John's Cozy Corner

Halloween Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery) By Leslie Meier Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781496721587
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Published: Kensington - August 27th, 2019

My newest obsession is the Lucy Stone Series by Leslie Meier! Here's a quick review of the series!

The Lucy Stone series is my new obsession. I've devoured 20 of them in the last 9 months. Lucy Stone is a mom living in Tinker's Cove, Maine. Between dropping off the kids at school, serving on the library board, and (eventually) writing for the local paper she finds herself solving mysteries. A lot of cozies feature single women who have returned to their small town, but I love that Lucy is a mom and has deep ties to her community. You see her worrying about family finances, and since the series starts in the late 90s you also get to see her adapt to technology. 

These books are a little more serious than you would expect them to be based on the covers, but they're still on the cozy side. I would compare them to the Callahan Garrity books that Mary Kay Andrews wrote as Kathy Hogan Trocheck. 
  
Digging into a log running series can be daunting, but the books in the series stand on their own so you can jump in anywhere. You can pick a favorite holiday and start there. If you want to read the series in order I recommend starting with book 3, Trick or Treat Murder (which is included in Halloween Murder).  There are a few plot things in the first two books that might turn off some cozy readers, and I'm happy to chat with you about those, but you really can jump in with book three. - John 


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Haunted Homicide (A Haunted Mansion Mystery #1) By Lucy Ness Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781984806772
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Published: Berkley - September 29th, 2020

Avery Morgan is starting a new job at the Portage Path Women's Club. Her new boss Muriel is pretty terrible from the moment Avery walks into the mansion that houses the club, and it's no shock to anyone when Muriel is murdered. 

But a body isn't the most shocking thing Avery will find in the basement of the mansion. She also discovers a ghost from the days when the basement houses a speakeasy. Can the two of them solve the murder together? The relationship between Avery and Clemmie (the ghost) made me smile. I absolutely loved this one! 

Lucy Ness is a pseudonym for Kylie Logan and Casey Daniels. This series is perfect for Juliet Blackwell fans! - John 


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Death at High Tide: An Island Sisters Mystery (The Island Sisters #1) By Hannah Dennison Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250798121
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - May 25th, 2021

Evie's husband has died and left her almost penniless, but a mysterious note reveals that she may have inherited a hotel on a remote island off the coast of Cornwall. She and her sister decide to check it out, and it doesn't take long for a murder to rock the small community. I just love the way Hannah Dennison writes. Her Honeychurch Hall series was a favorite of mine, and I loved this one with its classic Golden Age mystery feel. - John


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Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody (A Jane Darrowfield Mystery #1) By Barbara Ross Cover Image
$7.99
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ISBN: 9781496724496
Published: Kensington - June 30th, 2020

Jane has earned a reputation within her bridge club for being a fixer. Need to break up with your hairdresser? Need someone to vet your online dates? Jane can help you out! Her first paying gig as a Professional Busybody is working undercover to discover the source of conflict at a retirement community.

From dining room cliques, food fights, and tensions over tee times she can't decide if the residents are 16 or 60. When pranks turn to murder it's up to Jane to figure out what is going on! If you just need a hearty laugh, Jane Darrowfield can help you out with that too! I loved it. - John


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Poppy Harmon Investigates (A Desert Flowers Mystery #1) By Lee Hollis Cover Image
$7.99
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ISBN: 9781496713896
Published: Kensington - November 26th, 2019

Poppy Harmon's husband died recently, and she quickly finds out that he gambled all of their savings away. Prior to marriage, Poppy was an actress. She was best known for playing the secretary on a hit PI show. In desperate need of  money she decides to get her own PI license and open an agency with the help of some friends. 

Fans of Nancy Martin's Blackbird Sisters books will EAT THIS UP. There's lot of humor, plenty of misunderstandings, and lovable characters. - John
 


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Live and Let Chai (Seaside Café Mysteries) By Bree Baker Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781492664758
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poisoned Pen Press - July 10th, 2018

Everly Swan has moved back to her home town of Charm, North Carolina with hopes of opening up her own iced tea shop and cafe. She's bought her dream house that will allow her to live  above her business, and things are off to a good start until a local man is found dead after patronizing her cafe. 

If you removed the magic from Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic, but kept the family legends (Swan women never leave Charm, and the men they fall in love with tend to meet a premature end), and set it in North Carolina you'd end up with Bree Baker's series. They're wonderfully charming, and Southern in a way that doesn't feel too trite or stereotypical. - John


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Death by Dumpling: A Noodle Shop Mystery By Vivien Chien Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250129154
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks - March 27th, 2018

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


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Artifact: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery By Gigi Pandian Cover Image
$15.95
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ISBN: 9781938383687
Published: Henery Press - August 6th, 2013

When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she's not the only one on the trail. Highly recommended by John!


And Then There Were Crumbs: A Cookie House Mystery By Eve Calder Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250312990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks - July 30th, 2019

And Then There Were Crumbs is the perfect blend of beach read and cozy mystery. Like all good cozies it's got a great cast of characters, and I loved the way the citizens of Coral Cay all worked together to solve the mystery. Calder has created a real sense of community in her book. Oliver, the dog, is adorable, and I'm looking forward to the 2nd book in the series. - John


Death in a Budapest Butterfly (A HUNGARIAN TEA HOUSE MYSTERY #1) By Julia Buckley Cover Image
$8.99
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ISBN: 9781984804822
Published: Berkley - July 30th, 2019

"Julia Buckley's delightful new series debut... includes three generations of strong, intelligent women, craving-inducing discussions of food, and a fascinating background of Hungarian culture along with a dandy mystery." - Miranda James 


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Meet Your Baker: A Bakeshop Mystery By Ellie Alexander Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781250054234
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks - December 30th, 2014

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 


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Death on Tap: A Mystery (A Sloan Krause Mystery #1) By Ellie Alexander Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250190703
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks - August 28th, 2018

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


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Curses, Boiled Again!: A Lobster Shack Mystery By Shari Randall Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250116703
Availability: Out of Print
Published: St. Martin's Paperbacks - January 30th, 2018

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


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The Cracked Spine: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery By Paige Shelton Cover Image
$10.99
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ISBN: 9781250118226
Published: Minotaur Books - February 7th, 2017

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