A cozy mystery is an excellent choice for travel (what fun to read while on a train!), rainy days, or evenings by the fireplace (in my case, fake). Most cozies are have been published as series; here are some favorites.
The Agatha Raisin Mysteries by M.C. Beaton: Fifty-something Agatha is rude, brash, insecure, decisive, single-minded, and quite intuitive when it comes to generating publicity and solving murders. The first book is The Quiche of Death or Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.
The Hamish Macbeth Series, also by M.C. Beaton: Another of Beaton’s imperfect heroes, Constable Macbeth is unambitious – some might say lazy – and likable. He solves crimes in spite of himself in a Scottish village while pining after his one true love. The first book is Death of a Gossip.
The Flavia de Luce Mysteries by Alan Bradley: Child prodigy Flavia is a chemistry whiz with a penchant for solving murders in her Post WWII English village which suffers an overabundance of death by poison. Listen to the audio version, which is narrated brilliantly and hilariously by Jayne Entwistle. The first book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny is remarkable in this list in that it’s still in production. The first book is Still Life and the most recent title, All the Devils are Here, was just released in September of 2020. The Chief Inspector solves murders in Quebec. Audiobook narration is well done, by two successive narrators.
The Amelia Peabody Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters: This intelligent, funny series takes place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The author, who passed in 2013, had a PhD in Egyptology, which means there are jumping-off points in these books for the reader to do their own research into some of the actual historical figures in the series. First book: The Crocodile on the Sandbank.
The Miss Marple books by Agatha Christie: Jane Marple, perhaps the most famous of all literary sleuths of the cozy persuasion, is a skilled knitter, loving aunt, helpful neighbor, and faithful church fete volunteer (maybe). The first book in the Miss Marple cycle is The Murder at the Vicarage. How British. Miss M. has been portrayed by many different actresses through the years in movies and TV.
There are several sub-genres under the cozy umbrella as well, such as culinary mysteries, paranormal mysteries, mysteries built around a retail shop or bed and breakfast, needle arts mysteries, or cozies in which a pet plays a central role or provides a theme. Stay tuned for more titles in these genres.