What I'm Reading Wednesday: Cozy Mysteries

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

For this week's What I'm Reading I wanted to talk about a specific genre of books that I've been enjoying lately: cozy mysteries. In case you don't know what a cozy mystery is, it is a mystery that usually features an amateur sleuth, and the murder usually happens "off screen" -- that is to say it's not violent or graphic. For a longer explanation, read this article. If you've ever seen the show Murder, She Wrote, you have enjoyed a cozy mystery. 

While I have certainly read some cozy mysteries in the past, I have been reading a lot more of them lately because I joined the latest Litsy Markup Postal Book Club on my favorite app, Litsy. I have talked about Litsy a lot in the past, and if you haven't joined yet, you should! Although I have been part of Litsy for over three years now, I have only in the past several months become really active. In late spring, I saw information about a "Markup Postal Book Club"; in essence, participants group together in groups of four people, the group selects a theme for the books they will read, each member chooses four books to propose, and the other three members vote on which of the four will be that person's book. At the end of the month, the first person on the list passes their book to the second person, the second person to the third, and so on. As each person reads, she makes notes in the book based on her thoughts, ideas, or opinions. This goes on for four months so that each member reads every other member's book, and then you get your original book back. (Often, book club members will also send along other fun treats, gifts, and surprises.)  My book club started in July, and I have read three novels now. I will receive the fourth (and final) one at the beginning of October. I am already missing my book club, and it's not even over yet! My group decided to read cozy mysteries, so I have enjoyed three of them in the past couple months, plus one I found to read on my own. It's been a really fun study over the past few months, and I would recommend any of these books!

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron (BookshopAmazon
This book (which is the first in a series) features Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth. It will not surprise you to hear that this was my choice for the book club! Don't let the idea that it's written in "old" English deter you; it's actually a fun read. It got a little slow at times, but overall it was a really fun story, and I will definitely be reading more of the series. 

Still Knife Painting by Cheryl Hollon (BookshopAmazon
This was my August read and is also the first in a series. It features a protagonist named Miranda Trent and takes place in eastern Kentucky (not too far from where I'm from in West Virginia), so that's why I voted for this one. There were some things I thought became boringly repetitive, but I was hooked enough to want to know who did it, and I did not find the ending predictable.

A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley (BookshopAmazon
I really enjoyed this book, which was my September read. Like the others, it is part of a series and features two protagonists: a mystery writer named Camilla Graham and her apprentice Lena London. One of the best parts of this one was that there is a mystery within the mystery, and there will be, I assume, overlap into the next novel.  

Death Wears a Mask by Ashley Weaver (BookshopAmazon
Any book that includes the line "All other considerations aside, it would be quite embarrassing to be murdered" is definitely a book I know I'll enjoy! This book is the second in a series featuring a protagonist named Amory Ames. Accidentally, I read this one before the first, but I'll double back and read that one before I read the subsequent ones. You will especially like this book if you like historical fiction, as this series takes place in England in the 1930s. 

If you like a good mystery but don't really want to read books that are graphic or contain a lot of bad language or involved police procedure, cozy mysteries are definitely for you. 

And, incidentally, if you are feeling a lack of connection right now for whatever reason and really enjoy books, please consider joining Litsy. I have found a nice community of people there -- especially doing this postal book club -- that have made me feel less alone as we have been stuck at home and Joe has been traveling for work. 

If you read any of these books, let me know. I'd love to discuss! 

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