It’s hard to believe that we’re almost at the end of the year. I know that there have been a lot of ups and downs this year. I mean, if we’re being really honest with ourselves, this has been the trend for a long time. But I digress. The fact of the matter is that we’re slowly about to cross over the bridge from 2022 to 2023. That means that we’re about to be going through the gauntlet of holidays. Enter: Christmas cozy mysteries.
Holidays are one of those things that you can’t avoid, even if you don’t celebrate or participate. They are literally everywhere. From movies to books to drinks to food, almost everything you’re going to see has been “holiday-ized.”
In those situations, I tend to take a “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality. For me, this means that I consume more holiday related books. And I don’t just read ones that are considered pure holiday stories, like A Christmas Carol. In order for me to really enjoy a holiday novel, there either has to be romance or murder. Yes, I know there’s a lot to unpack with that statement. But I don’t have the time or word space to do it, so we’ll forge ahead.
I’m focusing on Christmas cozy mysteries for this list. There is something that is just extra special about solving the mystery, finding the killer and then going home to sit in front of the fire — preferably with a spiked warm beverage followed by watching A Muppet Christmas Carol, which is the superior adaptation.
As a heads up, most of the books listed here are ones that come later on in an established cozy mystery series. It’s very rare that a cozy mystery series starts at that time of year. So, no promises that other books in the series won’t be spoiled.
Seven Swans a’Shooting by Kyra Davis
In this holiday novella, Davi’s beloved sleuth Sophie finds herself being roped into helping her sister plan a Swan Lake themed flash mob proposal. When the prima ballerina ends up murdered and the extravagant diamond engagement ring goes missing, all eyes are on the sisters as prime suspects. They must team up to clear their names and avoid spending the holidays behind bars or worse: on a slab at the city morgue.
Santa Clawed by Rita Mae Brown
Harry and her husband Fair are, to say the least, shocked when the Christmas tree that they’ve chosen for the holiday season comes decorated with the dead body of a local curmudgeon. When the bodies of even more of the well-known men of their community began to pile up, Harry knows that it’s up to her and her trusty feline friends to solve the mystery and stop the murders before she is added to the body count.
Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delany
After her parade float is sabotaged, Merry, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, believes someone has placed her firmly on the naughty list. When a visiting reporter who is severely lacking in the Christmas spirit is found dead, a gingerbread cookie from her best friend’s bakery is the suspected murder weapon, she knows that there is a malevolent Scrooge in their midst. Determined to clear her friend’s name and prevent her from having a very un-merry little Christmas, Merry vows to crack the case.
Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala
When one of Lila’s wayward cousins comes home for the holidays, bragging of his recent purchase in a successful winery, she suspects that trouble will soon follow. These suspicions soon prove to be well-founded after he is named as the number one suspect in a murder. Soon, secrets about him and the winery start being spilled left and right, much to the distress of her family. She decides to put aside her annoyance with her cousin, if for no other reason but the sake of her beloved Tita Rosie, and find out who is really behind the crime.
Mistletoe Murder by Karen MacInerney
It’s Christmastime at the Buttercup Christmas Market and owner Lucy couldn’t be more thrilled. Between selling holidays gifts to meet-ups with her knitting circle, she has lots of ways to celebrate. When local citizen Randy is found dead with a knife in his back, the sheriff is convinced it was his wife. Lucy thinks there’s more to this and begins to investigate. As she does, she begins to discover that there was more to Randy’s life than anyone knew and that the suspect pool is much wider than she could have anticipated.
The Mousse Wonderful Time of Year by H.Y. Hanna
Tearoom owner Gemma is looking forward to having an actual white Christmas in Oxford with her loved ones. Those plans are derailed just a bit when they discover a body in the library at the manor they are staying at. Together with her trusted tabby cat and a group of friends affectionately known as the Old Biddies, Gemma vows to solve the case and still have time to sing carols by the fire.
Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle
Coffeehouse manager Clare is distraught when Alfred, the man who has been portraying Santa at the Village Blend for years, is brutally gunned down in an alley. Not believing that this was a random mugging, Clare strikes out on her own to solve the case of who did in her favorite Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. She will need to tread carefully, though, because anyone who is willing to kill Santa would have no trouble taking down a coffee shop owner.
Bookmarked for Murder by V.M. Burns
In the days following the holiday, Sam joins her Nana and some of her friends on a shopping trip in the city. On the bus ride back, one of their fellow passengers drops dead on the way back. The women quickly put their heads together to solve this mystery and seek justice for the elderly gentleman. This one may be splitting hairs just a bit, since it takes place after Christmas. But it’s close enough, so I’m counting it.
Bonus Chanukah Mystery:
The Latke in the Library & Other Mystery Stories for Chanukah by Libi Astaire
After suffering from yet another fall, former mystery writer Agatha’s well meaning nephew ignores her protests and places her in assisted living. On her first day there, she finds a body in the library. No one will believe her, though, and her newfound friends at the home who are too busy recalling their own brushes with dead bodies to give hers much consideration. This Chanukah themed collection of murder mysteries based on Agatha Christie novels would be a delightful addition to your TBR this holiday season.
This is just a sample of some of the Christmas cozy mysteries you can find out there to read this holiday season. I hope that you were able to find at least one new to you book to pick up. It will make for a great break from the chaos of the world. Until our paths cross again, happy reading and stay warm and hydrated!