Do you have friends and family who enjoy cozy mysteries, but you don’t know what to get them? Fear not! FangirlNation is here to help! Here is a handy gift guide listing ten series that are sure to delight anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries. To make this a gift that keeps on giving, this guide lists only series that are still being written. Most of the authors have other series as well as the ones included here.
One of the funniest series I have ever read, Donna Andrews’s “bird series,” containing a different type of bird in each title, features Meg Langslow and her kooky family. With a physician father who adores mysteries and unique medical cases, the gorier the better, and a socialite mother who happily takes control over everyone, Meg gets stuck organizing everything, from three weddings in one summer to an emu roundup and an Xtreme croquet tournament. This series is very creative and family-friendly, one that will delight people of all ages. It entertains me so much that I have listened to the ones available on audio close to a dozen times at least. The series so far consists of 20 books, 11 on audio, and I look forward to the release of many more in the future!
2. Book Retreat series by Ellery Adams
Imagine a retreat center devoted to the love of books, with a full time librarian who can always find something for even the strictest book hater to love, and books filling every public room of the center. Jane Steward serves as the manager of Storyton Hall, holding special themed events for readers, such as a mystery readers week, a romance novel weekend, and a convention for medieval herbalists. Each conference begins with a lot of fun, but something criminal creatively interferes with each one. A young widow with the most delightful twin 7-year-old boys, Jane finds romance with the mysterious Edwin, brother of her best friend. I consider Ellery Adams to be the best contemporary writer of cozy mysteries, especially with her gift of incorporating several genres into each book, in this case cozy mystery, romance, family drama, the journey of personal discovery, and touches of fantasy. This, Adams’s newest series, surpassed my already high expectations for the books, gripping me every moment and making me disappointed when each book concluded.
Olivia Limoges, an A-list socialite heiress to a fortune, has returned to her childhood town of Oyster Bay. With just one friend in the town besides Captain Haviland, her standard poodle who goes everywhere with her, Olivia lives a lonely existence until getting connected with the Bayside Book Writer’s Club, which teaches Olivia to live. Developing close friendships with the members, Olivia and her fellow writers solve several mysteries for the sake of people they care about. This series is remarkable for the way it blends the genres of mystery, romance, family drama, and the personal journey of the main character, who matures and develops dramatically over the course of the series. These books would be especially enjoyable to read and discuss in a book club. The eighth book will come out in May.
Fortune Redding, a top assassin for the CIA, has a price on her head by a top arms dealer and is forced to hide away in the town of Sinful, Louisiana, where the ancient sheriff has traded in his car for a horse, and Sundays involve a race between the ladies of the Baptist and Catholic churches to get banana pudding. In such a strange town, Fortune of course gets herself tangled with a pair of crazy women who effectively control the town with wild hijinks and who enlist Fortune in helping them solve crimes that arise in Sinful. This series is full of silly scenes that made me laugh so hard my husband complained I was shaking the bed while reading this book before going to sleep! I recommend this book for mystery lovers who particularly enjoy silliness and fun but don’t mind occasional bad language. At the moment, the Miss Fortune series contains eight books.
This is not your typical cat mystery series. Diesel, the 34-pound Maine coon cat, does not solve the mysteries or have a role beyond being the constant companion of librarian Charlie Harris. The seven books in this series, set in the town of Athena, Mississippi, involve literary topics related to the job of the archivist librarian who narrates the books. He deals with issues of plagiarism, impostor authors, embezzlement from the library, and of course always murder. The community of Athena comes to life, and the books give vivid portrayals of the racial and social class dynamics still found in the Deep South. They are a lot of fun and will especially delight any readers interested in the preservation of books and libraries.
Flavia de Luce, an 11-year-old chemistry prodigy, narrates this series set in 1949 England, each book’s focusing on a different aspect of life from the past not seen much today, such as puppetry and stamp collecting. Bradley brings this unique, precocious girl to life, despite the fact that Flavia does not seem at all realistic. The plot lines of these books contain many disparate threads that get tied together at the conclusion. Flavia uses her knowledge of chemistry to solve her mysteries, but she also deviously uses her science to play tricks on her bullying older sisters. This series is really delightful, not requiring an appreciation of chemistry to enjoy it, and so far contains nine books.
Annie Lawrence has inherited her uncle’s mystery bookstore, Death on Demand, on Broward’s Rock Island, North Carolina, where she has immersed herself in the society of the town. Along with Max Darling, an heir to a fortune who, in the first book, has followed Annie to Broward’s Rock to win her love, they sleuth out crimes throughout their state, along with some of the most unique characters in mystery fiction. I thoroughly enjoy the people Annie interacts with, such as Hennie, an avid mystery reader who assumes the personae of various fictional detectives; Emma, the hard-boiled author of more than 50 cozy mysteries; and especially Laurel, Max’s mother, who seems to come from another planet. The series has a lot of clever points and will entertain anyone. So far there are 25 books in this long-running series.
Beginning in 1922 England, this series follows the exploits of the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple, who was left without an inheritance when her father, the late Viscount Dalrymple, died without having updated his will after the death of his son during the Great War. Determined to make her own way in the world as a journalist, Daisy reports initially on the estates of the aristocracy for Town and Country and later on places to visit in England for American magazines. In the midst of her research, Daisy is always “falling over bodies” and gets to know Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, who gets assigned to any cases involving Daisy because his boss has a fear of Daisy’s meddling. The series has a fun flavor of 1920s England and the repercussions of the war, such as Daisy’s brother killed in action and her fiance, a conscientious objector ambulance driver blown up while driving the injured. The series also deals with issues of class, as it was scandalous for the daughter of a viscount to socialize with a middle class man, even if he was a high ranking Scotland Yard detective. The series consists of 22 books, with the 13th being released on audio this month. This series may especially appeal to fans of historical fiction and of Downton Abbey.
This series is creatively written from the perspectives of three different sisters. The older two start a detective agency, while the youngest sister, known for her controlling ways, is eager to worm her way in as a partner. The series is about so much more than just a mystery. It celebrates sisterhood and the great things that women can accomplish when they join forces to work together. In addition, I appreciate the way the books show middle aged women as the heroines rather than the young, sexy things who tend to star in many books featuring female detectives. This feminist series honors women of all types, while also showing the men who support these women in healthy ways. Because the books are narrated by each sister in turn, I highly recommend listening to the series with its excellent three readers. There are so far four books in the series.
Jordan Bingham gets a job working for the most hated woman in her town who wants help with her collection of valuable mystery novels. Each book features a different classic mystery author whose books are featured in the plot, but what makes this series especially delightful is the way Jordan channels the fictional detectives in trying to solve her mysteries. The series consists of five books, featuring Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Rex Stout, Ngaio Marsh, and Dashiell Hammett, with each book showing the flavor of each mystery author.