. I looked them up on justwatch.com

You might find some old radio mysteries enjoyable. There’s a real art to making a great audio production generally but in particular in the mystery genre. I love listening to old shows like that which in their day where the common source of entertainment.


In terms of ‘cozy’ books, the ones you’ve mentioned I’ve read and liked too. I would recommend a book called The Red House Mystery which was written by A.A. Milne (creator of Winnie The Pooh). It’s a short murder mystery but very fun and in a way jovial because it is an amateur sleuth story.

Then there are some modern books which are in the locked-room mystery theme that puts a group of different characters all together who are all suspect and all suspecting. It is down to you as the reader to decipher who is not what they say they are in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. Shari Lapena and Lucy Foley are two excellent authors of this kind of book which alternates the reader’s viewpoint by putting you into the mind and viewpoint of each of those suspect characters and how they behave as the story goes on as opposed to solely from the view of a detective. Sometimes there is no detective and therefore no good/neutral perspective. It’s all fun.

Sharyn McCrumb. Her Bimbos of the Death Sun structure is a cozy. Her Elizabeth McPherson mysteries also qualify.

Maybe Honor Raconteur’s The Case Files of Henri Davenforth would qualify, though they’re on a different planet. Which has magic.

Jonathan Creek was cosy-adjacent. At least the first seasons.

you should go over to fanfiction.net and check out the stephanie plum fanfic, some of it is actually better than the original author. [and in many of them, Ranger gets the girl]

Brit TV at its finest: the Ian Carmichael versions of Peter Wimsey. As far as I know, they are not streaming, but are available on YouTube. I have both Britbox and Acorn. They are different…Do a trial sub for each and decide which you like. However, they are cheap as chips and you should be able to afford both.

I got a subscription to Acorn TV so I could watch the Miss Fisher mysteries, and was surprised to see all the other shows they had. I haven’t watched any of the ones you mentioned; I’ll have to add them to my viewing list.

Thanks! Borrowed the ebook at my Overdrive online library. I have the audiobook on hold.

Sounds fun. I borrowed A Stranger in the House, Someone We Know, An Unwanted Guest, and the End of Her on audiobook on Overdrive. I doubt I’ll get through much of them in 3 weeks, but maybe enough to get a feel for the genre.

Lucy Foley is way more popular. I put her audiobooks on hold. I’m over 100 in line, but there are over 50 copies, so it shouldn’t be that long. Thanks again!

I borrowed Sharyn McCrumb’s Sick of Shadows on ebook, the first Elizabeth McPherson book of the series. Thanks for the suggestion!

This is streaming on Britbox for those that have Britbox. There are a couple seasons on Pluto TV (which is free) if people just want to get a feel for the series.

For anyone wanting to know how much chips cost. Acorn TV is $5.99/mo and $59.99 for the year in the US. Britbox is $6.99/mo and $69.99 for the year in the US.
They both have a 7 day free trial.

The Britbox app has a poor (2.8) rating in the Google Play store. The complaints that I saw are about the app freezing, not about the content which is generally admittedly good according to the reviews.

How about cozy-adjacent books? Personally I can’t abide the cooking ones or the ones with animals. My rules are No Food, No Pets.

I sort of define a cozy as one where a) the detective and/or their immediate loved ones are never in any real danger; 2) it is usually a whodunnit, with clues, and an honest possibility for the reader to figure out at least some of it; and iii) the detective is either amateur or at best unofficial. So cozy-adjacent would be where one of those rules is not followed.

For example, a book called The Eighth Detective by Alex Paresi is sort of hybrid cozy with slightly sinister overtones.

Anthony Horowitz, an actual movie and TV writer, has written some books with basically himself (with a few details changed) as the detective. Pretty cozy.

One from the golden age: The Widening Stain by W. Bolingbroke Johnson, with another librarian as detective. Also very cozy.

Simon Brett has a series about Charles Paris, an actor, as detective; the Fethering series practically defines cozy, taking place in the town of Fethering, with a couple of maybe-spinsters doing the sleuthing; someone called Mrs. Pargeter, which I haven’t read, and something called Blotto Twinks, which I haven’t read either. He’s very prolific, and while entertaining, sometimes his books are a little light in the thought department.

The guy who does Agatha Raisin books (M. C. Beaton) also has Hamish Macbeth, about a village police sergeant in northern Scotland, and something called the Poor Relation series. There must be more, he has 38 pages on Amazon.

Charlotte MacLeod is another prolific writer. There’s a series with Peter Shandy, an agriculture professor in New England, and another with a husband-wife team Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn.

The Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler is, I think, cozy-adjacent. They are, after all, London cops, but they are very old, and the senior detectives of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. The dangers seem much more apocalyptic than personal. Usually quite funny in spots.

But surely, crafts and hobbies are OK, right? :wink:

That reminds me of this list of cozy mysteries categorized by theme. IMO, this is one of the best, if not the best website on cozy mysteries.

I looked him up on IMDb. Supposedly, he wrote the Alex Rider series. Is this it? I have that one on my watch list on IMDb.

Borrowed. Thanks!

Also borrowed. Thanks! The covers of his books look fun.

Also on Acorn TV for people who are subscribed.

I borrowed The Bilbao Looking Glass, a Peter Shandy mystery. At this point, I’m just borrowing them as placeholders. Too many great ones in the thread already that are in my queue to read.

I put The Invisible Code on hold. I wasn’t going to borrow any more, but I couldn’t resist the cover.

Thanks for all the great suggestions! These are ones I would never have come across myself. I’m amazed that my library had so many of them.

I’ll just use links from Cozy Mystery, as these are convenient.

Coffeehouse mysteries from Cleo Coyle.

Martha Vineyard’s mysteries from Cynthia Riggs.