Cozy Mysteries

I have a confession. A guilty pleasure. I have discovered cozy mysteries. As a teacher librarian I do not have a lot of time to read adult literature during the school year because I am inundated with children’s lit. It is not a problem because I like children’s lit and I enjoy bringing the material to my students. However, it would be great to read something a bit more mature during the year. Normally, I would grab some YA lit which is quick and easy but necessarily intended for grown ups! So when I found the Hannah Swensen Mystery Series by Joanne Fluke, I fell in love. That series is based on Hannah Swensen, her cookie shop (The Cookie Jar), her family, crazy friends and her propensity to discover dead bodies. What I really loved where the recipes! I plan to buy the cook book associated with the series! That led me to a couple of other food related series. I could relate to many of the Minnesota references as I once lived outside of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for a year. Freezing temperatures, hardiness of the natives, great baking recipes and the occasional dead body. What is not to love about that?

Cover of "Shades of Earl Grey: A Tea Shop...

Cover of Shades of Earl Grey: A Tea Shop Mystery

The funny thing I realized recently is that I had read some cozy mysteries in the past but had no clue it was a specific genre. I began reading the Laura Childs series, TEA SHOP

MYSTERY Series: Charleston Tea Room Owner. I LOVE teas and when I saw the book, Shades of Earl Grey in 2003 (I make note of this so you will know it came before the ‘other’ book of a similar title) I was hooked. I drink Earl Grey like babies drink milk! Fun information for the tea-aholic in me and recipes for the goodies made in the tea shop using tea in some of the recipes!

Another cozy series is The Lucy Stone Mystery series by Leslie Meier and the Trash N’ Treasures Mystery series by husband and wife team Barbara Allan (yes, they talk food too but I love the tips about antiquing). Perhaps I relate a bit because I can see the relationship between myself and my mother, who passed away a few short years ago, in these books. My mother was by no means as nuts as the mother in these stories but the general idea of how my mother could turn on a dime in the decision making process is in there!

I read a new cozy recently called, The Chocolate Cat Caper (A Chocoholic Mystery, #1) by Joana Carl. I am hooked, again, by the recipes and the characters. I can relate to the not-so-put-together heroine! I will be reading a few more of these when they become available for my Nook at my local public library!

Français : Église de Cranberry Isles

Français : Église de Cranberry Isles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have also started reading a cozy series based in the Cranberry Isles of Maine. Since I lived in Maine, not far from the Isles, and I camped on Mt. Desert Island (pronounced dessert by many locals – French ancestry here too)

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Mt Desert Island

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse Mt Desert Island (Photo credit: foroyar22)

every summer with my husband and daughter, I feel a connection to the area. When I read the stories I smile. The sweet memories The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries by Karen MacInernery brings to me are a joy.  The recipes don’t hurt either. I can relate to the heroine also as a southern transplant to the state of Maine I now miss a lot of the offerings found in my little town outside of Bangor. I miss the great trips to the coast and the colorful people I met while there. If there is a cook book out there I may have to get it as well.

You can tell I find kinship in the books I read for soft entertainment. If I cannot relate then I do not enjoy!

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Hannah Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke

I am hooked on these cozy mysteries. No gore, no heavy drama, just fun relationships and a murder thrown in for good measure!

Hannah is a small town girl – well, woman – who came home from college and opened The Cookie Jar. The Cookie Jar is a cafe style baked goods and coffee restaurant. She and her business partner, Lisa, bake scrumptious goodies all day long and the people of Lake Eden, Minnesota adore them. The cookies and the people.

Hannah is not your typical heroine. She is not petite and helpless, she is not gorgeous and blonde, she is above average; however, and she stands out in a crowd. Hannah is tall, she has unruly, curly, red hair, and she has a tendency to be a bit soft. She is not anorexic. She is curvy.

Hannah has a propensity for finding dead bodies and “snooping” around until she discovers the culprits behind them. She also has quite a few men in her life. The local lawman, the neighborly dentist, and a rescued cat named Moishe. Hannah is also surrounded by family. Her mother runs the local antiques store, her married younger sister is a “real estate professional,” and her youngest sister is still in college.

What I like is the quirky personality given to Hannah AND the fact that Fluke shares the recipes created and written about in the books. I plan to buy the cookbook as well. I want to create some and re-create some with gluten free substitutes. Can’t replace the sugar and butter!

Fun reads, not hard, no gut wrenching drama, just good old fashioned giggles and easy reading.