With August winding down and September nipping at our tan-lined or not so tan lined bottoms, many Americans are looking to get in their summer must-reads, as they rush to the beach, lake, mountain, shore or any cool climate to beat the blistering heat.
As an avid reader with a passion for cozy mysteries, I’d like to list my top 9 cozy must reads for summer:
1, All the Pretty Hearses – Mary Daheim (Bed and Breakfast)
First allow me to introduce myself, my name is Diane and I’m a cover tart – there, that was easy. The Harper Collins art department out did themselves with this sensational cover. Daheim’s All the Pretty Hearses is one of my all-time favorite cozy covers and the best Bed and Breakfast cover in the series’ 26th (so far) history of murderous capers.
Judith and the gang are back and Judith donates an overnight stay at Hillside Manor for the parish school’s annual auction. Gertrude is up to her usual hilarious hijinks, so readers will be holding their sides from the ache Daheim delivers effortlessly. I have two words for Renie’s madcap adventures – Shrimp Dump. Just be careful when ingesting anything while reading it.
2. Pampered to Death – Laura Levine (A Jaine Austen Mystery)
Levine can write “La La Di Da Le” or some gibberish and I’d be the first to read it, even if she wrote “Diane you’re cocoa nuts” on a roll of Charmin, I’d be one of the first to grab it because Levine is just that good. Comedic writing is what she knows best and it flows without a hiccup from her brilliant brain to the page. In Jaine’s 10th outing , Lance, the series’ breakout star – excluding Prozac – treats Jaine to a uber lush spa on the California coast and from there it is nothing but rollicking laughs, tears spilling of the soul tickles and moments you wonder if you should drink another glass of anything for fear of losing control. Pampered to Death has now knocked off my all-time favorite Levine novel, Killer Blonde as my favorite Jaine Austen book.
3. Murder by Mocha – Cleo Coyle (Coffee House Mystery)
I must disclose that Coyle’s Coffeehouse series is my decadent guilty pleasure, and I lose myself every single time I nestle in to devour it… sometimes quickly…sometimes slowly. Coyles’s 10th volume has all the wicked goodness a robust read contains- love potions in the form of an herbal aphrodisiac and the spot on trend of online women’s communities. It doesn’t matter how many Coffeehouse series the talented Coyle’s have penned, there isn’t a stale one in the bunch.
4. Pumped Up for Murder – Elaine Viets (A Dead-End Job Mystery)
Viets’ protagonist Helen Hawthorne is a character not to miss and is a real down to earth chick who just stumbles over a few bodies while out in the work place – let’s face it, in today’s economy the job market is a real killer. Helen’s dead-end employ happens to be at an exercise facility, aptly named, Fantastic Fitness, and she’s got to flex her muscles to achieve a hard body or keel over from rigor mortis – either way, she’ll have a hard bod.
5. Bitter Harvest – Sheila Connolly ( An Orchard Mystery)
The cover is absolutely inviting and it just pulls me in. Once again, Connolly’s female sleuth, Meg, is up to her core in this installment . Meg’s adventures and inquisitive mind lands her in the mix of things and this outing is the best of the Connolly’s crop.
6. A Killer Column – Casey Mayes (A Mystery by the Numbers)
Mayes’ sophomore release is a welcome addition this summer and Savannah is in a quandary that is rather puzzling and once again, murder is on the agenda, but this time Savannah is the police’s number one suspect. A cozy must!
7. Die Buying – Laura Di Silverio ( A Mall Cop Mystery)
The cover is absolutely stunning (it’s official, I am a cover trollop)! Emma – Joy (EJ) is not just a “mall cop” because she couldn’t make it as a real cop in Virginia, she is an American hero, who was injured serving and protecting in the military. Di Silverio has a hit on her hands with this debut series. It is charming, fun and refreshing. In fact, the entire premise is original and refreshing. I just hope we don’t see a crop of mall cop cozies sprinkle up and saturate the genre because Di Silverio has this fascinating theme covered.
8. Dire Threads – Janet Bolin (A Threadville Mystery)
Bolin’s debut reads like a seasoned series entry rather than a series introduction. Bolin delivered the newest crafting mystery solidly and with enough red herrings to mark this as a series to auto-buy. Bolin is a breakout star and Willow a much needed shot in the arm where female amateur sleuths are concerned.
9. A Parfait Murder: A Mystery A La Mode – Wendy Lyn Watson
Watson’s yummy series is not only cool, but fun! Tally returns for some more delicious adventures and the County fair is a setting not over done and tossed in to confuse the reader with many players becoming suspects. Watson’s latest is a tightly plotted read and a keeper!