Top 10 Cozy Mysteries on Goodreads

Posted by Cybil on April 30, 2017

Mystery & Thriller Week is sponsored by the psychological page-turner Good Me Bad Me.

As we celebrate Mystery Week here on Goodreads, we wanted to highlight the cheerier side of murder. If you're new to cozy mysteries, allow us explain: Cozy mysteries are a subgenre of mystery that keep things light. Usually, they feature an amateur detective in a small town and a whole cast of pleasant, quirky characters…who also happen to be murder suspects.

We rounded up the top cozy mysteries on Goodreads by taking a look at which books have been added the most to our members' shelves. Bursting with baked goods (some poisonous), clever pets, and puns, these are the most popular "happy" murder mysteries.


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Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
by Joanne Fluke

Hannah's sweet life goes sour when a dead body turns up behind her bakery. (Bonus: This ongoing series features a recipe with every book!)



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Murder at the Vicarage
by Agatha Christie

You can't do cozy without Miss Marple. Christie's unforgettable amateur detective tackles her very first murder in the tiny English village of St. Mary Mead.



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The Cat Who Could Read Backwards
by Lilian Jackson Braun

Never send a man to do a cat's job. Disgraced reporter Jim Qwilleran teams up with an all-knowing cat named Koko to solve an art critic's murder.



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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
by Alexander McCall Smith

Travel to Africa with Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's premier detective, as she tracks down missing family members…without sacrificing time for tea.



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Catering to Nobody
by Diane Mott Davidson

Accused of adding poison to her menu, professional caterer Goldy tries her hand at sleuthing, determined to prove she only makes yummy, non-lethal meals.



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Shakespeare's Landlord
by Charlaine Harris

Leaving behind her own murky past, Lily moves to the sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, for a quiet, boring life. Then she witnesses a murder.



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The Quiche of Death
by M.C. Beaton

Meet Agatha, a cheater—but only when it comes to baking contests. When her store-bought entry comes laced with poison, Agatha becomes suspect number one.



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Louisiana Longshot
by Jana Deleon

A semi-retired CIA assassin (yes, really) lands in the middle of a bayou murder mystery when her dog digs up a human bone in her background.



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Her Royal Spyness
by Rhys Bowen

Historical mysteries can be cozy, too! In 1932, Lady Victoria, 34th in line to the throne, rethinks her priority list when a Frenchman turns up dead in her bathtub.



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On What Grounds
by Cleo Coyle

Love murder and coffee? Then follow along as coffeehouse manager Clare looks for barista Anabelle's killer. (Bonus: This book includes coffee-making tips!)





What's your favorite cozy mystery? Share it with us in the comments. And be sure to check out more of our Mystery & Thriller Week coverage here.

Good Me Bad Me

Comments Showing 1-50 of 52 (52 new)


message 1: by Barb (new)

Barb I've read and enjoyed all of these books but one -- and that one is in Mt. TBR :) If I had to choose just *one cozy series to name as a favorite, it would probably be the White House Chef series, by Julie Hyzy. The first book is State of the Onion.


message 2: by Robin (last edited May 01, 2017 05:23AM) (new)

Robin This list is certainly a mixed bag. It's hard for me to figure out how an Agatha Christie ends up on the same list as Joanne Fluke. While I love a good Golden Age mystery - most of which qualify as a cozy, I'm just not up for mysteries that must revolve around teashops, bakeries, coffeehouses, etc. MC Beaton and Rhys Bowen are great cozy authors - they take a premise/gimmick which plays a small part in the story, but go far beyond that premise in the story.

I've read all of the Diane Mott Davidson, and many of the Joanne Fluke and they are too constrained by their "gimmick." The Cat Who mysteries started out great, but about half-way through just became awful - the first three were the best and then the next maybe 10 and beyond that, don't bother.

I haven't read Charlaine Harris, Jana Deleon, or Cleo Coyle and I don't think I will. Just my preference.


message 3: by Kirsti (new)

Kirsti The Cat Who series introduced me to cozy mystery, so they are definitely my favorite. I've since found that although I adore themed cozy, they are better with animal sleuths but NOT talking animals. I love Laurie Cass, Miranda James and Laura Childs the most.


message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan Really enjoy the Sneaky Pie Brown series by Rita Mae Brown. Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter are so humorous. Hair, Fair and the rest of the community seem like family. Entertaining!


message 5: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I do love a good cozy.

Ashley Weaver's Amory Ames Mysteries is quite fun historical cozy. She's a socialite who sleuths with her husband. Death Wears a Mask & A Most Novel Revenge & Murder at the Brightwell.

Judith Flanders' Sam Clair books are also engaging. She's a book publisher who just keeps finding herself in the midst of murder. A Murder of Magpies, A Bed of Scorpions & A Cast of Vultures

And though there's only one so far, I really enjoyed Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon. The two ladies who sleuth are recent retiree friends who are travelling together. They reminded me of Rosemary & Thyme of the television series.


Anne’s Readinglist  Agatha Christie and Nr. 1 Ladiies Detective Agency are among my favorites.
On my list I am adding
The Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries by Anne Canadeo
The Kelly Flynn series by Maggie Sefton
Seaside Knitters mysteries by Sally Goldenbaum
Read other types of mystery books as well, but the tree I've added to my list are perfect with a cup of tea and a knitting project


message 7: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Watson Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew. It's strange to describe a murder mystery as charming but that is how I would describe this book.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Most of these are fun times. Cozies are good when the mood is right.


message 9: by Theresa (last edited May 01, 2017 12:45PM) (new)

Theresa I have to add Charlotte MacLeod - all but especially the two series - Peter Shandy starting with Rest You Merry and Sarah Kelling starting with The Family Vault All recently made available in digital by Open Road Media, if you have not discovered these, you need to!


message 10: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Robin wrote: "This list is certainly a mixed bag. It's hard for me to figure out how an Agatha Christie ends up on the same list as Joanne Fluke. While I love a good Golden Age mystery - most of which qualify as..."

Robin wrote: "This list is certainly a mixed bag. It's hard for me to figure out how an Agatha Christie ends up on the same list as Joanne Fluke. While I love a good Golden Age mystery - most of which qualify as..."

This certainly is a mixed bag and I wouldn't put Agatha Christie in with any of the other books. What exactly qualifies a book as a "cosy" anyway?


message 11: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Robin wrote: "This list is certainly a mixed bag. It's hard for me to figure out how an Agatha Christie ends up on the same list as Joanne Fluke. While I love a good Golden Age mystery - most of which qualify as..."
I've found that once an author catches on, they start adding other series and that is when the first series suffers. Suddenly they have too many deadlines to meet and the stories go flat. I got sick of the Laura Childs tea shop cozies when the they became thinly filled in outlines. Same for the Sneaky Pie Brown books. I got sick of Big Mim's Gucci shoes. I expect a certain amount of formula, but not noticeable. These days I'm still okay with Cleo Coyle, and the Kate Carlisle book binder series is good. (I bind books, so the day that gets short shrift, I'll be done.) I like the Bailey Cates bakery series, so far, and the Madelyn Alt books. But none of these compare to Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series (not cozy) or Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon or Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak. Of course the queen of them all is Sara Paretsky and V.I. Warshawski. None of these are remotely cozy, but they are well-written and imaginative.


message 12: by Theresa (new)

Theresa Cynthia wrote: " what exactly qualifies a book as cozy.."
Cozies have a specific definition,
"Cozy mysteries, also referred to as "cozies", are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community."

Agatha Christie basically invented the genre with Miss Marple (as diztinct from Poirot who is not cozy) and most craft or hobby or profession or similar setting are squarely in the cozy mystery world. This list is ridiculously diverse, including the very mediocre Joanne Fluke along with the grande dame Agatha Christie.

Remember the criteria was simply what cozy mysteries added most to GR member lists. Pretty weak criteria, me thinks. All the more reason to add in comments.


message 13: by Frances (new)

Frances The Shadow of the Wind should be here


message 14: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I am really enjoying the new series by Agatha Frost. Agatha Frost. Pancakes and Corpses (Peridale Cafe Mystery #1) by Agatha Frost


message 15: by Ruthann (new)

Ruthann Mccoy I've read most of these. If I have to put a favorite series- it's Donna Andrews ' Meg Lzngslow - no wait- Denise Swansens ' Srumble Rivet - it's so hard to pick one favorite. I have older ones that I love too. I am also now getting into new( to me) authors now. I just love cozyies. With or without recipes. Ruthann


message 16: by Judy (new)

Judy I love Earlene Fowler's Benni Harper mystery series. The only sad thing is that she has quit writing them.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Cynthia wrote: "This certainly is a mixed bag and I wouldn't put Agatha Christie in with any of the other books. What exactly qualifies a book as a "cosy" anyway? "

I think her Miss Marple qualifies as cozies. The rest and other detectives, no.


message 18: by Laura (new)

Laura Durham I agree with the addition of Donna Andrews' series. I adore The Shadow of the Wind but wouldn't call it cozy by any stretch of the definition. I enjoyed Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series but perhaps it's more historical than cozy. Sheila Connelly also writes a wonderful cozy!


message 19: by Martha (new)

Martha Reed Joyce Tremel's Pittsburgh Brewhouse series, and Annette Dashofy's Zoe Chambers set in rural (and imaginary) Vance Township are my two favorites.


message 20: by Bridget (new)

Bridget I can't believe Ann Charles didn't make this list. Her Deadwood series is THE best and her Jackrabbit Junction series is also very good.


message 21: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne I do love Agatha Christie and reread her but I also love and reread Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham and, yes, Sherlock. For plotting and writing you can't do better than the Golden Age.

Jill Paterson's Australian Fitzjohn series is a good modern cozy. As is Marty Wingate's UK series. Estelle Ryan's series is unique and well written, compelling. D.J. Donaldson's New Orleans forensic detective series is outstanding -- setting, characters, writing -- and he has finally done another. But read them in order. Cajun Nights was the first. E-books or used books are available and worth it if you love NOLA.

The La. Longshot series is VERY funny! (Esp if you like Stephanie Plum; these may be better.) And if you like it, you might also love the Texas "Bubba" series (C L Bevill), which is also hysterical! In both series it is the characters (and to lesser degree the settings) that snag your interest, rather than the plots.

If you like Joanna Fluke and Diane Mott Davison you will probably like Krista Davis's books, and Leslie Meier's, though no recipes. And try Renee Pawlish's Denver detective series.

Not sure I'd call all of these cozies, but each has its appeal, some better at characters and settings than plots. Easy reading. Fun.

PS I own books from each of these writers and in a few cases, like Donaldson and Allingham, entire series. (La Longshot series and Bubba series I have as ebooks.)


message 22: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Cynthia wrote: "Robin wrote: "This list is certainly a mixed bag. It's hard for me to figure out how an Agatha Christie ends up on the same list as Joanne Fluke. While I love a good Golden Age mystery - most of wh..."

A good cozy needs a good plot, with clues and red herrings, as well as good/great characters and setting. Call them Brains over Brawn. They'd never make good movies.


message 23: by Fran (new)

Fran Irwin One of my favorite cozy mysteries is "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency." Many sequels follow ...


message 24: by Fran (new)

Fran Irwin Kirsti wrote: "The Cat Who series introduced me to cozy mystery, so they are definitely my favorite. I've since found that although I adore themed cozy, they are better with animal sleuths but NOT talking animals..."
I LOVE the Cat Who mysteries (The Cat Who Saw Red probably is my favorite). I agree about the talking animals!!!!! Coco and YumYum do NOT talk (thank heavens!)


message 25: by Linda (new)

Linda Suzanne wrote: "I do love Agatha Christie and reread her but I also love and reread Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham and, yes, Sherlock. For plotting and writing you can't do better than the Golden Age.

Jill..."


Some of the series are a bit coy, but there is always an author like Louise Penny to read.
Barb wrote: "I've read and enjoyed all of these books but one -- and that one is in Mt. TBR :) If I had to choose just *one cozy series to name as a favorite, it would probably be the White House Chef series, b..."


message 26: by Sheila (in LA) (last edited Dec 15, 2017 09:55AM) (new)

Sheila (in LA) I like the Monica Ferris series revolving around a needlework shop in a small town in Minnesota. I think it's one of the best of the crafting cozies that I've read. The first book in the series is called Crewel World.


message 27: by Sandra (new)

Sandra BASIC I adore cozy mysteries, my No. 1 is Gillian Larkin!


message 28: by David (new)

David Kross A pretty "gentle" mystery series, set in Victorian England, is the Charles Lenox books by Charles Finch. I like to read these when I want only mild stimulation with characters whose company I enjoy. The word "cozy" works here IMO.


message 29: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Kimball I like cozy mysteries I have most of M.C, Beaton and Emily Brightwell Books every time a new book comes out I buy it


message 30: by Frances (last edited May 03, 2017 05:56PM) (new)

Frances also this tiny book called The Museum of Literary Souls by John Connolly


message 31: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Reynolds Spellerberg Cherringham A Cosy Crime Series by Matthew Costello and Neil Richardson!
Very good little stories!!


message 32: by Joanne (new)

Joanne Donna Ball & her dog series along with hummingbird house.


message 33: by CanBioRunr (last edited May 04, 2017 04:27AM) (new)

CanBioRunr Hands down Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache novels are the best cozies. Not only do they continue to get better as the series progresses, but I dont feel embarrassed recommending them to friends. They are really well written.
That being said, i do enjoy some of the craft based cozies. I am a huge quilter so there is nothing like an audiobook of some lighter fair such as Kate Carlisle, Krista Davis, Lorna Barrett, and Laura Childs while stitching a rainy day away.


message 34: by Kari (new)

Kari Susan wrote: "Really enjoy the Sneaky Pie Brown series by Rita Mae Brown. Mrs. Murphy, Tucker and Pewter are so humorous. Hair, Fair and the rest of the community seem like family. Entertaining!"

Agreed! Rita Mae Brown has kept up the interest.


message 35: by Andrea (new)

Andrea In addition to Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #1) by Rhys Bowen by Rhys Bowen, I also love her Molly Murphy series Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy Mysteries, #1) by Rhys Bowen


message 36: by Cheryl A (new)

Cheryl A CanBioRunr wrote: "Hands down Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache novels are the best cozies. Not only do they continue to get better as the series progresses, but I dont feel embarrassed recommending them to friends. T..."

IDK if I would put Louise Penny down as a cozy. In most definitions of a cozy, the main protagonist is an amateur detective (aka busy body!) rather than a member of a law enforcement agency or a private investigator. I'm surprised not to see Mary Dahiem on the list and Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple series. I also like the Sarah Graves Home Repair is Murder series - there is more substance to the series than the series title indicates. And Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series, which also pushes the cozy definition as the MC is a judge, but it has a lot of family ties in a small community, with the murder "off stage" - oops, a dead body!


message 37: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Until I joined goodreads...I had no idea what a "cozy mystery"was!!! I just love mysteries.


message 38: by Ingrid (new)

Ingrid British writers Ann Granger and Lesley Cookman


message 39: by Sumeet (new)

Sumeet Mahendra Cozy Mystery, sounds amazing.


message 40: by Jyoti (new)

Jyoti Catherine wrote: "Until I joined goodreads...I had no idea what a "cozy mystery"was!!! I just love mysteries."

hahaha..me too :D


message 41: by Verity (new)

Verity I really liked reading The Cat Who Could Read Backwards and the entire series The Cat Who... It features an journalist and two adorable Siamese cats Koko and Yum Yum.


message 42: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Martin I just read up the series by Laura Morrigan starting with Woof at the Door. She can talk to animals and trys to help them by finding out who killed or harmed their people.


message 43: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I'm not too fond of cozies, at least the stuff I've tried before. I love Christie, of course, but wouldn't put her in the same category as the contemporary authors all writing about culinary puns. She is the Queen of Mystery! One series I've been excited to try out was The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.


message 44: by Alice (new)

Alice Under an English Heaven recently won the blue ribbon for best British/Classic Cozy and the Grand Prize for best mystery in the Mystery and Mayhem Awards. It is the first in a series (next to come this year) and has received more than 400 reviews on Amazon.Under an English Heaven: An Ellie Kent Mystery


message 45: by Terrie (new)

Terrie I like some authors one doesn't seem to hear much about anymore such as E.X.Ferrars,&Anthony Gilbert, whose lawyer Arthur Crook was a great help to elderly ladies & spinsters,in sticky situations many times.Also,Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver ,& Doris Miles Disney's book,"The Day Miss Bessie Lewis Disappeared" is a riot.Georgette Heyer wrote a few cosy mysteries ,too.Dorothy Gilman's "A Nun In The Closet" was good.Also,Elizabeth Cadell's "The Fledging" is worth a read.And many others such as Hazel Holt,Emily Brightwell."So many books,so little time."


message 46: by Terrie (new)

Terrie It was a sad day when Heron Carvic no longer wrote the Miss Seeton cozy-mystery series.
And "The Bat" by Mary Roberts Rhinehart, is one of her best efforts,I think.


message 47: by Karen (new)

Karen Very surprised no one mentioned the Death on Demand series by Carolyn G. Hart! Absolutely one of my favorites - and I have so many. This one caught me immediately with the many references to the classic mysteries. Try it!


message 48: by Fran (new)

Fran Irwin Irishcailin wrote: "Very surprised no one mentioned the Death on Demand series by Carolyn G. Hart! Absolutely one of my favorites - and I have so many. This one caught me immediately with the many references to the cl..."
Oh, yes! I loved the early Death on Demand mysteries: A neighborhood bookstore, two cats (Agatha & Edgar?), a young protagonist and mysterious happenings ... what more could one want?


message 49: by Karen (new)

Karen Nothing! I have only read the first three or four, and I do so enjoy Laurel - :)


message 50: by Theresa (new)

Theresa We have neglected go mention Joan Hess and her Maggody series - funny quirky and ecc3ntric.


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