Readers' Favorite

December 11, 2023

Nothing Makes a Christmas Merry Like a Murder - 9 Christmas Cozy Mysteries

by Donna Huber

Like the holiday romance novels we featured last week, Christmas cozy mysteries have been hitting shelves for months. I read a lot of cozy mysteries and this year it seemed that more of the series I regularly read had Christmas books than usual. And these aren't special "0.5" novellas that some series do but regular installments in the series. Whether you are wanting to try a new series or looking for something festive that isn't a romance, take a look at a few that came out this year.

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Murder at Midnight by Katharine Schellman

September 2023;  Crooked Lane Books; 978-1639104321
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); Regency mystery

When a body is found shot to death after an unexpected snowstorm, Lily Adler quickly realizes that some people will stop at nothing to bury their secrets this holiday season.

While Murder at Midnight is book 4 in the Lily Adler mystery series, it is the first one that I've read. This Regency-era set novel reminded me some of Miss Scarlet and The Duke. As I mentioned in my review, Lily is a quick-witted woman and the mystery was intriguing, making for an enjoyable read.

Buy Murder at Midnight at Amazon

Sugar Plum Poisoned by Jenn McKinlay

book cover of cozy mystery Sugar Plum Poisoned by Jenn McKinlay
October 2023; Berkley; 978-0593549124
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery

When up-and-coming singing sensation Shelby Vaughn arrives in town for two weeks of concert dates, she hires her old friend Angie and the rest of the bakery crew to supply cupcakes for the VIP guest lounge every night.

I came late to this series and have only read a few of the books, but I've enjoyed every one of them that I have read. If you want a sweet treat to go with your Christmas reading, Sugar Plum Poisoned has 5 holiday-themed cupcake recipes. I'm hoping to try the gingerbread cupcake recipe soon. Check out my full review of this fluffy read.

Buy Sugar Plum Poisoned at Amazon

Let It Crow! Let It Crow! Let It Crow! by Donna Andrews

book cover of cozy mystery Let It Crow Let It Crow Let It Crow by Donna Andrews
October 2023; Minotaur Books; 978-1250893963
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery

Meg has been roped into participating in a weaponsmithing competition, a Forged in Fire wannabe organized by a blacksmith friend. Meg originally turned down an invitation to participate, but the night before the filming starts, someone attacks Faulk, her blacksmithing mentor, breaking his arm and eliminating him from the contest before it begins. Meg agrees to step in as his replacement to keep the project from failing. She's not thrilled that the filming will take place during December – Christmas is already a crazy time for her. Since the competition is taking place on Ragnarshjem, the picturesque estate that her friend Ragnar, the retired heavy metal drummer, is turning into a Goth castle, Meg won’t have to spend Christmas alone and gets to bring Michael and her twin sons with her.

I just discovered this series last year when I read the Christmas book. But I'm quickly coming to really enjoy the series. In my review, I pointed out that Andrews has a real knack for creating great characters. And the characters is what I like best about this series.

Snow Place for Murder by Diane Kelly

book cover of cozy mystery Snow Place for Murder by Diane Kelly
October 2023; St. Martin's; 978-1250816016
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); cozy mystery

International resort developer Nigel Goodwin has traveled all the way from London, England to Misty Murphy’s little corner of North Carolina and bought out the Mountaintop Lodge for the week prior to Christmas. Their intention? To pitch an exclusive new resort concept to wealthy American investors.

A snowy mountain locale is the perfect setting for a Christmas book and as I mentioned in my review, I've actually been to this town. Snow Place for Murder is the third book in the series so it is a great time to start this series if you haven't already. 

Buy Snow Place for Murder at Amazon

Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal by Raquel V. Reyes

book cover of cozy mystery Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal by Raquel V. Reyes
November 2023; Crooked Lane Books; 978-1639105243
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); cozy mystery

A surprise trip to Miriam's parents in Punta Cana, which should be filled with arroz con pollo and breezy days under the tamarind tree, quickly becomes a hunt for a possible property saboteur. But before Miriam can begin to uncover the person damaging the vacation rentals her parents manage, she’s called away to Puerto Rico to film a Three Kings Day special. She's welcomed to the blue ballast-stone streets of Old San Juan by crime scene tape, and things only get worse from there.

If you prefer a warmer locale for your Christmas reading, you can't beat the Caribbean. Plus you will learn about some Christmas traditions of a different country. This is book 3 so you can start reading the series this book with no problems. Check out my full review.

A Christmas Vanishing by Anne Perry

book cover of Christmas cozy mystery A Christmas Vanishing by Anne Perry
November 2023; Ballantine Books; 978-0593359181
audio, ebook, print (208 pages); Christmas cozy mystery

Mariah Ellison, Charlotte Pitt’s grandmother, accepts her longtime friend Sadie’s gracious invitation to spend Christmas with her and her husband, Barton, in their picturesque village. But upon arrival, Mariah discovers that Sadie has vanished without a trace, and Barton rudely rescinds the invitation. Once Mariah finds another acquaintance to stay with during the holiday season, she begins investigating Sadie’s disappearance.

This is Anne Perry's last novel as she died earlier this year. I found with Perry's Christmas series that they are more reflective on themes of forgiveness and redemption. This series is thematic so you can read them in any order and even though the often feature a minor character from one of her other series, it isn't necessary to read them either. In my review, I thought that A Christmas Vanishing was even more reflective than the other Christmas books of hers that I've read. 

Buy A Christmas Vanishing at Amazon

Murder Checks Out by Victoria Gilbert

book cover of cozy mystery Murder Checks Out by Victoria Gilbert
November 2023; Crooked Lane Books; 978-1639105205
audio, ebook, print (272 pages); cozy mystery

Returning to her role as an amateur detective is the last thing library director Amy Muir wants. She’s already buried under an avalanche of responsibilities, including sharing the directorship of the local public library, parenting her holiday-obsessed five-year-old twins, and helping her choreographer husband, Richard, present The Nutcracker as part of the town’s festivities. With her frosty mother-in-law, Fiona, visiting for the holidays, Amy definitely has enough on her Christmas cookie plate.

While this is book 8 in the Blue Ridge Library series, I've only read four (and I missed the book before this one) but I didn't have any trouble with the story. It is a delightful read even with a murder to solve. Check out my full review.

Buy Murder Checks Out at Amazon

Murder at the Highland Castle by Helena Dixon

book cover of cozy mystery Murder at the Highland Castle by Helena Dixon
November 2023; Bookouture; 978-1837900640
audio, ebook, print (252 pages); cozy mystery

A majestic castle by a Scottish loch, a glass of whisky by a roaring fire, stockings hung by the chimney… and a body? It’s a midwinter murder for Kitty Underhay!

This story is set closer to New Year's Day but I'm still including it as a Christmas cozy mystery!

I've been reading this series for a while now (though I still haven't found the time to read the first few books that I missed). But I think you can start with this novel if you are just now discovering this series. In my review, I recommend this as a great book for a long, cold night (a snow day) of reading.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

Murder on the Cornish Cliffs by Verity Bright

book cover of cozy mystery Murder on the Cornish Cliffs by Verity Bright
November 2023; Bookouture; 978-1837907663
audio, ebook, print (296 pages); cozy mystery

A festive invitation from an old family friend, the promise of gingerbread at the village inn, snowy walks on the Cornish coast with Gladstone the bulldog… But wait, is that a body on the beach?

This is another series that I've been reading for a while but didn't start at the beginning. You can start with this book if you want. With several of the cozy mysteries I read this year, I was able to figure out the culprit before the characters did. Not with this one! Check out my full review.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for FREE)

Don't miss any of our Christmas book reviews, recommended Christmas reading lists, and free ebooks, you can find them all here: 25 Days of Christmas Reading.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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