Cozy Mysteries With Excellent Puns in the Title

Amanda Nelson

Staff Writer

Amanda Nelson is an Executive Director of Book Riot. She lives in Richmond, VA.

This post is sponsored by Killer Run by Lynn Cahoon.

killer-runJill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—has somehow been talked into sponsoring a 5k race along the beautiful California coast. The race is a fundraiser for the local preservation society—but not everyone is feeling so charitable.The day of the race, everyone hits the ground running until a local business owner stumbles over a very stationary body. The deceased is the vicious wife of the husband-and-wife team hired to promote the event—and the husband turns to Jill for help in clearing his name. But did he do it? Jill will have to be very careful, because this killer is ready to put her out of the running…forever!




There is a very special, very large part of my book heart reserved for cozy mysteries with pun-tastic titles. It’s probably located next to the part that’s obsessed with watching every episode of Murder, She Wrote, aka the Best Show of All Time, over and over. Who knows. Cozies are all-weather reading: easy-breezy enough for poolside, but also perfectly suited for fireside, and of course puns are the highest form of humor. THE HIGHEST. Let’s get reading:

feta attractionFeta Attraction by Susannah Hardy

Like romances, cozy mysteries come in several sub-genres that all have their own rules and tropes. The food sub-genre is one of my favorites, for obvious reasons. Feta Attraction is (appropriately) about the manager of a Greek restaurant owned by her husband’s family. Her husband goes missing and the owner of the restaurant that is her main competition shows up dead, so Georgie is tossed into the murder-solving, husband-finding business while also dealing with a cranky mother-in-law and a TV crew determined to film ghosts said to haunt the old building that houses her restaurant. The upstate New York setting is idyllic, Georgie is saucy (heh), and–bonus!– there are recipes at the end of the book.


a seamless murderA Seamless Murder by Melissa Bourbon

This one has a little dose of paranormal, magical-realism-type-stuff in addition to the, ya know, corpses. Harlow is a seamstress whose garments grant their wearers their deepest desires. Also, her grandmother haunts her house (we’re talkin’ literally here). When a customer in her small town turns up dead the day after Harlow has made her an apron, trouble ensues, as it usually does. This one comes with a heavy dose of small-town intrigue, and the ghosty angle is nifty.




23014654Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews

The latest in Andrews’ avian-themed Meg Langslow series, and it’s all about Halloween in Caerphilly, Virginia (Donna Andrews is from Yorktown, just up the road from my hometown, which obviously makes her superior to all other mystery authors because of…reasons)! The town is gearing up for killer (I AM NOT SORRY) Halloween celebrations with decorations and haunted houses when arson and a real live (well, dead) body put a damper on the whole affair. Meg must solve the case and save the celebration. Halloween in a small town and Tolkien jokes? Yes, please.


caught read-handedCaught Read-Handed
 by Terrie Farley Moran

This is the second in a series (the first came out last August) about the owners of a Florida bookshop/café called Read ‘Em and Eat. If you’re looking for a cozy featuring a quirky cast of characters the likes of which you’d find in a small-town library or bookstore, this is the one for you! Though, of course, one of them is murdered so don’t go assigning your neighbors to the characters here too fast.




a high end finishA High-End Finish by Kate Carlisle

Our amateur sleuth here is a woman named Shannon who also happens to be a damn good contractor! This one is full of interesting gender issues: Shannon goes on a blind date with a very handsy (in a way that certainly is not welcome) fellow who is later found dead in a house she’s been hired to fix up. Shannon becomes suspect number one because of the vocal way she defends herself from his advances. Now she’s off to clear her name and survive another day.


Let me know in the comments: what are your favorite punny cozy mysteries?