Where to Start with Culinary Cozy Mystery Series…

On April 19, Lindsay P posted this comment:

“Hello Danna!! I stumbled upon your side from a google search I did on similar culinary mystery series to the Goldy Bear series by Diane Mott Davidson. I am quite the picky reader, and the books I read really need to keep me reeling for more. I read this series in three months, which is quite a feat for me! Now I need some help from you…..there seem to be many culinary theme mystery series and I do not know where to start. The librarian at my local library gave me two books; needless to say I have renewed both books twice. I just cannot seem to quite get into them like I did with Davidson’s series. So, here is the big question…..what culinary mystery series should I start with next?

I think I need to quickly clarify my form of “picky” when it comes to reading. My mind tends to wander if I do not have a book that keeps me wanting more. That is what Davidson’s Goldy Series did for me. I loved that her books were real and I could completely paint a picture of the story line in my head. Goldy’s life was real and not far fetched. Her stories are not dark or scary…..I am not one that likes gore. I hope that explains how I am “picky” when it comes to my reads.”

Between all of us here, we should be able to come up with some really good Cozy Mystery authors who write culinary themed mystery books. Here are some that MJ and I have come up with so far:

Ellery Adams (aka Jennifer Stanley, J. B. Stanley, & 1/2 of Lucy Arlington): Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery Series

Riley Adams (aka Elizabeth Craig & Elizabeth Spann Craig): Memphis Barbeque Mystery Series

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

Laura ChildsTea Shop Mystery Series AND Cackleberry Mystery Series

Cleo Coyle (aka Alice Kimberly): Coffee House Mystery Series

Diane Mott Davidson: Goldy Bear Mystery Series

Krista Davis: Domestic Diva Mystery Series

Joanne Fluke: Hannah Swensen Mystery Series

Katherine Hall Page: Faith Fairchild Mystery Series

J. B. Stanley: Supper Club Mystery Series

Livia J. Washburn: Fresh-Baked Mystery Series

Yesterday MJ submitted this really good comment, which is well-worth checking out.

Here are some more recommendations for people who are starting to read Culinary Cozy Mystery Series:

Ellery Adams (aka J. B. Stanley, Jennifer Stanley, & 1/2 Lucy Arlington): Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery Series

Jessica Beck: Donut Shop Mystery Series

Miranda Bliss (aka Kylie Logan & Casey Daniels): Cooking Class Mystery Series

Jacklyn Brady (aka Sherry Lewis): Piece of Cake Mystery Series

JoAnna Carl (Eve K. Sandstrom): Chocoholic Mystery Series

Bailey Cates (aka Cricket McRae): Magical Bakery Mystery Series (paranormal)

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

Ellen Crosby: Wine Country Mystery Series

Kerry Greenwood: Corinna Chapman Mystery Series

B. B. Haywood: Candy Holliday Mystery Series

Julie Hyzy: White House Chef Mystery Series

Karen MacInerney: Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series

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

Paige Shelton: Country Cooking School Mystery Series

Melinda Wells (aka Linda Palmer): Della Cooks Mystery Series

Here are some more of my CULINARY – COOKING THEMES:

Mysteries with Recipes AND Recipe Books by Mystery Authors

Cozy Mystery Authors with Culinary Themes: A – D

Cozy Mystery Authors with Culinary Themes: F – K

Cozy Mystery Authors with Culinary Themes: L – R

Cozy Mystery Authors with Culinary Themes: S – W Plus Some!

Cozy Mystery Authors with Culinary Themes: Even More!

If you have a Cozy Mystery author who writes a culinary theme mystery series who you think would be a great author for a novice Cozy Mystery Culinary theme lover, please post a comment. Thank you!


  1. Amy says

    I like the Gray Whale Inn series by Karen MacInerney, the wine country series by Ellen Crosby, and the author Melinda Wells. One of my MOST FAVORITE authors is Earlene Fowler. She is not a culinary mystery, but her stories remind me so much of Diane Mott Davidson in that the characters are so well written and real. Just my two cents :)

    • MJ says


      It looks like we are in sync as to the cozies we like. Earlene Fowler’s Benni Harper series is also one of my MOST favorites. Both Fowler’s and Crosby’s series have very complex characters that really make the stories intriguing. I really enjoy MacInerney’s Gray Whale Inn series. After a bit of a break she’s got a new one coming out in May. YEA! Did you read the book she self published and released last December, “Mother’s Day Out”? It’s a bit of a departure for her with offbeat characters, humorous situations, and plots that take several twists and turns. At first I had a hard time getting into it, but found it very interesting with a surprising finish. I hope she is able to continue with more books and develop this into a series.

  2. Ginny says

    Might try Jenn Mckinlay”s Cupcake Shop mysteries. So far I really like the characters and the attitudes.

  3. says

    I enjoyed the first book in the Charmed Pie Shoppe series by Ellery Adams, Pies and Prejudice. The second book, Peach Pies and Alibis is on my TBR list.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Sheila, I know a lot of people really enjoy recipes in their mysteries. I wonder how many people actually use them…

  4. Kimmie says

    I liked the “White House Chef Mystery Series” by Julie Hyzy and the “Donut Shop Mystery Series” by Jessica Beck. I just put a few from your list above on my TBR list. Thanks!!…..and Happy Reading!

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Kimmie, I’m glad you have found a few authors in the culinary Cozy Mystery theme that you think you will enjoy reading. That’s one of the things I love about these lists – with lots of people’s input. (Or should that be inputS?)

  5. ginger g. says

    Jessica Beck’ s donut shop, isis Crawford’ s caters series, Jacklyn Brady’s. Piece of cake series. That is all that I think of right now.

    • Alfred says

      Ginger I too am reading the books by Jessica Beck’s Donut Shop mysteries really like them a lot. By the way Ginger how is your reading coming along???

      • ginger g. says

        Hi Alfred very slowly right now. I have less than 20 days of school left and I am getting ready. I am 4 months behind on book buying but I am planning a big trip in the next 2 weeks. Alfred thanks for asking.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Thank you, Ginger G, I think this list is going to be great for new-bie Culinary Cozy Mystery readers.

  6. Susan* says

    I second Ellery Adams. I read my first one of hers recently. It was quite good.
    I highly recommend the ‘Corinna Chapman’ novels by Aussie author Kerry Greenwood. Corinna is a baker, who with her friends gets mixed up in all sorts of things.
    Try and start with the first one (Earthly Delights) or at least with one of the first three – they’re the best, imho.
    Do NOT start with No.5 (Forbidden Fruit) if you can help it. That is the exception to an excellent series in that it has a very nasty ending.
    I haven’t read, but have heard good reports of, Laura Childs’ ‘Cackleberry Club’ books and I do enjoy others of hers, icluding the ‘Teashop Mysteries’, if those count as culinary?

  7. Joan M says

    I love the Goldy mysteries too and there’s a new one coming out in August called The Whole Enchilada. I highly recommend Laura Childs’ Cackleberry Club ones, they’re wonderful. And Joanne Fluke’s Hanna Swenson mysteries are good as well.

  8. Kim says

    Love Jenn McKinlay’s Cupcake series and Ellery Adams Pie Shoppe series. Melinda Wells series is great too, however it doesn’t look like she’s writing any more of them :(

  9. Annette says

    I am reading Joanne Fluke Cinnamon Role murder, I really enjoy her books a lot they remind me of the early Diane Mott Davidson books. Well worth the read.

  10. says

    I enjoy the Cupcake series by Jenn McKinlay also. Im a big fan of Diane Mott Davidson’s series, and have been collecting them for awhile!
    Have you tried the Cooking Class Mystery series by Miranda Bliss? It was one of my first cozy series, and I really enjoyed them! =)

  11. Cindy M says

    I love Jenn McKinlay’s cupcake series. I have the newest and can’t wait to read it. I also enjoy Jacklyn Brady’s Piece of Cake series.

    Most of the others I have not read or tried reading and didn’t care for them. Just not to my personal tastes.

  12. AndieP says

    I am also a big fan of Joanne Fluke. Hannah Swensen is a very well-rounded, believable character and all the secondary characters are certainly well developed and fit into the stories which also have plenty of of fitting humor. None of the contrived funny bits that some authors stick into stories that do not advance the plot.
    I met Joanne a few years ago and she is as engaging in person as are her characters. We swapped recipes and I took her some of my “famous” bread and butter pickles and a batch of crystallized ginger.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      How neat was that, AndieP?!? I just recently discovered Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen mysteries, and I agree with what you are saying here. I’m not far into the series, but I find her characters to be “very well-rounded” with “plenty of fitting humor.” I am so glad Joanne Fluke kept appearing on the Monthly Cozy Mystery Books Recommendations lists.

  13. Patti S. says

    The Chocoholic mystery series by JoAnna Carl. These books take place in Michigan and it revolves around a candy store. These are very good stories. I also like the Tea Shop mysteries by Laura Childs. They get better with each book.

    • Alfred says

      Patti I usually don’t figure out who the killer is but in this series I was able to in one book the Chocolate Snowman Murders they made a point about a certain object in it and it was turned up at the murder scene so it was a no brainer who the killer was then.

  14. Susan* says

    Alfred, it looks like the last one only came out in December, and as she seems to average one a year, I’d say it’ll be a little while. :)

  15. Angela says

    Paige Shelton’s Country Cooking School series is a good one, but it does have a paranormal element, so be aware if you don’t care for that. She also writes the farmers market series which I have not tried yet but by most accounts is a good one. Also, the new series by Bailey Cates, also paranormal, but it’s a bakery themed series that so far I am enjoying. And I also recommend the cupcake bakery series by Mckinlay, they are a lot of fun!

  16. Danna - cozy mystery list says

    Thanks to all of you, we now have a really good list of people who are just starting to read Culinary Cozy mystery books. I’m going to post this Where to Start with Culinary Cozy Mystery Series on the theme page with the rest of the culinary theme mysteries.

    P. S. I was going to comment back to each of you, but found that I was saying pretty much the same, so:

    Thanks, again!

  17. Cathy H says

    Hi Danna, I don’t see Riley Adams listed. The series is called The Memphis BBQ Mystery. It takes place in Memphis at “Aunt Pat’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant” and includes recipes. I love reading about food and also trying the recipes.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Cathy H, I just added Riley Adams to the Culinary Cozy Mystery Series page, as well as Ellery Adams. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Marye Anne, I don’t know why it took me so long to finally start reading her Hannah Swensen Cookie Jar mystery books!

  18. Jackie says

    I love culinary cozy mysteries that have recipes in them. I am a nut for cookbooks. Although I do like several authors that don’t have recipes in them the ones I really love are the ones with recipes. Do you have a list of authors who add recipes to the books they write. I know of Dianne Mott Davidson and JoAnne Fluke but I would love a list of other authors who add recipes to their books.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Jackie, I don’t have a theme for culinary mystery books with recipes in them, but perhaps I should think about getting one together. I have gotten a few letters from people asking for the very same theme.

  19. Laurel says

    I first read Diane Mott Davidson and thought they were OK. But then I found Joanne Fluke and felt I became part of the town. Love her books. I also really enjoy reading Josi Kilpack. I can’t put them down and enjoy reading her books. Thanks for the list of other authors, it looks like I have a lot more reading to do.

    • Danna - cozy mystery list says

      Laurel, you’re right about having a lot more reading to do. There are lots of authors who write culinary Cozies to pick and choose from.

  20. "Jenny" says

    Although there are only eight in the series and it ended in 2003, I recommend Peter King’s Gourmet Detective mysteries. They are exceptional in that the recipes are also mysteries. The reader is given the ingredients, but has to figure out the proportions (as in “He threw in some ginger and mustard”). This is an extra twist and quite enjoyable.


  21. Andrea says

    Josie kilpack has a cute culinary mystery series. It was the first in this genre that I read. Her first book “lemon tart” was captivating, light and delicious. Is recommend it to first timers 100%. It has a domestic diva feel to it.

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