A Cozy Pundertaking: 8 of the Punniest Cozy Mystery Titles
Officially, the cozy mystery genre is known for three things: little-to-no graphic violence, sex, or language (though as Unusual Suspects newsletter writer Jamie Canaves noted in a recent article, these rules may be shifting). But the pun-filled titles are practically a fourth genre convention.
Next time you’re at your local library or bookstore, visit the cozy mystery section and appreciate the punny titles like Arsenic and Adobo and Six Feet Deep Dish. It’s not only a fun but effective part of the genre’s marketing. Right away, readers know that these mysteries are lighthearted in tone and have cleverly-written puzzles at the heart of their plots.
Read on to discover eight punny cozy mystery titles so puntastic they’ll make you chuckle or groan (in a good way). Curious when cozy mysteries titles began to be known for their wordplay? In the article Who Punned It?, Rioter Clare Barnett investigates the start of a decades-long trend. While their beginnings may be more recent than you think, puns have become a beloved part of the genre.
Plus, if you’re new to the genre, you can find the best cozy mystery series recommendations here — including several mentioned in this article, like Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mysteries and Abby Collette’s Ice Cream Parlor series.
Punny Cozy Mystery Titles
A GAME OF CONES (Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #2) BY ABBY COLLETTE
This cozy series is tons more enjoyable than that certain fantasy book with all the thrones in it, anyways. MBA grad Win Crewse returns home to renovate and run her family’s Crewse Creamery. In A Game of Cones, Win investigates the death of a big city developer who was determined to build a mall in her small Ohio town.
Another One Bites the Crust (Bakeshop Mystery #7) by Ellie Alexander
I think you know which song is stuck in my head after looking at this title, and I welcome it. A Queen reference is always a good thing. Bakery owner Jules Capshaw has a knack for two things: baking delicious food and solving crimes. When her friend Lance is framed for murder at the local Shakespeare Festival, it’s up to Jules to catch the real killer. Actors: always stirring up drama, am I right?
Paw and Order (Dog Club Mystery #4) by V.M. Burns
The pun and the dog on this cozy mystery cover are both perfect and immediately make me want to read more. In this installment of the Dog Club Mystery series, amateur sleuth Lilly Echosby fosters a dog named Rex (after the mystery writer Rex Stout) after its owner, local billionaire Archibald Lowry, is murdered at a fundraiser for the Eastern Tennessee Poodle Rescue.
On the bright side, her dog Aggie (short for Agatha Christie) seems to be getting along with Rex. But when an attempted dog-napping occurs, Lilly must investigate the murder to protect her community and her dogs.
Dim Sum of All Fears (Noodle Shop Mystery #2) by Vivien Chien
Culinary puns like this are part of the reason I love the cozy mystery genre so much. The Noodle Shop Mystery series stars Lana Lee who, after quitting her job and suffering a rough break-up, returns home to help run her family’s restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. Dim Sum of All Fears is the second book in the series, and in it, Lana investigates the sudden deaths of the couple who run the souvenir shop next door.
A Half-Baked Murder (Cannabis Cafe Mystery #1) by Emily George (February 2023)
Although this cozy mystery doesn’t come out until next year, I’m including it because the title is too good to ignore. When Chloe Barnes moves back to her California hometown, her eccentric Aunt Dawn convinces her to open a cannabis cafe. But as Chloe renovates her new shop and prepares her edible recipes for opening day, she is forced to investigate a murder when the police suspect Aunt Dawn of the crime.
Gone for Gouda (Cheese Shop Mystery #2) by Korina Moss
Cheesy puns are the grate-est! This culinary cozy mystery series follows Willa Bauer as she runs her cheese shop Curds & Whey in Sonoma Valley town Yarrow Glen. In Gone for Gouda, Willa must use her sleuthing skills to protect her employee Archie when he is falsely accused of killing a celebrity chef at the Yarrow Glen fall festival.
Against the Currant (Spice Isle Bakery #1) by Olivia Matthews (January 2023)
Like A Half-Baked Murder, this series starter with a punny title comes out early next year. Lyndsay Murray is thrilled to open Spice Isle Bakery with her family in the Little Caribbean neighborhood of Brooklyn. When competitive local bakery owner Claudio Fabrizi threatens to shut the bakery down, Lyndsay refuses to let his threats scare her.
But the next day, Claudio is found murdered and the police name Lyndsay their main suspect. To prove her innocence, Lyndsay investigates who wanted Claudio dead to uncover the real killer.
Death Perception (Psychic Eye Mystery #6) by Victoria Laurie
Get it? Because it’s part of the Psychic Eye Mystery series? In this installment, reluctant psychic and amateur sleuth Abby Cooper travels to Las Vegas when her cousin Chase is kidnapped. Her visions tell her that Chase is still alive, but finding him proves harder than expected — especially when she begins having nightmares that predict the death of her boyfriend Dutch.
For more recommendations to delight your inner sleuth, check out these 10 cozy mysteries that are sure to offer a gentle thrill.