Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations – December 2012

Last month for the 2012 Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations listings. I can barely believe this year is will be over in just a matter of days!

I’m sure that most of you know the drill: Please tell us about a few of your very favorite Cozy Mystery reads of December 2012. This should be authors who you think the rest of us absolutely have “got to know” about, so that we can also enjoy their Cozy Mystery books. Please include WHY you enjoyed these authors.


I will add the recommended authors to this entry as they come in. (Please do not tell us about the authors you did not like.) Thank you!

What Cozy Mystery book (or author) have you read during December 2012, and why did you enjoy it (or him/her)?

Here are the current authors who some of you have read this past month, and wanted to tell the rest of us about:

Ellery Adams (aka Jennifer Stanley, J. B. Stanley, & 1/2 of Lucy Arlington): Books by the Bay Mystery Series

Susan Wittig Albert: :China Bayles Mystery Series

Robin Allen: Poppy Markham, Culinary Cop Mystery Series

Madelyn Alt: Bewitching Mystery Series

Donald Bain & “Jessica Fletcher”: Murder, She Wrote Mystery Series

David Baldacci: Puller Mystery Series

Lorna Barrett (aka Lorraine Bartlett & L. L. Bartlett):Booktown Mystery Series

L.L. Bartlett (aka Lorna Barrett & Lorraine Bartlett): Jeff Resnick Mystery Series

Ali Brandon (aka Diane A. S. Stuckart): Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series

Lilian Jackson Braun: The Cat Who ***** Mystery Series

Simon Brett: Fethering Mystery Series

Emily Brightwell: Mrs. Jeffries Mystery Series

Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib): Key West Food Critic Mystery Series

Kate Carlisle: Biblophile Mystery Series

Erika Chase: Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery Series

Peg Cochran (aka Meg London): Gourmet De-Lite Mystery Series

Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell): Orchard Mystery Series

E.J. Copperman (aka Jeffrey Cohen): Haunted Guesthouse Mystery Series

Deborah Crombie: Kincaid & James Mystery Series

Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Mystery Series

Claire Donally: Sunny & Shadow Mystery Series

Elizabeth J. Duncan: Penny Brannigan Mystery Series

Janet Evanovich: Stephanie Plum Mystery Series

Jessica Fletcher” & Donald Bain: Murder, She Wrote Mystery Series

Elaine Flinn: Molly Doyle Mystery Series

Lee Goldberg: Mr. Monk Mystery Series

John Grisham: The Racketeer

E. W. Hornung: Raffles

Michael Innes: Inspector Sir John Appleby Mystery Series

P. D. James: Adam Dalgliesh Mystery Series

Kate Kingsbury (aka Allison Kingsley & Rebecca Kent): Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery Series

Joyce and Jim Lavene: Missing Pieces Mystery Series

Virginia Lowell: Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery Series

Charlotte MacLeod (aka Alisa Craig): Peter Shandy Mystery Series

Susan Elia MacNeal: Maggie Hope Series: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy

G. M. Malliet: St. Just Mystery Series

Margaret Maron: Deborah Knott Mystery Series

J. J. Marric (aka John Creasy): Gideon Mystery Series

Nancy Martin: Blackbird Sisters Mystery Series

Jenn McKinlay (aka Lucy Lawrence & Josie Belle): Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series

Marcia Muller: Sharon McCone Mystery Series

Shirley Rousseau Murphy: Joe Gray Cat Mystery Series

Sandra Parshall: Rachael Goddard Mystery Series

Hannah Reed (aka Deb Baker): Beekeeper Mystery Series

Emilie Richards: Ministry Is Murder Mystery Series

Sara Rosett: Ellie Avery Mystery Series

Maggie Sefton: Knitting Mystery Series

Patricia Sprinkle: Thoroughly Southern Mystery Series

Sunny Sundwall: The Red Shoelace Killer

Susan Susmann: Audition for Murder

Elaine Viets: Dead-end Job Mystery Series

Debbie Wilson: Sweet Scent of Justice

Valerie Wolzien: Susan Henshaw Mystery Series

♦To access more Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations, click on this link♦


  1. ginger says

    I have not read much this month but I would like to tell you about a book I got as gift. I live in Louisiana and the book is set about 60 miles from where I live. This a true story about sister who is determined to find her sister’s killer. It is about her faith and will not to give up. The killer is found 20 years later.
    I was so struck by the sister’s faith and how she held on to it. I wanted to share it with you. I know this is not what this site is about but I would like to share it.

    The name of the book is Sweet Scent of Justice by Debbie Wilson. It is available at Amazon and on the Kindle.

  2. MJ says

    The latest Margaret Maron book, ‘Buzzard’s Table’, in the Deborah Knott series, is probably the best one. Page after page it keeps the reader intrigued. There are two separate mystery story lines to follow, with many twists and turns. She always writes the chapters in the first person from two viewpoints, with a third one thrown in occasionally in this book. It is an interesting (and enjoyable) perspective. Sigrid Harald is a main character in this story, with a focus on her family members. I hadn’t realized that Maron has a series featuring this character until someone mentioned it on this blog. If you haven’t followed the Deborah Knott series you could read this book as a ‘stand alone’.

    I highly recommend this book, it is an excellent and riveting story. Ms. Maron is an outstanding writer in this genre.

  3. Lexie says

    I read a lot in December as I avoid all the Xmas rush. While others stand in line, are in heavy traffic and putting up with family, I prefer to have my feet up, a cup of tea and a stack of books to welcome in winter time. I just finished the new John Grisham-The Racketeer-it’s one of the best mysteries I have read in ages. Truly captivation from start to finish. Also new David Baldacci, very good mystery as always based on government background with a good crime involved. Am now reading The cookie Shop series by Virginia Lowell and its very good and a true cozy with a great setting, a cookie shop and fun characters. A delightful book just finished is the new Shirley Rousseau Murphy cat mystery set in Carmel California is so good, it will not allow you to sleep at all until you finish it. The people, setting, mystery and cats are a delightful fun read. Now reading Madelyn Alt Bewitching series #4 and it is as good as the previous 3 in the series. Also diving into the “Read and Buried” The new Erika Chase 2nd in the ashton corners cozy series. Very good setting, people and the mystery is captivating.

  4. *Susan says

    I received Elaine Viet’s “Just Murdered” for Christmas. One of her “Dead-end Job” mysteries – this one set in a bridal salon.
    I love this series!! Helen Hawthorne is takes short-term, minimum-wage jobs (A different one each book) which always seem to include murder.
    There is always an assortment of colourful, often wacky characters, and they are a quick, interesting, cozy read. Highly recommended! :)

  5. Lexie says

    Sheila Connolly-Because she builds on each new book and the mysteries are very good. I highly recommend the Orchard Series for all cozy lovers. I read the entire series this year and enjoyed each one more then the last.
    Lorena Barrett-Bookshop series- Excellent writing and true cozy with good plots. Another good series I read all 6 and am waiting on the next.
    Jenn McKinlay-Fun cozies with a good plotline and nice setting. The cupcake series is pure cozy fun every time.
    Kate Carlisle-Biblophile Series-Captivating mystery with a book setting and set in SF which is always fun. Very interwoven plot with her background as a book binder.
    Joyce and Jim Lavene-Their series is fun who done it in every book They weave a good story line and build in each of the series. I love the settings, people and the towns.
    Elaine Flinn-Antique Mysteries-She only wrote 5 but they are all great cozies with a well woven plot based on the antique business. Also set in Carmel California makes it all the more interesting.
    Ali Brandon-Bookshop mysteries-Wonderful use of setting in an inherited bookshop with a black cat who takes part in solving the mysteries. I like the use of the bookshop as a main character and the mystery is good to the very end. This series has promise and I hope it will continue for many more books.
    Hannah Reed-Bee keeper mysteries-Excellent story line and each book builds on her profession as a bee keeper.
    E.J. Cooperman-Haunted Guesthouse Series-Excellent plot lines and fun settings-lots of guessing about their plot line for the mystery which is fun every time.
    Ellery Adams-Books by the Bay mystery-Fun thrillers with a cozy type of feel and characters you will want to know
    Claire Donally-The Sunny & Shadow mystery-A fun cozy cat mystery you will adore from beginning to end.
    And this year I read from beginning to end all 19 Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum series. It got me through a rough time for 30 days by making me laugh out loud and each book is more delightful then the last. Highly recommend if you do not mind an off color mystery with 2 very sexy men as well as a fun romp with a lot of fun.
    Maggie Sefton-Knitting shop series-I read the entire series I enjoyed each one and the cozy setting is delightful as well as the mystery builds throughout the story. The small town appeal is what makes these cozies work.

    Madylyn Alt Bewitching Series-Very good use of magic, fun and interesting characters in each book. It’s a nice small town just where you want to live and solve mysteries. It’s true cozy in that the people are a community and everyone contributes to solving the murders.
    Lucy Burdette-Great new cozy series-Food critic that lives on a boat in Florida keys with many colorful characters involved in each mystery. Its colorful, fun and really good plot woven with a good mystery throughout each of the 2 books.
    Yes I am a speed reader!

    • Laura says

      I, also, love Lorna Barrett’s bookshop series. I am going to try Ali Brandon’s bookshop series on your recommendation.

  6. Lexie says

    I forgot Peg Cochran-Allergic to Death 1st in her new series. Its very good and highly enjoyable mystery with fun characters. I loved the setting and small town feel. I look forward to reading the 2nd book this year.

  7. says

    I’ve read Krista Davis, Lilian Jackson Braun and I’m just about half way done with Peg Cochran’s book —- I have a long list started of what I want to read for 2013

  8. Regina V says

    Danna I have been waiting for this day. Like you, I dislike starting a series in mid stream, but that is evidently what I did with Deborah Crombie’s books. I don’t remember what book I began to read, but I would wonder why she would have the characters mention previous events. I finally realized the error of my ways and downloaded all 13 books. I just finished reading them. They were GREAT. Each book features a different type of crime but the chief characters stay the same. Their relationship evolves and changes but in a believable way.I have preordered #14 which will be published sometime soon. I read the latest Simon Brett book in the Fethering series. He has his chief characters follow separate paths in detection, but they eventually reunite.

  9. says

    Can’t wait to read the list. A new author to me is Nancy Martin and I’m enjoying the Blackbird Sisters Mystery series.
    By the way, my first Cozy Mystery, A Graceful Death (No. 1 in the Lowenna series) is free for Kindle until December 30.

  10. Moonlight says

    I just finished Sandra Parshall’s Rachael Goddard series. Rachael is vet with a family secret. Also, I recently read L.L. Bartlett’s Jeff Resnick series. Jeff is an insurance investigator who moves back home after suffering a serious head injury in a mugging. Both series are solid mysteries with complex family relationships that make for excellent stories. I read the first in both series because they were listed as free or cheap Kindle books and ended up buying the rest of both series.

  11. Judith says

    This month I read the second book in Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy. It was just as wonderful as the first and we learn more secrets from Maggie’s past. I am really looking forward to the next book, His Majesty’s Hope.

    I also read the second book in the Poppy Markham, Culinary Cop series by Robin Allen, Stick a Fork in It. Poppy is a terrific character. She is a health inspector who really cares about her job. While in the first book, she solved the mystery to clear her step-sister, in this one she does so mostly because she is bored due to being on limited duty as a result of injuries sustained in the earlier book. She just can’t let go when things don’t make sense. There is a lot of humor in this series.

    The latest Ellie Avery mystery by Sara Rosett is a Christmas-themed mystery, Mistletoe, Merriment and Murder. Ellie stumbles over another body and she has to find out whodunnit because the cop (who did not appreciate Ellie solving an earlier murder) suspects her.

    I also thoroughly enjoyed the latest Penny Brannigan mystery by Elizabeth J. Duncan, A Small Hill to Die On. These books are wonderful small town cozies with a great cast of characters.

  12. says

    From this year list, I would wholeheartedness recommend 2 books:
    Lavender Lies – Susan Wittig Albert – China Bayles mystery and one of the better books within the series. The plot did not appear to be artificial and with a forced ending (which is a great danger for a cozy)
    Audition for Murder – Susan Susmann – the main character actress Morgan Taylor is just a delightful protagonist. The way she talks with herself is something I believe we could all relate to, and she doesn’t look to ask for trouble, but rather trouble finds her.

  13. Sheila says

    I just checked my calendar planner and here are the books I read in December.

    Lorna Barrett: Bookplate Special
    Chapter and Hearse
    Sentenced to Death

    Krista Davis: The Diva Runs out of Thyme
    The Diva Takes the Cake
    The Diva Paints the Town
    The Diva Cooks a Goose
    The Diva Haunts the House

    I just started reading The Diva Digs Up the Dirt. Like the previous Diva books, I find I can’t put them down. Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger wanted you to continue to find out what happens next.

  14. Mark says

    Based on one reader’s review of Valerie Wolzien books got me nostalgic for her mysteries so I reread We Wish You a Merry Murder and ‘Tis the Season to be Murdered in time for Christmas. I really think these are some of the best Christmas mysteries I have read.

  15. Carrie says

    My list is shorter than usual because, just like everyone else, I find December to be such a busy month I don’t have as much for reading as I would like.

    Gideon’s Fire by John Creasey writing as J.J. Marric – Because I enjoyed the last Gideon book I read I went back to the secondhand book shop I found it in and discovered another hiding on the shelves. This is just as good as the last one (mentioned last month.) I’m not sure whether these books are still in print, but if you have a secondhand book shop near you it would be worth checking to see if you can find one.

    A Night of Errors by Michael Innes – All Michael Innes books have involved and intricate plots and are a pleasure to read.

    Raffles by E.W. Hornung – I previously read this series of books years ago and found this copy lurking on one of my bookshelves. This is a classic and if you haven’t read it yet, put it on your “to be read” list. E.W. Hornung was married to Arthur Conan Doyle’s sister and apparently ACD warned Hornung that writing a book where the “hero” was in fact a “villain” was a mistake. Fortunately for us he was proved wrong!

    A Certain Justice by P.D. James – All of P.D. James’ Adam Dalgliesh books are worth reading and this is no exception.

    Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich – The Stephanie Plum series of books are a joy to read. You will find yourself laughing out loud in places and looking forward to the next book as you read the last pages. They might not be considered great “literature” but they are enormous fun and very relaxing to read.

    Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up by Emily Brightwell – I deliberately saved this book up so that I could read it just before Christmas! I’m a huge fan of this series and this book is a great addition to the Mrs. Jeffries list of murder cases.

  16. linda c says

    Danna, As I said earlier this week, I have been reading quite a bit this month. Kate Kingsbury’s “The Clue is in the Pudding” was a very good book that has our Cecily once again trying to give her guest at her Pennyfoot Hotel a Christmas to remember without a dead body mixing in with the festivities. Very good book. Read the thing in a days’ time.
    I have read two of the Ministry Is Murder series by Emilie Richards. Have two to read yet. I have found these to be a good series. Our sleuth Aggie is the wife of a minister in a small town in Ohio. My only problem with this series is that the storyline is set in an Ohio town called Emerald Springs and I can’t for the life of me think of just where this Emerald Springs would even be situated in the state. It is supposed to be close to Cincinnati, Cleveland as well as Columbus and Dayton and is supposed to be a college town. The only town that I can think of that would fit this description is Yellow Springs in Greene County, closer to Dayton, Ohio. Oh well, maybe it is just a fictional town!! Fancy that!!
    The book that I read that I really enjoyed the most was “Looking For Yesterday”, a Sharon McCone mystery by Marcia Muller. What a good book! This book had me interested from the first page until the last! I loved the fast pace of the story. No humhallying around. Just got to the story from the getgo! This book puts our Sharon in another life and death situation. It was a page turner. One that I didn’t want to put down even long enough to eat! My poor dogs! Thank goodness they had some kibble to munch on while I read!
    Right now I am reading “Guess Who’s Coming To Die” by Patricia Sprinkle. This series has MacLaren Yarbrough as our main sleuth. “Mac” is a State of Georgia Magistrate, who is also a wife, mother but also the person who is the one to find the body. She always vows she won’t get into the investigation but for various reasons can’t stay out of the mix. This is a very good series. I have read other books from this series. I picked this book up at the Salvation Army Family store for a dollar! Really good place to find books!

  17. says

    My comic-cozy mystery, The Red Shoelace Killer – A Minnie Markwood Mystery, debuted in November of this year. Those who like humor in their mysteries might enjoy. Happy New Year to Danna and all her loyal followers!

  18. Karen says

    I read the new John Grisham novel. I also started the embroidery series by Amanda Lee. I was busy with Christmas activities and family and didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked. But I have a stash for January so old man winter can come to TN any time.

  19. linda c says

    Danna, I did forget to list ‘Domestic Malice’ a Jessica Fletcher mystery by Donald Bain. To me, because of the subject matter, this was one of the best books from this series that I have read. Not that I am a victim of domestic violence myself, but because I know of too many women who have been victims. In this day and age this was a very timely novel.
    I picked up a few new-to-me authors today. Just wondering if any of you have read any books by these authors. The first series of books the Rumpole series by John Mortimer. I thought the book covers on this series made the books look interesting. I am going to start with “A Rumpole Christmas.” Hopefully my method of beginning with a Christmas novel when starting a new-to- me series will pan out.
    Four additional new-to-me authors and their books are : “It’s Murder Going Home” by Marlys Millhiser; ” A Fatal Grace” by Louise Penny; “Death in Sheep’s Clothing” by Stella Phillips; and “The Butter Did It” by Phyllis Richman.
    I have seen books on the shelves by Millhiser and Penny but these will be the first for me to read. The other two books were sitting on the mystery shelves all by their lonesome. So this will be a test for me to see why there was only one for each author sitting on the shelf at the library.

  20. Gayle says

    My last submission was a question, however I have been reading “Rest You Merry”, based on comments from the blog. I fell in major like with Peter Shandy, cannot wait to read more. I am reading “A Stitch In Crime”, just finished, “The Quick And The Thread”. I am so grateful for the blog and the Cozy Mystery web site.

  21. Arlene says

    Just finished G.M. Malliet’s Death of a Cozy Writer. Wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Good dialog, no needless, agonizing over personal things like what to eat for breakfast. Just great, mostly unlovely, characters. Any or all could be both victim or perpetrater. Have also begun Wicked Autum. Premise of the beautiful ex-MI5 parson seems great, but the begining has an awful lot of description. I will give the whole book a try because the first was so great.
    Happy New Year.

  22. Danna - cozy mystery list says

    Thank you ALL for your Cozy Mystery Book Recommendations for December 2012. As usual, I am reading all of your comments and hope to find an irresistible new-to-me author who I enjoy as much as those of you who recommended the author. (Actually, I hope to find more than one new-to-me author!)