Cozy mysteries set in bookstores are perfect for those times when life is stranger than fiction. And whether you’re crazy for cozy mysteries or turning over a new leaf, this list is the perfect companion for any brilliant bibliophile. If you’ve been trying to decide between books, take a look at this list for some novel ideas.
Guidebook to Murder
It’s another breezy day in South Cove, California, and Jill Gardner is busy running Coffee, Books, and More, a shop for readers and caffeine fiends. But when her elderly friend Emily dies unexpectedly and leaves her with a house and a host of problems, she has to take a break from the perks of the daily grind. With trouble brewing in every corner of town, Jill strongly suspects her friend was murdered—and she’ll do anything to uncover the truth.
After agreeing to sell off the family bookstore and settle her dad’s debt, Charli Rae Warren is ready to leave her past behind for good. Hazel Rock, Texas is full of big hair and bigger rumors, and she’s ready to book it out of there. But when she finds her realtor dead in the store, strangled by a bedazzled belt, she realizes the town may be housing more secrets than she thought. Will her killer instincts be enough to find the culprit?
Double Booked for Death
When Darla Pettistone inherits her great aunt’s Brooklyn bookstore, she’s pretty confident she has everything covered. But when an author is murdered during a book signing and her great aunt’s sassy cat digs up a clue, it gives her pause. Darla isn’t sure she’ll be able to follow the whole trail of clues by herself—will Hamlet the cat be able to lend a paw?
College town bookstore owner Claire Malloy is expecting a bit of backlash when she throws a party to celebrate Professor of Passion, the latest sleazy story from her friend Mildred Twiller. But she’s shocked to discover just how cutthroat people are—after the party, Mildred is found dead with a scarf around her neck. Can Claire get to the bottom of this crime of passion—and find out who was so determined to oppose Mildred’s prose?
Related: Remembering Mystery Author Joan Hess, from Murder & Mayhem
Plotting at the PTA
Beth Kennedy: single mom, bookstore owner, and PTA queen. And, most recently, witness to the aftermath of a crime. When she finds that a regular customer has died from bee stings, Beth knows the out-of-season insects didn’t find the allergic Amy on the fly. Even with her other commitments, it’s up to Beth to figure out the buzz from the hive mind of her small town and track down the killer.
Death is Like a Box of Chocolates
For best friends Michelle and Erica, nothing could be sweeter than opening Chocolates and Chapters, a store offering tomes and treats. But when Michelle’s truffles poison a photographer, town tension heats up faster than a double boiler. Accusations are whipped at Michelle as she struggles with a battered reputation, trying not to melt from the pressure. Together, she and Erica look at the mixed up clues and try to box the killer in.
Well Read, Then Dead
Sassy and Bridgy are used to feeding customers in their bookstore café, but when a murder shocks the town, they might be biting off more than they can chew. When Sassy’s favorite customer goes missing, letting sympathy simmer isn’t an option. Between bites of buttermilk pie, Sassy and Bridgy plot to track down the mysterious killer.
Booked to Die
Disgraced homicide detective Cliff Janeway opens a bookstore to bind himself to something other than his off-duty search for a killer. But just when he’s starting to enjoy his new endeavor, first editions and dead bodies start showing up at the same time. Hot on the trail of a killer, Cliff can’t rest until he makes an arrest.
The Cracked Spine
Delaney Nichols is following a killer opportunity to work at a bookstore in Edinburgh, Scotland. From canine companions to aspiring actors, the shop’s regulars are quirky and relentlessly likeable. But when the boss’s sister is brutally murdered, someone’s ugly secret is bound to come out. Is there a kilted killer on the loose? It’s up to Delaney to find out.
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure
Penelope Thornton-McClure has heard the rumors: her bookstore is haunted. So when a bestselling author drops dead during a signing, she turns to a spirited specter to help her solve the mysterious murder. But is the fedora-wearing phantom a figment of her imagination? Or will the specter help her find suspects? Only time will tell.
Murder is Binding
When she moved to small-town New Hampshire to open a cookbook store, Tricia Miles wasn’t expecting to become a parboiled detective. But everything changes when she finds a local dead in her store. If Tricia doesn’t want to take the blame, she has some big fish to fry—one false move could render her guilty. If she’s successful, the killer’s goose is cooked, but otherwise it’s her reputation on the chopping block.