Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations – November 2012

Can you believe the year 2012 is almost over? I can’t! It seems like I just got used to putting “2012″ on what little I actually write, and already I know that I’m going to have to get used to “2013.”

And since it is the end of November, it is the time when I ask you to please tell us about a few of your very favorite Cozy Mystery reads of this month. The authors should be people who you think the rest of us need to know about.  They can be authors who you just started reading, or authors who you have revisited this past month. Please include WHY you enjoyed these authors. What makes these authors stand out from the other authors you read this past month, but who “didn’t rate” as much in your book?

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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 November 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:

Avery Aames: Cheese Shop Mystery Series

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

Tasha Alexander: Lady Emily Mystery Series

Madelyn Alt: Bewitching Mystery Series

Connie Archer: Soup Lover’s Mystery Series

Charlotte BanchiFoul Deeds (“Cozy thriller”)

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

M. C. Beaton: Agatha Raisin Mystery Series

Kate Borden (aka Kate Grilley): Peggy Jean Turner Mystery Series

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

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

Elizabeth Lynn Casey (aka Laura Bradford): Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series

Kate Collins: Flower Shop Mystery Series

Sheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell): Museum Mystery Series

Isis Crawford (aka Barbara Block): Mysteries with Recipes Mystery Series

Waverly Curtis: Barking Detective Mystery Series

Deborah Crombie: Kincaid and James Mystery Series

Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Mystery Series

Jana DeLeon: Mystere Parish Series (The Vanishing)

Barbaras Delinsky: Escape

Laura DiSilverio (aka Ella Barrick & Lila Dare): Mall Cop Mystery Series

Elizabeth J. Duncan: Penny Brannigan

Janet Evanovich: Stephanie Plum Mystery Series

Christopher Fowler: Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery Series

Dashiell Hammett: The Thin Man

David Handler: Berger & Mitry Mystery Series

Lee Hollis: Hayley Powell Food & Cocktails Mystery Series

Maddy Hunter: Passport to Peril Mystery Series

Michael Innes: Inspector Sir John Appleby Mystery Series

Miranda James (aka Jimmie Ruth Evans, Honor Hartman, & Dean James): Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series

P.D. James: Adam Dalgliesh Mystery Series

Rita LakinGladdy Gold Mystery Series

Jill Marie Landis: Tikki Goddess Mystery Series (Mai Tai One On)

Amanda Lee (aka Gayle Trent): Embroidery Mystery Series

Susan Elia MacNealMr. Churchill’s Secretary

Molly MacRae: Haunted Wool Shop Mystery Series

Margaret Maron: Deborah Knott Mystery Series

J. J. Marric (aka John Creasey): Gideon’s Month

Kate Morton: The Secret Keeper

Katherine Hall Page: Faith Fairchild Mystery Series

Dornford Yates: Cost Price

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

Comments

  1. The Mystery By the Bay Series by Ellery Adams/J.B.Stanley just keeps getting better and better. The fourth book in the series Written In Stone is for me the best book in the series.
    Olivia travels into back country (a memorable trip) to visit a lady that the locals call a witch. Munin (the recluse/witch) knew her mother. She gives Olivia a memory jar that she made and a warning that death will be around Olivia soon.

    Some books seem formula driven. Not this book as it was fresh and original. Another aspect of this series, is the development of the characters. Olivia in the first book was shut off and guarded with people. In the fourth book, she has found friendships and is developing a romantic relationship. As I read, I wondered if Ellery/Jennifer had this part of her plan for the series when she started or if it just developed through out the series. It was one of my favorite reads this year. This is a series that one should start with the first book because of the character development. It will just get better and better with each book.

    The other recommendation was one that was recommended on this site. It was The Cold Blue Blood by David Handler.
    The book started off with a murder in the prologue and it was not the last. The characters ( Des and Mitch) were different and very likable. The story/mystery was very good. I was trying to decide if this book was a cozy or police procedural. Mitch’s carriage home has a real cozy feel. Mitch reminded me a little of Myron Bolitar in the Harlan Coban series. Thanks Danna for this previous recommendation. I don’t think I would have found this series without this website.

  2. I read Connie Archer’s ” A Spoonful of Murder” recently and really enjoyed it. I pre-ordered the next book on the Nook. I am now reading “A Diva Cooks a Goose” by Krista Davis. I really enjoy this series.

  3. I just finished the new Janet Evanovich book, Notorious Nineteen-its as delightful as all the others.
    Ali Brandon’s Black Cat Bookshop series is very good!
    Madelyn Alt series – am on #5 and I enjoy them all, interesting characters and well developed mysteries.
    Barbaras Delinsky Escape features strong female characters and was good to the end

  4. Thank you for posting all of Anne Perry’s books. I have read most of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, as well as some of the William Monk series, I enjoyed the writing, plots and definitely the characters. Ms Perry had me living in Victorian England. When I saw she had written a new book with Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, I thought it would be grand to read them again, in order, so thank you for listing them all. You put them on your November 25 cheap and free list so I was very excited. However, Amazon has them listed at 9.99 or higher for kindle. I know it is not Amazon’s choice, but I am really disappointed with the publishers and especially Anne Perry’s publisher. And yes I know it is NOT Ms. Perry’s choice either. JMHO Gayle

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Gayle, I’m sorry to see that Anne Perry’s books went back up. (I have deleted them from the Nov. 25 list.)

  5. Many of the books I read this month were the second or third (or in one case, fourth) book in a series. They were all ones that I have enjoyed reading the other books in the series and the authors have created characters I enjoy spending time with.

    I started the month with the latest in Avery Aames’ Cheese Shop mysteries, Clobbered by Camembert. I love the town and the relationships of the people. In addition to the main mystery, Charlotte has to deal with the return of her old boyfriend and discovering the secrets of her new boyfriend.

    Another book I enjoyed was All Sales Fatal in Laura DiSilverio’s Mall Cop series. I enjoy all of Laura DiSilverio’s books. In this series, I find myself rooting for EJ to get the police job she longs for, even though I love all the characters at the mall and want the series to continue!

    I love Amanda Lee’s Embroidery Mysteries and A Long Stitch Good Night was another fun visit with Marcy Singer as one of her suitors arrests another one of her suitors and her best friend’s husband. Marcy manages to be both supportive of the police officer while maintaining the innocence of her arrested friends.

    I enjoy the glimpse behind the scenes of the Philadelphia museums in Sheila Connolly’s Museum Mysteries, including the latest Fire Engine Dead. Sheila Connolly is another author who I enjoy all of her series. This latest book spotlights another museum, but one nice touch in this book was that Eleanor chats with a person from the museum highlighted in the second book in the series at one point. It was a small thing, but it was nice to see the continuity.

    File M for Murder is the latest in the Cat in the Stacks mysteries by Miranda James. Charlie and Diesel’s household continues to grow as his daughter, the actress, comes home to teach a course for a semester.

    One of the books I read and recommended last month was Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal. This month, I was in London and visited the Churchill War Rooms which are fascinating. It was particularly interesting having just the book, particularly when watching an interview clip of the woman whose memoirs inspired Ms. MacNeal. So I once again recommend Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and, if you are ever in London, suggest you visit the Churchill War Rooms.

  6. Here is my list.

    The body in the Cast by Katherine Hall Page – this was much better than the previous book in the series. Faith Fairchild is back home in Aleford and with the usual cast of local characters this is a fun book and a good mystery.

    Gideon’s Month by John Creasey writing as J.J. Marric – I picked this book up in a secondhand book shop. The book is about a month in the life of Commander Gideon of Scotland Yard and has several unsolved crimes running through the book, all which are resolved by the end. It left me wanting to read more about Commander Gideon.

    The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett – This book is a classic and a total joy to read. A series of movies were made about the Thin Man but the book is better!

    Appleby’s End by Michael Innes – Another really good book with an involved and intricate plot. Beautifully written as always.

    Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander – This time Lady Emily is in Constantinople (now known as Istanbul). The mystery is well thought out and competently developed. However, you have to suspend belief to really enjoy the book. Unfortunately, I couldn’t overlook some of the more ludicrous situations such as where Lady Emily was apparently given full access to a harem in the late 1880’s to enable her to carry out her investigaton.

    Cost Price by Dornford Yates – Another great book by the master of adventure mysteries.

    Original Sin by P.D. James – I am a huge fan of P.D. James and this book adds to her reputation. This time Adam Dalgliesh is has to solve another complex mystery this time set in the world of publishing.

    Getting Old is to Die For by Rita Lakin – Another wonderful book with the great Gladdy Gold. Perfection!

  7. I read DEATH OF A TRICKSTER and DEATH OF A TURKEY by Kate Borden; the first is a Halloween theme and the second is Thanksgiving. This is a very short series; just three books, which is too bad. It is an unusual series for me to like as there is the slightest touch of “paranormal” injected in the story by one unusual character Max. But they are very short books and very easy reads. The characters are “regular folks” with just enough human flaws to make them real. The setting is a quaint New England town with just the right amount of trouble. In both books there are many twists and turns and a few surprises. And Max and his employees keep things very interesting. There are many things he could be but at the end of the third there is a hint to what he actually is. That is why I am sad this series didn’t continue I would like to see where she went with Max.
    I also enjoyed A CATERED THANKSGIVING by Isis Crawford/Barbara Block. I just love this series. As always Bernie and Libby are just a couple of “hoots.” I love the relationship the sisters have. It is so real to me. They are so different but yet the same, as many sisters are. This story took place in mansion full of a crazy rich family. Bernie and Libby are without their Dad and boyfriends as sidekicks but it was still fun. They are to cater the Thanksgiving dinner for the ungrateful, spiteful, angry family. Plus they are trapped by an surprise early blizzard. So they are snowbound with the crazies, a dead body and a killer. Reading this story reminded me of the movie CLUE and others like it.
    Between October and November I found six great Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving books to read this year. So happy! On to cozies with a winter theme.

  8. Sorry Danna I have had a family crisis to deal with this month and had not time to read a lot. But the series that i Started in October by Jana DeLeon about Mystere Parish from Harlequin Intrigue. the 2nd second book is the vanishing which i am reading and hoping to finish this week.
    I love books set in Louisiana.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list :

      Ginger, I hope all is well with your family crisis. I know how emotionally draining those types of crises can be.

      • thanks danna it is better now. I finished the vanishing by jana deleon. I would also recommend her ghost-in-law series in louisiana too

  9. Danna I have been trying to keep track of books I have read in November. Topping my list is Margaret Maron’s newest book, I enjoyed how well she has seamlessly melded her chief characters together in this book and her previous book in this series. Deborah Knott and Sigrid Hassan? are together. Great series. I downloaded a book of Deborah Crombie’s only to discover it was the first book in her series of Duncan Kincaid and Gemma. I had started reading that series in the middle, so now I am rereading the whole series on my Nook. Reading the earlier books certainly explains some references in the books I have read. Lesley Cookson has been another choice but her last books are in paperback so I bought them, but I am saving them for my January cruise. Susan Hill’s newest book while not a cozy is still a good police procedural. Not too violent, but I do wish her chief character would stop dithering in his love life and find a nice girl and settle down. She does have a habit of referring to her previous books which can be a problem for me because I read so much. I want to mention Kate Morton while not truly a mystery author her newest book “The Secret Keeper” verges on a mystery. That’s all folks for now.

  10. i read 19 books last month. two new series “dial c for chihuahua” by waverly curtis. the dog can talk
    “last wool and testament” by molly macrae.
    “hiss and hers” by m.c. beaton an agatha raisin series her two series are the best.
    christopher fowler who writes locked room books. good series. i read “the victoria vanishes” and “seventy-seven clocks”
    “dutch me deadly” by maddy hunter. she takes a group of older people to Holland. in the series,they go to other countries. a fun series

  11. For those that find the English setting fascinating, ‘Small Hill to Die On’ is an enjoyable mystery. I really like this Penny Brannigan series by Elizabeth Duncan. Her latest book is probably the best of the series. A Vietnamese family moves to the community to set up a competing business. The story has several unexpected twists and turns by delving into some underworld type activities. The author also develops new intricate characters adding complexity to story lines. In addition her visuals are described superbly. The trusting relationship between the chief and Penny is a pleasure to see grow as the series develops. It’s an entertaining read!

    I wasn’t going to recommend this book, ‘Let It Sew’ by Elizabeth Lynn Casey, because it starts out slow and a bit bland. BUT as I read on, I found it was quite interesting. There’s a very captivating side story (has nothing to do with the mystery), involving a little boy, his father, and future step mother. The plots are somewhat complex and well crafted. Although I was able to figure ‘whodunit’ about 2/3rds the way through the book, it has a fascinating twist at the end that I never saw coming. Now that the sleuth/librarian (Tori) and teacher (Milo) are engaged there isn’t much of a romance angle in this book. I enjoy the characters in this series – some are quirky, some are humorous, and some are even normal!

    Kate Collins books have been recommended often on this blog. Her latest release, “Nightshade on Elm Street’, centers around the sleuth’s (Abby) former fiancé, his family, and his friends. Of course, this creates a confusing dilemma with interesting plots. In this series there has been a lot time dwelling on the past. Hopefully with this book the characters can now move on. I missed the roommate in this story and was afraid the author had written her out, but she made an ‘appearance’ at the end. Then there is always the witty dialogue between Abby and her cousin Jillian to keep us entertained — throughout the story, they play a ‘naming game’ that is really funny!

    • I meant to add in the book analysis of ‘Let It Sew’ by Elizabeth Lynn Casey that it’s set in December with a Christmas theme.

      • MJ,
        I, also, enjoy the Penny Brannigan Mystery series by Elizabeth Duncan. A Killer’s Christmas In Wales is my next book to read. Initially, her first two books were hard to find in this area and I ended up ordering them from Amazon. Somehow I fell behind with the series but I am going to remedy that now! Not too bad as I only have two books to read to catch up with the series.

  12. Enjoyed Death of a Country Fried Redneck by Lee Hollis. This is the 2nd book in the series about Hayley Powell who writes a cooking column in the local Bar Harbor, Maine paper.
    Hayley is also a single mom with two teenagers. I love the characters in this series and the mystery had me guessing until all was revealed.

  13. Mahalo to Jill Marie Landis for the Hula Maidens! I loved this new series, set in Hawaii, that immediately pulls you in to the lives of its crazy characters and the mysteries they help to solve. Plus, you’ll get a true insider’s look at modern Hawaii. The first book is Mai Tai One On — if you read it, I’ll bet you will want to read the second and will be anxiously awaiting the third book.

  14. Just finished two great genealogical mysteries by Steve Robinson. His genealogy methods are up to date and the mysteries are well written. Please add to your list, he really needs to be encouraged to continue.
    Books- In the Blood, To the Grave, the Last Queen of England.

  15. COZY RECOMMENDATIONS

    I read and enjoyed several of Lilian Jackson Braun’s books during the month:
    - The Cat Who Went Up the Creek (might have read in October)
    - Short and Tall Tales: Moose County Legends
    - The Cat Who Brought Down the House
    - The Private Life of the Cat Who
    - The Cat Who Talked Turkey
    - The Cat Who Went Bananas (started)

    Ms. Braun’s books are so interesting to me and intelligent. I always finish one feeling a little smarter, or at least “cultured,” because the author frequently incorporates literature, theatrical and classical music references. I’m kind of dreading finishing the series – I’ll miss “The Cat Who…” books.

    ————————————–

    NON-COZY RECOMMENDATIONS

    “Foul Deeds” by Charlotte Banchi
    While not a traditional cozy, I suppose you could say it’s a cozy thriller. LOL There’s no gore or explicit sex and not a lot of swearing. There’s a couple of spunky older characters which gives the reader a chuckle now and then. The story revolves around a lady who wakes up with amnesia on the verge of a move by she and her son (or is he?). Gradually she recovers her memory as an increasing amount of bodies turn up in her active senior community. Thankfully, her new love is head of security. Wait till you find out who Rose Henn really is and why/how she ended up at Oro Sueño.

    “The Seduction of Eva Volk” by C.D. Baker
    Don’t be misled by the title – this is far from a smut novel. There’s no explicit sex and little, if any profanity. There is violence, but I don’t recall anything gory. The story is an allegory of Germany prior to and during World War II. I have often wondered how Hitler convinced (brainwashed?) so many people into going along with his maniacal plans. Did they know? Were they blissfully ignorant? Was it all a mob mentality? At any rate, this story gives some insight into the mindset of typical Germans before and during that dark period. I definitely recommend it.

  16. I read all but one of Lorna Barrett’s Booktown Mysteries in the past couple of weeks. Very cozy. Not sure why I liked them so well except maybe because they had to do with BOOKS, a small cozy town with interesting folks, a mystery, what more could one ask for in a cozy mystery!! They were all like eating potato chips, I couldn’t eat just one. I am saving Murder on a Half Shelf so I will know I will always have one more to read. Hurry with more Lorna.

  17. Danna - cozy mystery list :

    Thank you, ALL, for your mystery book recommendations for November 2012!