Mystery Book Series with a Music and/or Musician Theme

Ksenija just asked me if I had a Music/Musician mystery book theme on the site, and I responded that I don’t. Actually, I started putting all of the mystery authors I could think of with Music/Musicians, and came up with this list, which I wrote as a comment, but just decided to post as a theme.

Amanda Carmack: Elizabethan Mystery Series, starring Kate Haywood (musician in Elizabethan England)

Joelle Charbonneau: Glee Club Mystery Series (high school choir coach)

Alisa Craig (aka Charlotte MacLeod): Inspector Madoc Rhys Mystery Series (Trouble in the Brasses)

Sara Hoskinson Frommer: Joan Spencer Mystery Series (orchestra manager)

Kaye George (aka Janet Cantrell): Cressa Carraway Mystery Series (musician conductor)

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles: Bill Slider Mystery Series (young violin player girlfriend)

Morag JossSara Selkirk Mystery Series – Sara is a world renown cellist.

Beverle Graves Myers: Baroque Mystery Series (18th Century Castrati)

Mark Scheweizer: Liturgical Mystery Series (choir director and organist at his Episcopal church)

I don’t know how I missed these authors, but here are some more authors who have been recommended by some of you:

K. K. Beck: Jane da Silva Mystery Series (lounge singer)

Meg Cabot: Heather Wells Mystery Series (ex teen pop star)

Church Choir Mystery Series: (church choir)

Carole Nelson Douglas: Irene Adler Mystery Series (French opera singer)

Kinky Friedman: Kinky Friedman Mystery Series (country western singer)

Andrew M. Greeley: Nuala Anne McGrail Mystery Series (singer)

Kerry GreenwoodPhryne Fisher Mystery Series (Ruddy Gore)

Kate Grilley: Kelly Ryan Mystery Series (radio station manager)

Lucille Kallen: C.B. Greenfield Mystery Series (musicians)

Barbara Paul: Opera Mystery Series (tenor)

Mary Saums: Willie Taft Mystery Series former (singer )

Dorothy L. Sayers: Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery Series (pianist)

And, here are some authors who aren’t on the Cozy Mystery site:

Deborah Grabien: J P Kinkaid Mystery Series (Rock & Roll Never Forgets)

Phyliss Knight: ‘Lil Richie’ Series (Switching the Odds  and Shattered Rhythms)

Val McDermid: Kate Brannigan Mystery Series (Dead Beat)

Karen Sturges: Music Lover’s Mystery Series (Death of a Baritone and Death of a Pooh-Bah)

Please remember that I have only included the authors who are currently on the Cozy Mystery Site. Feel free to post a comment if you know of any other mystery authors from the site who write Music/Musician themed mystery books. Thanks!

♦ To access more Cozy Mysteries by Theme click on this link ♦


  1. BB says

    What about the Church Choir Mysteries (various authors published by Guideposts)? I might have missed them, but perhaps they could also go on the Religious Theme page?

  2. BB says

    * Jane de Silva series by K. K. Beck – lounge singer

    * Heather Wells series by Meg Cabot – former teen pop star

    * Irene Adler series by Carole Nelson Douglas – 19th Century French opera singer

    * Kinky Friedman series by (surprise!) Kinky Friedman – country-western singer [on site, though Danna says not cozy]

    * Nuala Anne McGrail series by Andrew M. Greeley – Chicago singer [on-site, non-cozy]

    * Kelly Ryan series by Kate Grilley – island radio station manager

    * C.B. Greenfield series by Lucille Kallen – two musicians, on the side

    * Opera Mystery series by Barbara Paul – New York tenor

    * Willie Taft series by Mary Saums – former back-up singer

    * Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers – pianist

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      It looks like I missed quite a few authors who write mysteries in the Music/Musician theme. Thank you, BB. I’ll go add them right now.

  3. Ksenija says

    Wow, thanks Danna for assembling this list! I am especially intrigued by the baroque series as I am a singer with a huge love for baroque opera!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      You’re welcome, Ksenija. I hope you are able to find an author or two you enjoy reading. (BB just commented about several additions to the Music/Musician theme entry.)

  4. Regina V says

    I am so happy to see you mention two of my favorite authors. Mark Schweizer’s books are so much fun and full of some truly memorable characters. I was trying to remember Sara Frommer’s name when you mentioned her, now I will research her to see of I have missed any of her books. Whoops I forgot a third author Bill Slider, I have a reserve on his newest book. Do you remember the name of the author who wrote about a Royal Mounted Policeman who came from a musical family and he was not. Or the author whose chief character brothers were all talented musicians.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Regina, I think you’re talking about Alisa Craig‘s Inspector Madoc Rhys Mystery Series. (Every time I see her list of books I simply cannot believe it’s been over thirty years that she wrote some of those books!)

    • BB says

      I wish Mark Schweizer’s Kindle books were sold as a set or a few omnibuses; although, they are very reasonably priced. I’ve been wanting to read his choir series for quite some time as I’ve seen comments that they are very funny and entertaining.

  5. Ruth says

    Deborah Grabien writes a mystery series with the bass player in a rock and roll band. Really like this series, not quite a cozy, some bad language and sex.

  6. Judith says

    Karen Sturges wrote two books in her Music-Lover series, Death of a Baritone and Death of a Pooh-Bah. The protaganist was the widow of a world-famous conductor. I really enjoyed the books and was always sorry that there were never any more.

  7. Mark says

    This isn’t a series but Charlotte MacLeod (writing as Alisa Craig) wrote a mystery called Trouble in the Brasses that is the best behind-the-scenes look at a professional orchestra that I have ever come across. The quirks and eccentricities of professional musicians are spot on and laugh-out-loud funny. And it’s a great mystery to boot!

  8. BB says

    You might also be interested in the Charles Patterson mystery series by Roz Southey. Here is how she describes it:
    My novels feature Charles Patterson, a determined but impoverished musician in 18th century Newcastle upon Tyne, together with some idiosyncratic – not to say outrageous – friends. Music and mayhem abound!

    The descriptions look like they could be cozies. Following is a list of the books:
    Broken Harmony (2007)
    Chords and Discords (2008)
    Secret Lament (2009)
    Sword and Song (2010)
    The Ladder Dancer (2011)
    Airs and Graces (2012)

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thanks, BB, for telling us about Roz Southey’s Charles Patterson Mystery Series. I’ll have to check them out.

  9. Susan* says

    Hmm… Do you mind if I say that I’m not sure Peter Wimsey belongs here? He does play piano, but it’s only ever mentioned in passing, it’s never a major feature. (About the same as Sherlock Holmes’ violin. Maybe a little less.)
    One that definitely belongs is ‘Dead Beat’ the first in the Kate Brannigan Mysteries by Val McDermid. In which Kate investigates the murder of a pop singer’s girlfriend. Very firmly rooted in the music business / lifestyle.
    I know Kerry Greenwood’s ‘Ruddy Gore’ is currently under the ‘theatre’ listing on this site, but it could sneak in here, too, as it is set backstage of a Gilbert & Sullivan production. Definitely musical.
    Also Phyliss Knight’s ‘Lil Richie’ Series. An ex-Rock Guitarist turned PI. (I haven’t read them yet, so I don’t know if they’re cozy or not, but they’re on my Want List.)

  10. linda cooper says

    Danna, As I have been setting here this morning writing my repelies to several of your wonderful topics, I had Angela Landsbury’s ” Mrs. Santa Claus” on TV. This isnt’ a mystery by any stretch but it sure is a good musical for this time of the year. My only problem(??) with this movie is that now I will be having ” Avenue A” stuck in my head all day long. Love the movie, love Angela Landsbury starring in it!!

  11. DSD says

    Ben January, in Barbara Hambly’s series about antebellum New Orleans, makes his living as a dance fiddler.

    I am looking for a series involving an early music ensemble based I think in NYC. Can anyone help?

  12. Binglady says

    Love your site!
    I’m trying to identify a book of mystery stories connected with operas. I saw it somewhere but can’t remember the exact title and can’t find it. It may have included an Agatha Christie story or excerpt. Thanks much.

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