What I loved most about this is how much of an amateur Jules is. She doesn't already have stellar investigation skills. Perfect for Joanne Fluke or Diane Mott Davidson fans! - John
After discovering her husband in the arms of another woman, Sloan leaves the family business to work for a new brewery in town. Did I mention that every building in town looks like it belongs in the German mountains, and the town is known as Beervaria? When Sloan's ex is accused of murder, it's up to her to clear his name. I wasn't sure that beer brewing was something I cared about when I started Death on Tap, but the characters immediately sold me. It's just quirky enough, but not enough to be silly. Which is exactly what I love in my cozies. I love when they walk that line of whimsy. - John
Probably my favorite "first in series" cozy I've read in a while! As with most cozies, Lana Lee is recovering from a breakup, and finds herself back at her family's Chinese restaurant. When the owner of their shopping center is found dead, suspicion falls of Lana since she delivered the meal that killed him. Instead of a small town, Chien creates a great sense of community in the Plaza of shops, where gossip spreads quickly and everyone has their secrets. - John
The first in Randall's Lobster Shack series starts with a death at a televised Lobster Roll Contest. Was it murder, or just a case of food poisoning? Allie has just returned to the small town of Mystic Bay to nurse an injury, help her aunt run her newly opened restaurant, The Lazy Mermaid, and solve a murder. A great start to a new series, and this one wins points for having one of the best cozy titles ever. - John
After Delaney loses her job, she wants an adventure. She gives up her life in Kansas to move to Scotland and work in a bookstore. It doesn't take too long to find adventure. On her first day she learns her boss also deals in not quite legal artifacts. The whole series is full of endearing, quirky characters, and a lot of heart. And really, who doesn't love a good cozy set in a bookstore in Scotland? - John
A small-town bookseller in search of a rare Scottish text finds herself in epic danger in Paige Shelton's Of Books and Bagpipes: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery.
Delaney is settling into life in Edinburgh and the routine at The Cracked Spine when one of her new friends (a med school student), is murdered. Delaney realizes the crime has bizarre ties to the old Burke and Hare crimes. Once again Delaney finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation as she plays the role of bookseller and curator for the strange room of treasures at the bookstore. The cast of characters are what really make this series a winner. I just adore Delaney, her coworkers, and the family she's made for herself in Scotland. - John