News is coming in right and left about the Knives Out sequel. Between the Netflix deal for a second and third movie, the casting of Janelle Monáe (almost too good to be true) and Kathryn Hahn, and production set to begin this summer in Greece, the sequel is gearing up to be something just as special as the original.
I’ll be honest: I have not traditionally been much of a mystery reader. I read Gone Girl during its heyday and have enjoyed a few others like The Guest List and the delightful Flavia de Luce children’s series, sure, but it’s not one of my go-to genres. Knives Out got me to thinking about funny murder mysteries, though, and I learned about the cozy mystery genre, and I realized there might be something to this that I had been missing. Then I found Arsenic and Adobo, the first book on this list, earlier this year and knew that to be true. There’s a whole world of funny and cozy murder mysteries I’d been missing.
These ten humorous murder mysteries like Knives Out aren’t the full extent of great funny mysteries out there, but if you’re a fan of the hit Rian Johnson film, they’re certainly a great place to start. These books are full of complicated and quirky families, both professional detectives and amateur sleuths trying to clear their — or their loved ones’ — names, and lots of hilarious antics. We may have a ways to wait for Knives Out 2, but these murder mysteries like Knives Out are here and ready for the reading.
Murder Mysteries Like Knives Out
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
A dead body at the Macapagal’s family restaurant is bad; the fact that it’s Lila’s ex-boyfriend, who she was seen arguing with moments before he fell face-forward into his plate, is a whole world of suspect. That’s certainly what the town’s new hotshot detective thinks, especially when he begins finding incriminating evidence planted in the restaurant and Lila’s work locker. Which could only mean one thing: the Macapagals are being set up. And there are plenty of people in town, from feuding restaurant owners to ex-friends, who might want to do them dirty. But with somebody out to frame her for murder, Lila will have to get to the bottom of the mystery fast or she might be the next body turning up.
The foodie aspect of this cozy murder-mystery provides so much flavor alongside the whodunit and howdunit of it all. Much like the setup in Knives Out, someone is trying to frame Lila for a murder she and her family definitely didn’t commit — but proving it was someone else is easier said than done.
Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
When a blind date gone horribly wrong ends with Meddy in a car wreck and a dead body on her hands, her mother’s first call is to the aunties. For this family of Chinese-Indonesian immigrants working in the wedding industry, family comes first. And if that means trying to figure out what to do with a dead body on an island resort during one of the biggest weddings they’ve ever worked? Well, that’s just what aunties are for. But with a dead body in a cooler and her ex-boyfriend revealed to be the owner of the hotel, Meddy’s not sure even her family is going to be able to get away with murder.
Less of a murder-mystery and more of a how-do-we-clean-up-this-murder mystery. The family dynamics in this are polar opposite to the scheming bunch in Knives Out, but that just makes me love it all the more. These women are ride or die for each other and I am here for every second of it.
A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette
Recently moved home to take over her family’s ice cream shop, Win is determined to return Crewse Creamery to its former glory. Which might be easier if construction delays hadn’t forced the grand opening to a snowy winter day. To make matters worse, Win stumbles across a dead body in the woods who turns out to be a grifter with a longstanding feud with the Crewse family. Now her father is the prime suspect and Win has to juggle a newly renovated business with clearing her father’s name. There’s nothing cold about this case, not if Win has anything to say about it.
May Day by Jess Lourey
This small-town murder mystery novel is full of quirky characters and age-old grudges. When Mira James moves to Battle Lake to start over from life in the Twin Cities, she is immediately offered a job as an assistant librarian and part-time reporter. It’s that kind of town. Then the guy she’s fallen for is found dead between the stacks, and Mira begins to realize her new small town is hiding a whole lot of dark secrets behind its idyllic exterior.
Getting Old Is Murder by Rita Lakin
Seventy-five-year-old Gladdy Gold and her gang of retiree friends are on the hunt for a killer. And its not just a cold-case at stake; someone is stalking them, and any one of them might be the next to go. When Selma Beller died, Gladdy and her neighbors never suspected murder. Not until another of their friends died in an eerily similar way. Now they’re on the hunt for a serial killer, determined to crack the case, even if the handsome young detective won’t give them the time of day. These old ladies are going to get to the bottom of these murders. After all, their lives depend on it.
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
Lana never expected to be back at the family restaurant, but after a bad breakup and quitting her job, there she is. She loves her family, but her mother is always trying to find her a husband and she’s just not ready for that yet. Then their property manager winds up dead after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee Noodle House. Now the whole restaurant is under investigation even though everybody there was well aware of Mr. Feng’s life-threatening shellfish allergy. With the local media out for blood and the gorgeous detective on the case showing up unexpectedly for take up, Lana has to get to the bottom of who was really behind Mr. Feng’s murder before her own number is up.
Mango, Mambo, and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes
Miriam Quinones-Smith is a food anthropologist turned cooking show star on a Spanish-language morning show, just trying to weather her toddler’s temper tantrums and her husband’s midlife crisis. After a socialite dies mid-bite and the morning show host collapses on air, the blame is pinned on a controversial Cuban herbalist, Dr. Fuentes. Until it turns out the socialite’s death was an overdose. Suddenly Miriam’s best friend Alma is being investigated as a drug dealer. With her husband stepping out with an ex-girlfriend and a handsome detective encouraging her to help clear Alma’s name, Miriam finds herself at the center of an investigation. But if there really is someone out there behind the death, then she might just be putting herself in the crosshairs of a murderer.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
The Thursday Murder Club takes place at a peaceful retirement village where four septuagenarians gather to discuss unsolved murders every week. When a local developer is brutally murdered, a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club has their first real-life case. But as the bodies begin to pile up, can this unusual group of crime-buffs solve the murder before its too late?
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
A struggling author is mistaken for a killer for hire in this wonderfully meta mystery. Between an ex-husband trying to win custody of her kids, her empty bank account, and the absolute nothing she has to show for the book deal she’s behind on, the last thing Finlay Donovan needs is more complication in her life. Then a woman overhears her discussing the plot of her next novel — a murder mystery romance — with her agent, and offers her $50,000 to make her husband disappear. She might be desperate enough for the money to consider it, but she never really would’ve gone through with it. Except then she accidentally does. Next thing you know, she’s hiding a dead body with her babysitter and trying to figure out if there’s any way out of this mess.
Grave Reservations by Cherie Priest (October 26, 2021, from Atria Books)
Leda Foley, struggling travel agent and inconsistent psychic, catches the attention of detective Grady Merritt after rebooking his flight at the last minute before the plane blows up mid-air. Maybe she could be the key to helping him solve a cold-case. Despite her unpredictable abilities, Leda agrees in the hopes that he might also be able to help her solve her fiancé’s unsolved murder. Her psychic skills weren’t up to the task at the time, but she’s been honing her abilities ever since. As Leda and Grady delve into the murders, they begin to realize that these two cases close to their hearts may have more in common than they ever expected.
Want even more murder mysteries like Knives Out? Check out these cozy mystery recs: