Mystery and romance are two genres that, in my opinion, pair perfectly together. Often when I’m looking for a novel in one of these genres, I look for mystery romance books that have elements of the other. To me, some of the best cozies are ones with a slow burn romance that plays over a series. And likewise, I always appreciate a romance novel that features a head-scratching mystery as part of its plot.
If you look for these elements in your favorite books, this list of the best mystery romance books is a great place to find your next read. Here, I’ve rounded up 15 of the best books that feature both strong mystery and romantic elements.
Some of the novels on this list are mystery novels with strong romantic subplots, while others are romance novels with mystery elements. Also included are novels with a mystery hook and romantic subplot that also include elements from other genres like fantasy. Never again will you have to ask yourself, “Should I read a mystery or a romance novel?” Unless, of course, the answer is, “A little of both.”
Once you’ve looked through these recommended mystery romance books, you can find more genre-bending mysteries through this guide to the best fantasy mysteries — a fun sub-genre with picks that range from cozy to suspenseful.
The Accidental Alchemist (Accidental Alchemist #1) by Gigi Pandian
After reluctant alchemist Zoe Faust moves to Portland, she is surprised to discover that a gargoyle named Dorian Robert-Houdin has followed her — and he needs her help deciphering an ancient text. When a murder occurs that appears to be linked to the text, she has no choice but to investigate. This fantasy mystery series features a romantic subplot that takes place over the course of several books.
A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady’s Guide #1) by Manda Collins
When the police supposedly arrest a killer targeting women in 19th century England, newspaper columnist Lady Katherine Bascomb has suspicions that they caught the wrong person. After witnessing a murder and crossing paths with Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham, she is determined to catch the real killer — even if it means reluctantly joining forces with Andrew.
Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies (Pies Before Guys #1) by Misha Popp
Daisy Ellery can bake magic into her pies, and she often uses it to deliver justice in her small town. But when a stranger blackmails her to use her magic for their own evil purposes, she must put a stop to her blackmailer before she or other innocent people are harmed. This darkly humorous culinary mystery includes a queer romantic subplot.
Dial A for Aunties (Aunties #1) by Jesse Q. Sutanto
When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she is shocked when her mother and aunties (who run a wedding business) are more than prepared to help her hide the body. But when a series of mishaps accidentally brings the body along with them to a destination wedding, Meddy must manage avoiding a murder charge while also navigating a second chance at love when she runs into her ex-boyfriend.
Hither, Page (Page & Sommers #1) by Cat Sebastian
World War II veteran and doctor Jamie Sommers longs for a quiet life. But when a murder shocks the countryside village where he lives, he joins forces with a mysterious stranger named Leo Page to catch the killer. As unexpected feelings arise between Sommers and Page, they must navigate their relationship to one another amidst the growing danger they put themselves in as they investigate the crime.
What Happens in Miami… (Miami Famous #2) by Nadine Gonzalez
Alessandro Cardenas is an actor investigating the culprit behind a series of art forgeries. For him, it’s very close to home: the forgeries are of his grandfather’s work. When he meets gallerist Angeline Louis, sparks fly in between the secrets that both are determined to keep.
Poisoned Primrose (Motts Cold Case Mystery #1) by Dahlia Donovan
After moving to a cottage in the English countryside, 40-year-old biromantic asexual Pineapple “Motts” Mottley’s peaceful life is thrown into chaos when she finds a dead body in her garden. As she finds herself drawn into the case, Motts tries her hand at amateur sleuthing while managing her business and growing close to local detective Teo Herceg.
A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas
When her sister and father become suspects in a series of murders, Charlotte Holmes uses her wits to solve the case under the name of Sherlock Holmes. Like the Accidental Alchemist series mentioned earlier, the romantic subplot in this series progresses over multiple novels.
Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall (Kobo Original)
Rather than a meet cute, the romantic subplot in this whodunit is between an already-married couple as they work through their differences and reignite the spark between them. When true crime podcaster Liza and her wife, Hanna, take a weekend trip to a hotel in the Scottish Highlands, the last thing she expects is for work to follow her there. But someone begins killing off the guests one by one, and Liza must use her investigative skills to catch the murderer.
Mimi Lee Gets a Clue (Sassy Cat Mysteries #1) by Jennifer J. Chow
After setting up a pet care shop in Hollywood, Mimi Lee’s dreams of running her own business take a horrifying turn when she is accused of murder. Together, with the help of her cute neighbor, Josh, and her dog, Marshmallow, she sets out to find the culprit.
In the Winter Woods by Isabelle Adler
Things could be going better for struggling mystery writer Declan Kensington but at least he’s not involved in a real-life investigation, right? Wrong. When he’s framed for murder on his Christmas vacation after a series of anonymous threats, he must catch the killer to clear his name with the help of local Public Safety Commissioner Curtis Monroe.
Proper English by KJ Charles
When champion shot Patricia Merton is invited to the Earl of Witton’s country house for a shooting party, she finds herself drawn to Fenella Carruth — who is unhappily engaged. As Pat and Fen grow closer, they are thrown into a murder investigation when a body is found in this queer historical romance.
A Deadly Inside Scoop (Ice Cream Parlor #1) by Abby Collette
After MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse returns home to run her family’s small town ice cream shop, she is thrilled to begin renovations. But a mishap-filled opening day becomes even worse when a dead body is found near the shop and Win’s father is accused of the crime. It’s up to Win to catch the real killer. The slow burn romance in this series builds up over several novels.
Love Sold Separately by Ellen MEister
After Dana Barry is picked to be the new host of The Shopping Channel, she is thrilled to finally land a job that matches her interests. But when the former host is found shot to death, Dana must balance investigating the murder with pursuing a chance at romance.
Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon
Being stuck on a vacation tour with his ex sounds like a nightmare to librarian Carter Matheson, but unfortunately, it is the reality he finds himself in. But when another tourist is found killed, Carter is compelled to solve the case along with his mysterious and handsome roommate for the trip, John Knight.
Looking for more mystery recs? Check out this list of the best sunshine noir novels or this list of wedding mysteries and thrillers. Be sure to brush up on the mystery sub-genres. For more genre mashups, try these genre-blending romances, mysteries and thrillers that blend genres, and of course our wish list of genre blends we need more of.