Mystery Books with Mothers as Sleuths (Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced)

Barbara recently asked:

… Does anyone know of another cozy series where the lead character is a woman (single, divorced, or married) with kids?… I was wondering if there was another cozy series where the “heroine” has children. Thanks for any input…

Here is a list of mystery books that feature Mothers as Sleuths. These moms are either single, married, widowed, or divorced. I have only listed the authors who can be found on the Cozy Mystery site…

Susan Wittig Albert: China Bayles Herbal Mystery Series

Laura Alden: PTA Mystery Series

Donna Andrews: Meg Langslow Mystery Series

C. C. Benison: Father Christmas Mystery Series (Tom Christmas is a widowed father.)

Kate Borden: Peggy Jean Turner Mystery Series

Dorothy Cannell: Ellie Haskell Mystery Series

Kaye George (aka Janet Cantrell): Imogene Duckworthy Mystery Series

Nora Charles (aka Noreen Wald): Kate Kennedy Mystery Series

Jill Churchill: Jane Jeffry Mystery Series

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

Deborah Crombie: Kincaid & James Mystery Series

Mary Daheim: Hillside Manor Bed & Breakfast Mystery Series

Diane Mott Davidson: Goldy Bear Mystery Series

Carola Dunn: Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Series

Nancy Fairbanks (aka Nancy Herndon): Culinary Food Writer Mystery Series

Sharon Fiffer: Jane Wheel Mystery Series

Yasmine Galenorn (aka India Ink): Chintz ‘n China Mystery Series

Sarah Graves: Home Repair is Homicide Mystery Series

Kerry Greenwood: Phryne Fisher Mystery Series

Terris McMahan Grimes: Theresa Galloway Mystery Series

Joan Hess: Claire Malloy Mystery Series

Lee Hollis: Hayley Powell Food & Cocktail Mystery Series

Jane Isenberg: Bel Barrett Mystery Series

J. A. Jance:Joanna Brady Mystery Series

Alice Kimberly (aka Cleo Coyle): Haunted Bookshop Mystery Series

Evan Marshall: Jane Stuart & Winky Mystery Series

Tamar Myers: Den of Antiquity Mystery Series

Diana Orgain: Maternal Instincts Mystery Series

Katherine Hall Page: Faith Fairchild Mystery Series

Sara Rosett: Mom Zone Mystery Series

Cindy Sample: Laurel McKay Mystery Series

Joanna Campbell Slan: Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-n-Craft Mystery Series

Sarah Stohmeyer: Hairdresser Mystery Series

Elaine Viets: Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper Mystery Series

If you can think of any other sleuths who are mothers of children still at home, please post a comment.

PS>>>> GOOD GRIEF!!!! How about my Stay-at-Home Moms Mystery Series?!?

You would think I could have remembered this theme!!! My excuse is that I wrote it in April of 2008>>> which clearly is not a valid excuse! But, in all fairness, this is not limited to Stay-at-Home Moms. For example, Kate Borden’s Peggy Jean Turner is the mayor of her town AND Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Bear runs a successful catering business. Claire Malloy (Joan Hess) is the owner of a book store. So for a more in-depth list of Mothers as Sleuths, you could incorporate both of these themes…

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


  1. Petie says

    Good morning! Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone cozies are great! She is married, has children at home, and her stories are wonderful.

  2. Danna - cozy mystery list says

    Thank you, Petie, Barbara, & Cat! I don’t know how I forgot to incorporate my Stay-at-Home Moms theme with this list! I just added it as a “PS” on the original entry. It was either that, or just take down this entry>>> since I hadn’t added all of those authors to this list.

  3. Laura says

    Danna: I’d like to add Emilie Richards’ “ministry is murder” series to your stay-at-home moms list. The first book in the series is titled, “Blessed Is the Busybody” and there are four more books in the series. (Do not confuse these with the romance books by the author!)

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Laura. I have just added Emilie Richard’s Ministry is Murder Mystery Series to the list of Stay-at-Home Moms as Sleuths theme.

  4. Jennifer says

    I enjoy this one:

    Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Series by Elaine Viets

    She also write the Dead End Job series that I like.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Jennifer. I just added Elaine Viets’ mystery to the Mothers as Sleuths theme.

  5. says

    While not in the least ‘cozy’, the Helene Tursten Swedish mysteries features Irene Huss who is happily married with teenage twins. And Deborah Crombie’s police procedurals feature a couple who are police detectives, each with a son.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Nan, for telling us about Irene Huss. Also, for reminding me about Deborah Crombie.

  6. Carrie says

    In the later Daisy Dalrymple books by Carola Dunn, Daisy has children.

    Also, in Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver books, Dandy has children. Although they don’t appear very often and are usually at boarding school while Dandy does her sleuthing.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Good grief, Carrie >>> Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple Mystery Series is one that I follow! (Shame on me for forgetting!)

      Also, thank you for telling us about Catriona McPherson… (Those boarding schools sure are a sleuth’s salvation, aren’t they?!?)

  7. Joyce A. says

    Faith Fairchild series by Katherine Hall Page
    Faith is married to a clergyman, runs a catering business, and raising children.

    P. T. A. series by Laura Alden (second book due out in July)
    Beth Kennedy is a recently divorced mother with two children who runs the Children’s Bookshelf bookstore and serves as the PTA secretary in Rynwood, Wisconsin.

    Haunted Bookshop series by Alice Kimberley (Alice Alfonsi &Marc Cerasini)
    Penelope Thornton-McClure is a bookshop owner who has one son, and is helped by a resident ghost.

    Haunted Guesthouse series by Jeffrey Cohen writing as E. J. Copperman:
    Alison Kerby is the owner of a guesthouse with two unexpected guests (ghosts) in her newly bought Jersey Shore Victorian.

    Maternal Instincts series by Diana Orgain
    Kate Connolly and new mother becomes a private investigator.

    Sara Rosett: Mom Zone mysteries
    Ellie Avery is an Air Force wife and a professional organizer who is raising two children and solving mysteries.

    Also, should we include Donna Andrews’ Meg Langslow series now that Meg is the mother of twins?

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Joyce A, for all of these additions to the Mystery Books with Mothers as the Sleuths theme. I have added all of them to the list. (And wonder what is happening to my memory!)

  8. Dianne says

    The Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series by E.J. Copperman features a newly divorced mother of a nine-year-old daughter. The two titles in the series are Night Of The Living Deed and An Uninvited Ghost. The mom runs a guesthouse on the Jersey Shore with two residing ghosts!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Dianne. (E. J. Copperman’s Night of the Living Deed is in my To Be Read pile of books.)

  9. says

    A new writer, Cindy Sample, has a delightful mystery set in Placerville, California, the heart of the gold country. She has two delightful children who weave through her humorous murder mystery. Her book is called Dying for A Date. Check it out on Amazon.

  10. Kat says

    Another working mom is Joanna Brady in JA Jance’s series set in Bizbee, Arizona. I know it might not be thought of as a cozy, but she’s listed on this website under the J’s.

  11. Susan says

    The ‘Aunt Dimity’ books by Nancy Atherton.
    Evan Marshall’s ‘Jane Stuart & Winky’ Mysteries. The first one is “Missing Marlene”, where the nanny goes missing…
    Maybe even Jane Isenberg’s ‘Bel Barrett’ mysteries. Bel’s kids are grown and gone, but she’s still in regular touch with them, and she still worries about them. (And they about her! Lol!)
    Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles qualifies, I think, at least for the later books – she lives with and then marries, a man with a young son.
    Sharon Fiffer’s Jane Wheel also has at least one child and Yasmine Galenorn’s Emerald O’Brien has two.
    Goodness, there’s a lot of mothers out there! (Anybody know of any dads?)

  12. Susan says

    Also, Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher adopts two girls in the third book of the series -Murder on the Ballarat Train. They feature prominently throughout the rest of the series. (Do adopted kids count?)

  13. Sheila says

    Tamar Myers Den of Antiquity series features a working mom and there’s Sarah Strohmeyer’s Bubbles Yablonsky and Mary Daheim’s Bed and Breakfast series. Jake Tiptree, by Sarah Graves(home repair is homicide), is a mom. Plus, if you include mom’s whose children have grown up and left home but get a mention, there’s Kate Kennedy, Nora Charles’ senior sleuth and Caroline Blue from Nancy Fairbanks series…

    There are a lot of sleuthing moms! I know a couple of dad’s but they are not really in the cosy genre and are usually police officers – JJ Marric wrote about Gideon of Scotland Yard, one of the main characters in Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct, Steve, is a father and Dick Francis sometimes makes his detective a father. Are there any cosy detective fathers?

  14. Danna - cozy mystery list says

    Thank you, ALL, who wrote in with suggestions. I just finished adding all of them to the Mothers as Sleuths theme list.

  15. Susan says

    Thanks Sheila – and Judith! I like Jeffrey Cohen, but I hadn’t come across that series. I’ll have to go a-hunting! :)

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      I wish there were more stay-at-home dad sleuths. I would love to have a theme up for them, but, Jeffrey Cohen’s Aaron Tucker is the only one I know about.

      Sheila, I think you’re right about the dad sleuths usually being police officers…

  16. Sheila says

    thanks Judith, the aaron tucker books look like a good, fun series and I’ve added them to my wanted list!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Dayna, you are so right. Dorothy Cannell’s Ellie Haskell does indeed have three children. I will add her to the list of mothers in mysteries…

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thanks, Julie, for telling us about Laura Alden. She is on my list of authors to post to the site. I’m glad to hear that you like her.

  17. Anita says


    I’m trying to find the name of a mystery series about a single mom that cleans the houses of her rich friends, but she’s in disguise. I keep thinking she drives a VW Beetle and meets a widower with a daughter and then she realizes they dated in high school.


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