Cozy

2022 Left Coast Crime Awards (the Lefties)

Left Coast Crime 2022 will present four Lefty Awards at the rescheduled convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, April 9, 2022. Titles must have been published for the first time in the USA or Canada during 2021, in book or ebook format. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel
  °  Ellen Byron, Cajun Kiss of Death
  °  Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Cracks the Code
  °  Elle Cosimano, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
  °  Cynthia Kuhn, How To Book a Murder
  °  Raquel V. Reyes, Mango, Mambo, and Murder
  °  Wendall Thomas, Fogged Off

 

Lefty for Best Historical Mystery Novel
(Bruce Alexander Memorial) for books covering events before 1970
  °  Susanna Calkins, The Cry of the Hangman
  °  John Copenhaver, The Savage Kind
  °  Naomi Hirahara, Clark and Division
  °  Sujata Massey, The Bombay Prince
  °  Catriona McPherson, The Mirror Dance
  °  Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway

 

Lefty for Best Debut Mystery Novel
  °  Alexandra Andrews, Who Is Maud Dixon
  °  Marco Carocari, Blackout
  °  Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl
  °  Mia P. Manansala, Arsenic and Adobo
  °  Wanda M. Morris, All Her Little Secrets

 

Lefty for Best Mystery Novel
  °  Tracy Clark, Runner
  °  S.A. Cosby, Razorblade Tears
  °  Matt Coyle, Last Redemption
  °  William Kent Krueger, Lightning Strike
  °  P.J. Vernon, Bath Haus

 

 

2021 – Christmas Themed Mysteries and Romance

Christmas seems to be the most popular holiday theme for mysteries and fiction of all varieties. I discovered that there were hundreds from which to choose, with more written every year. Some writers focus entirely on Christmas in every book they publish.

 

If you are a fan of Christmas themed fiction, then this updated 2021 list of fifty-eight novels, novellas, and short stories is for you. The books were recommended by avid cozy booksellers and reviewers, as well as NBR and Kerrian’s Notebook subscribers. Click on the titles to find out more about the books, then snuggle up with a great Christmas read.

 

Susan Wittig Albert “The Darling Dahlias & the Poinsettia Puzzle

Gretchen Archer  “Double Deck the Halls

Donna Andrews “The Twelve Jays of Christmas

Mary Angela “Very Merry Murder”

Joy Avon “In Peppermint Peril”

 

Laurien Berenson “Here Comes Santa Paws

Susan Bernhardt “Murder Under the Tree

Brittany E. Brinegar “Holly Jolly Murder

Leslie Budewitz “As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles”

Ellen Byron “A Cajun Christmas Killing”

 

Lynn Cahoon “Have a Holly Haunted Christmas

Robyn Carr “A Virgin River Christmas

Nancy Coco “Have Yourself a Fudgy Little Christmas

Cate Conte “A Whisker of a Doubt

Maya Corrigan “Gingerdead Man

 

Kim Davis “Frosted Yuletide Murder

Maddie Day “Candy Slain Murder

Vicki Delany “Dying in a Winter Wonderland

Maria DiRico “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

Leighann Dobbs “Grievance in Gingerbread Alley

 

Barbara Early “Murder on the Toy Town Express”

Peggy Ehrhart “Silent Knit, Deadly Knit

Morris Fenris “Christmas Angel Charity

Beatrice Fishback “Winter Writerland

Amanda Flower “Candy Cane Crime

Joanne Fluke “Christmas Cupcake Murder

Jacqueline Frost “Slashing Through the Snow

 

Daryl Wood Gerber “Wreath between the Lines

John Gray “Manchester Christmas

Patrice Greenwood “As Red as Any Blood

 

Carolyn Haines “A Garland of Bones

Victoria Hamilton “Breaking the Mould”

Jo A Heistand “Shortbread and Dead

Julie Hennrikus “A Christmas Peril”

Liz Ireland “Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings

 

CeeCee James “The Frosty Taste of Scandal

Miranda James “Six Cats a Slayin”

Tina Kashian “Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder

Andrea Kress “Christmas Recipe for Murder

Laura Levine “Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge”

 

Debbie Macomber “Dear Santa

VL McBeath “A Christmas Murder

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Peggy Ehrhart  “Christmas Card Murder

Ada Moncrieff “Murder Most Festive

Nancy Naigle “Hope at Christmas

 

Carlene O’Connor “Murder at an Irish Christmas

Gail Oust: “The Twelve Dice of Christmas”

James Patterson, Maxine Paetro: “The 19th Christmas

Anne Perry “A Christmas Legacy

 

Amy M. Reade “The Worst Noel

Heather Redmond “A Christmas Carol Murder

Barbara Ross “Nogged Off

Rosemarie Ross “Christmas Candy Corpse

 

Karen Schaler “A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale

Julie Seedorf  “The Discombobulated Decipherers”

Jane Willan  “Abide with Me

Traci Wilton “Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past

Sherryl Woods: “Christmas at White Pines

Happy Choosing!

Book List: Jessica Estavao/Jessie Crockett/Jessica Ellicott

Jessica Estavao is a talented, bestselling, award-winning New England author with several entertaining mystery series to her credit. She is one of the “Wicked Authors,” a group of women writing wicked good mysteries mostly set in New England. Take a look at the list of her books below and see if you’ve read them all. (Click on the titles to learn more about the books)

 

Granite State Mysteries  (as Jessie Crockett)

Her debut mystery in the Granite State series, “Live Free or Die”, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery, an auspicious beginning to her career.

 

Sugar Grove Mysteries (as Jessie Crockett)

The series begins “Drizzled with Death,” one hilarious romp through championship pancake breakfasts, maple syrup, and animals on the loose. Who knew that falling dead head first into a stack of pancakes could be used as a crime scene setting?

Drizzled with Death” – review here

Maple Mayhem

Sticky Situation

 

 

Change of Fortune Mysteries (as Jessica Estavao)

Jessie moved her next series back in time to 1890’s Orchard Beach, Maine, with a con artist and tarot card reader protagonist. Ruby tries to stay one step ahead of the law, while helping her straight arrow aunt keep her hotel. Great fun featuring an innovative female lead character.

 

Whispers Beyond the Veil” 

review here     

 

 

Whispers of Warning

 

Beryl and Edwina Mysteries (as Jessica Ellicott)

Jessie’s current series is set in post WW1 England and introduces the former Finishing School duo of Edwina, the conservative English character, to Beryl’s adventurous American persona. They reunite many years later in the quiet (or is it?) southern English village of Warmsley Parva when Edwina advertises for a boarder and Beryl crashes onto her property.


Beryl and Edwina, while culturally and personally quite different, are fond of each other even after years apart. They find that their distinctive talents help them wonderfully well in their new business venture, a ‘private inquiry agency’ that solves mysteries in the charming village, while earning them an income.


Ellicott has written a series that is both historically enlightening and entertaining, with the sometimes serious subject matter of the day woven into the story of the two women drawn together by economics as well as friendship. Beautifully researched, the books reveal societal views about women 100 years ago, and peek inside the quaint village shops that have survived despite the post-war challenges.

Edwina’s shrewd intellect and Beryl’s clever approach to the mysteries outwit lesser minds and create a few comical moments to save the day and befuddle the clueless. These two engaging, intelligent women will capture your hearts and minds as you enjoy these wonderful books.

 

 

 

 

Murder in an English Village” 

review here

Murder Flies the Coop

Murder Cuts the Mustard

Murder Comes to Call

 

Murder in an English Glade

Murder through the English Post”  pre-order

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Book List: Author Liz Mugavero/Cate Conte

 

Liz Mugavero, a delightful New England writer that lives in Connecticut, has written three series, all three with animals as pals (and clue finders) for the lead characters. The first book in her first series, “Kneading to Die,” garnered her an Agatha nomination for Best First Mystery. It was clever, funny, and the beginning of one of the best cozy series out there, the Pawsatively Organic Mysteries. Who can forget the kibble on the body?  Lolol  Cate Conte, Mugavero’s alter ego, pens the second series, the Cat Café Mysteries, also a big hit with the fans. Click on the titles (and a few reviews) to find out more about the enjoyable, wonderfully written books. The third series, featuring a witch as the lead character, Full Moon Mysteries, has recently been launched and is getting happy, great reviews.

Click on the titles to learn more about the books.

As Liz Mugavero: 

Pawsatively Organic Mysteries:

Features Stan (Kristan) Connor, an Ex-Corporate PR Exec, & Nutty, her Maine Coon Cat. Among the fully fleshed out characters is a hunky bar owner boyfriend and his dog, making Stan’s life interesting as she navigates her new life in a small town and keeps finding bodies. Why the name for the series? Stan wants to open an organic animal treats business. Recipes included!

Kneading to Die” –   review here

A Biscuit, A Casket”   review  here

The Icing on the Corpse

Murder Most Finicky

Custom Baked Murder”    review here

Purring Around the Christmas Tree

Murder, She Meowed

 

As Cate Conte:   https://www.cateconte.com

The Cat Café Mysteries

Maddie James has a successful juice bar business on the west coast, but returns to her hometown of Daybreak Island off the coast of Massachusetts to take care of family matters. Maddie and a stray cat (based on one of Liz’ own cats) get caught up in murder! Maddie is a thoroughly enjoyable new character, with equally appealing love interests. The reason for the title of the series? Maddie is opening up a Cat Café, complete with cats for locals to adopt.

Cat About Town”  – review here

Purrder She Wrote

Tell Tail Heart

A Whisker of a Doubt

Claws for Alarm” is out now.


You can read Liz Mugavero’s Author Profile here.

 

Cate Conte’s first title in The Full Moon Mystery series is the entertaining “Witch Hunt.”.


The second title, “Witch Trial,” will be out at the end of December and can be pre-ordered now.

Happy Reading!  🙂 

*Many thanks to Liz/Cate for the photos and book art!  🙂

 

 

Halloween Mystery List – 2021

Halloween will be here before you know it and if you’d like to pick up a fun read with a seasonal theme, here are seventy-eight titles in our updated 2021 Halloween Mystery List. Some have been around for ages, but others have recently been published or re-published. There are dozens more books with a Halloween theme, so if your favorite is not on the list, please let us know the title and author in the comments.

Click on the bold titles to read more about the individual books.


Stacey Alabaster – The Pumpkin Killer
Susan Wittig Albert – Witches’ Bane
Ritter Ames and 8 others – Midnight Mysteries: Nine Cozy Tales
Gretchen Archer – Double Jinx


Laurien Berenson – Howloween Murder
Susan Bernhardt – The Ginseng Conspiracy
Morgana Best – The Halloween Time Spell
Bethany Blake – Dial Meow for Murder
Susan Boles – Death of a Wolfman
Ginger Bolton –Boston Scream Murder
Lilian Jackson Braun – Cat Who Talked to Ghosts
Christin Brecher – 15 Minutes of Flame
Allison Brook – Death Overdue
Rita Mae Brown – The Litter of the Law
Catherine Bruns – Dessert Is the Bomb
Mollie Cox Bryan – Scrapbook of the Dead
Anna Celeste Burke – All Hallows’ Eve Heist
Jessica Burton – Death Goes Shopping
Ellen Byron – Murder in the Bayou Boneyard


Nora Charles – Death with an Ocean View
Laura Childs – Frill Kill
Agatha Christie – The Hallowe’en Party
Susan Rogers Cooper – Not in My Backyard

E.J. Copperman – Night of the Living Deed
Maya Corrigan – Crypt Suzette

Kathy Cranston – Pumpkins are Murder

Isis Crawford – A Catered Costume Party

James J. Cudney – Haunted House Ghost


Kathi Daley – The Inn at Holiday Bay

Kim Davis – Cake Popped Off

Krista Davis – Murder Outside the Lines


Jana Deleon – Swamp Spook
Steve Demaree – Murder on Halloween
Carole Nelson Douglas – Cat with an Emerald Eye


Janet Evanovich – Plum Spooky
Sharon Farrow – Mulberry Mischief
Connie Feddersen – Dead in the Pumpkin Patch

Vickie Fee – It’s Your Party, Die If You Want To

Honora Finkelstein – The Lawyer Who Died Trying

‘Jessica Fletcher’ & Donald Bain – Trick or Treachery


Eva Gates – The Spook in the Stacks

Daryl Wood Gerber (aka Avery Aames) – Stirring the Plot

Sarah Graves – Nail Biter


Carolyn Haines – Hallowed Bones

Ellen Hart – Sweet Poison

Julia Henry – Digging Up the Remains

Lee Hollis – Death of a Wicked Witch

Carolyn Q. Hunter – Pumpkin Pie Waffle

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter – Murder on the Ghost Walk


Liz Ireland – Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide
Sybil Johnson – Designed for Haunting

Daniel Judson – The Violet Hour

Heather Justesen – Muffins & Murder


Jenny Kales – A Stew to A Kill

Andrew Klavan – The Animal Hour

Cynthia Kuhn – The Spirit in Question


Joyce & Jim Lavene – Ghastly Glass

James Lilley – Death Knocks Twice

Linda Lovely – Picked Off

Alice Loweecey The Clock Strikes Nun


Karen MacInerney – Deadly Brew

Ed McBain – Tricks: an 87th Precinct Mystery

Jenn McKinlay – Dark Chocolate Demise

G.A. McKevett – Poisoned Tarts

Leslie Meier – Wicked Witch Murder

Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, Barbara Ross – Halloween Party Murder
Alexis Morgan – Death by Jack-O-Lantern

Lynn Morrison – Stakes and Spells

Mandy Morton – Cat Among the Pumpkins

Liz Mugavero – A Biscuit, a Casket

Julie Mulhern – Send in the Clowns


Katie Penryn – The Witch Who Hated Halloween

Leigh Perry – The Skeleton Haunts a House

Summer Prescott & 7 others – A Very Cozy Halloween


Rachael Stapleton – Black Cats, Corpses and the Pumpkin Pantry

Rebecca Tope – Death in the Cotswolds

Diane Vallere – Masking for Trouble

Kirsten Weiss – Gourd to Death

 

If you’ve read any books in the Halloween Mystery List for 2021, please let us know what you thought.

Happy Spooky reading!

Book List: Julie Hennrikus

New England author, Julie Hennrikus, has been entertaining us with three quite different mystery series, written under three different names, for several years. In honor of her most recent book launch, “Wreathing Havoc,” here’s a list of all her books. Enjoy!

 

Click on the book titles to learn more about the books.

 

The Clock Shop Mystery Series by Julianne Holmes, features expert clockmaker Ruth Clagan who inherits the clock shop, Cog & Sprocket, from her Grandfather. The bells toll for more than one body in this lovely town of Orchard, Massachusetts, and Ruth must get herself in gear to outsmart the killers. The first book in the trilogy received an Agatha nomination for Best First Mystery. If you like clocks and/or are fascinated by the history and how they work, you’ll love this series.

 

 

 

Read the review for Agatha nominated “Just Killing Timehere.

                 

Clock and Dagger

Chime and Punishment

 

The Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus is actually the first series that Ms. Hennrikus worked on, but as happens with many writers, was not her first series published. She has been active in the arts field for a lot of her professional life and theater was a big part of that involvement. The drama of life in and around the stage are a focal point of this entertaining mystery series, featuring a diverse set of characters, and former cop, now theater manager, Edwina Sullivan.

 

 

Read my review of “A Christmas Perilhere.

 


With A Kiss I Die

 

The Garden Squad Mysteries, by Julia Henry, centers around a stealthy group of crime-solving, garden loving residents that fixes up neglected gardens and pathways. After dark. When nobody can see them or protest. Have digger, will weed. There are murders of course, but there are also great gardening tips, and (from the readers’ point of view) hilarious situations in which Henry places these midnight gardeners led by 65 year old Lilly Jayne. I wonder if I can hire them to take care of my neighbor’s scruffy looking sideyard….All kidding aside, the series is great.

Read my review of “Pruning the Deadhere.

Tilling the Truth

Digging up the Remains,” has a Halloween theme.

Wreathing Havoc” combines two of Hennrikus’ passions, gardening and the theater!

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

Book List: Author Barbara Ross

 

Author Barbara Ross’ Maine Clambake Mysteries series is thoroughly entertaining with terrific writing, an engaging cast of core characters, intriguing murders, and the Maine setting that is a personality in itself. It is no wonder that the series has been nominated so often for top mystery awards. Our own NBR readers chose “Clammed Up” as a Top Ten read for that year. I have tried several of the delicious recipes in the books and can report that they are tasty and easy to make.

 

Click on the titles and check out the books:

Maine Clambake Mysteries:

Clammed Up”   (review here)

Boiled Over

Musseled Out”  (review here)

Fogged Inn”     (review here)

Iced Under

Stowed Away”  (It won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. Truly an excellent read.)

Steamed Open” (review here)

Sealed Off

Shucked Apart

Muddled Through” (pre-order)


Jane Darrowfield Mysteries:

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody” (First in the series, review here, part of the ‘Four Books, Four Genres’ post)

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door” (shortlisted for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction)


Shorter Stories:

Nogged Off” – part of the Christmas collection, “Eggnog Murder

Logged On” – novella in the Christmas collection, “Yule Log Murder

“Hallowed Out” – novella in the Halloween collection, “Haunted House Murder

“Scared Off” – novella in “Halloween Party Murder


Stand Alone:

The Death of an Ambitious Woman


Buy them all and Enjoy!  🙂

 

 

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