Mystery Books that Take Place in Minnesota:

Here are some fun facts about Minnesota:
Minnesota is an Indian word that means “sky-tinted water.” St. Paul is the capital, Minneapolis is the largest city. State Motto: The Star of the North. State Flower: Minnesota Pink and White Lady’s-Slipper. Minnesota was named for the sky blue waters.

Authors who are found on the Cozy Mystery Site and who feature Minnesota locations in their books:

John L. Betcher: James Becker Mystery Series

Janet Cantrell (aka Kaye George): Fat Cat Mystery Series

Carole Nelson Douglas: Kevin Blake Mystery Series

Jan Dunlap: Bob White Birder Murder Mystery Series

Monica Ferris: Needlecraft Mystery Series

Joanne Fluke: Cookie Jar Mystery Series

Ellen Hart: Sophie Greenway Mystery Series AND Jane Lawless Mystery Series

Tami Hoag: Sam Kovac Mystery Series

Christine Husom: Snow Globe Shop Mystery Series

Sofie Kelly: Magical Cats Mystery Series

Mary Lou Kirwin: Librarian Mystery Series

William Kent Krueger: Cork O’Connor Mystery Series

M.D. Lake: Peggy O’Neill Mystery Series

Jess Lourey: Murder by the Month Mystery Series

Diane Morlan: Jennifer Penny Mystery Series

Annie Knox (aka Wendy Lyn Watson): Pet Boutique Mystery Series

Beth Solheim: Sadie Witt Mystery Series

Please feel free to contact me if you see an author from the Cozy Mystery Site who belongs on this list, or if you have any comments.

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


  1. Shelley says

    Even though these mysteries aren’t real cozy, they are so well-written and being a Minnesota native I find the history fascinating, I just had to suggest these. Believe it or not, this author has brought the famous Sherlock Holmes to Minnesota and IT WORKS! Author is Larry Millett – titles are:

    Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon

    Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace

    Sherlock Holmes and the Rune Stone

    Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Alliance

    The Disapperance of Sherlock Holmes

  2. Barry says

    I picked up Larry Millett’s first works of Sherlock Holmes
    and I couldn’t believe that I was reading another’s version of
    Sherlock Holmes,but I couldn’t wait till the other novels came
    out. Larry really had Doyle’s writing style down pact.
    I read all five of Larry’s Sherlock Holmes novels and I wish
    he would write other Holmes novels.
    Larry kept Holmes’ character as close to the Doyle character as
    anyone I read so far has.
    Laura King did a good job,but she had Holmes getting married
    to a much younger woman and also, she did invent the female
    version of Sherlock Holmes which was really great.
    Larry has the BEST version of Sherlock Holmes of all the writers I have read, with the exception of Doyle, and the stories flow along smoothly.

  3. Ginny J says

    Several years ago I read some mysteries set in the Grand Marais, MN area and I have forgotten the author’s name. Does anyone know the author’s name?

  4. Laura says

    Ginny, could you be talking about the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger? Also, don’t forget all the John Sanford books.

  5. Lisa says

    How about P.J. Tracy? They’re the mother/daughter team with the Monkeywrench books. I think there are four books now and I think they get better with each one!

    • Sue W says

      Yes – the PJ Tracy and William Kent Krueger books are great as are John Sandford’s. I’m not sure if they are cozy mysteries, but they have a great sense of place. They deserve to be on any Minnesota mystery list!!

  6. Lisa says

    Hi, It’s Lisa again. I just realized I should have also mentioned Brian Freeman. His novels are set in Duluth and feature the same detective, Jonathan Stride.

  7. Gary says

    Some of the Chuck Logan Novels have a setting near Grand Marais. One of the Main characters lives on the lake near there. All his novels are excellent.

  8. michele says

    I love the William Kent Krueger books and have read them all. I just finished his latest one that is recently out..His life goes through many changes. I am in the middle of Larry Millette’s Sherlock series and can’t put them down. I am lucky I didn’t discover them til they were all out and available at the library so I can read them right after each other. I swear they were written by Doyle himself except for knowing Holmes and Watson never visited Minnesota in his time.. Shadwell Rafferty an Irish character introduced in the second book is a good match for the quirky Holmes..many of the characters return in each book…I wish there were more written. I have always loved the Millett “Lost In The Twin Cities”….

  9. Barb says

    Thank you the list of authors. Always looking for something to read especially when the story takes place in MN. I have read all of the Sanford books and I am on the waiting list for his 2 new books. Also enjoy the Jane Lawless Series by Ellen Hart

  10. wanda says

    This is really scatter shot – like my mind lately.
    I have read some good mystery books that have title something like “One Eyed Jacks” and Walleyed Pike”
    Cannot find out the author. The main man is a somewhat burned out middle aged man named Jake – I think.
    I can’t get to the library to check this out and I would really like to connect with the books again

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Wanda, I’ll write an entry asking for help on locating your author and mysteries. It may not be too soon, but it will happen…

      • Mary Beth says

        The author Wanda is seeking is Elizabeth Gunn. Her series character is Jake Hines. Six Pound Walleye is one of the books, Five Card Stud is another, plus others.

  11. Betsy says

    How about Lillian Jackson Braun’s “Cat Who…” series. It takes place “400 miles north of everywhere” and mentions Minneapolis as the large airport they use. I can’t see anywhere else that might be that far north.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Betsy, I have always thought that if Lilian Jackson Braun had wanted us to know for sure, she would have included it in her mysteries. I know a lot of people think it’s Minnesota, but I’m sort of iffy about attributing her setting in any one particular state.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Marion, it’s funny how Lilian Jackson Braun left us all wondering about the state, isn’t it?

  12. Pegatha says

    You have forgotten the detective series by John Sanford, who has written many books featuring Lucas Davenport as a Minneapolis police detective. One of the best ones I read was set during the Repuplican Convention – actually held here in Minneapolis, “Wicked Prey”. There is a whole series of “Prey” books.
    FYI – Sanford, a pen name, was once a Pulitzer prize winning writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

  13. Laurie J says

    I am looking for an author of a book about a woman who lived on a houseboat in St. Paul, crime solving mystery setting. Cannot remember the author or title but enjoyed the book several years ago and seeking more by the author. Thanks for any help!

    • BB says

      The first that comes to mind is the Gunn Zoo series (Theodora “Teddy” Bentley) by Betty Webb, but that’s set in California.

      I did find another that could fit, but not cozy: Paris Murphy series by Theresa Monsour.

      If either of these are not it, do you recall anymore details?

  14. Suzy says

    I’m trying to help a friend track down a book but she doesn’t know the title or author. She said it’s a mystery novel set in Minnesota around a salvage yard. (She thinks the name of the salvage yard is in the title of the book) In her memory, a murder is involved and people are kidnapped into the back of a semi truck…but a lot of the action takes place around the salvage yard. She thinks it was set near Annandale, Minnesota.

    I’ve done some searching online but have not had any luck. Perhaps someone here might recognize it?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      (Suzy, I’ll post an entry asking for help in identifying this title/author.)

      • Danna - cozy mystery list says

        Judith, thank you for telling us about Jessie Chandler’s Bingo Barge Murder. I have added it to the list of the gambling and cards theme.

  15. Elise says

    I’ve been searching for a book I read in the early 90’s by a local Minneapolis author. It was his debut novel and set in Minneapolis. I vaguely remember the plot involved the detective uncovering a secret of a Hennepin County judge that was involved in a young male prostitution ring of sorts.
    I don’t remember the author or the name of the book. Any help would be appreciated!

  16. Robin says

    Love Brian Freeman series and his 8 books are set in Duluth. Can’t put them down. Brian Freeman is psychological mysteries.

  17. Teri says

    I am looking for a book I read where a woman inherits a family summer home in northern MN. Her mother is dying or died in Casa where they both live. The daughter plans to go there and sell the property but, becomes attached to the house and it’s history as well as the people in the town. I think she meets a love interest as well. It is a woman author.

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