Earlier this year, I put together a preview of the most anticipated cozy mysteries coming out from January to early-mid June 2023. While it’s hard to believe the year is already halfway over, the second half of 2023 holds just as many fun and escapist new cozy mysteries to enjoy.
Historical, paranormal, and contemporary fans will all find something to look for at their local library or bookstore as we look forward to what the second half of the year’s cozy mystery releases has in store. Read on to find 15 of the most anticipated cozy mysteries coming out during the second half of 2023, from Regency era romps to rom-cozies and more (and each one with a delightfully punny title)!
As a contributor who’s been tracking new cozy mysteries over the past few years, I’m also excited to share that my debut novel Board to Death is out August 22 from Kensington Books! It’s the first in a series starring Ben Rosencrantz, an introverted English professor who is framed for murder after returning home to run his dad’s board game shop in Salt Lake City, Utah. With the help of loyal pet chihuahua, a handsome florist next door, and an eccentric community of board game enthusiasts, he may just have a chance at clearing his name!
A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales (June 27)
I read an advance copy of A Most Agreeable Murder on NetGalley earlier this year and it is, without exaggerating, one of the funniest cozy mysteries I have ever read.
Beatrice Steele struggles to find a place where she belongs in her stuffy English village, and her fascination with true crime certainly isn’t helping. Until a bachelor drops dead at the autumnal ball and Beatrice’s expertise mixed with her natural eye for observation makes her the perfect person to catch the killer.
Misfortune Cookie (Noodle Shop Mystery #9) by Vivien Chien (June 27)
After becoming the manager of her family’s Ho-Lee Noodle House restaurant, Lana Lee travels to a restaurant convention in California with her sister Anna May. Thankfully, their Aunt Grace lives nearby and is happy to have them stay over.
But when a close friend of Aunt Grace dies and the police refuse to look into the case seriously, Lana takes the investigation into her own hands.
To Have and to Heist by Sara Desai (July 18)
This caper is perfect for those who love rom-cozies — books that blend cozy mystery and romcom tropes. Simi Chopra never expected to plan and execute a high-stakes necklace heist at a wedding. But to clear her friend’s name, she’ll do it. Even more surprising to Simi is her growing chemistry with Jack, a man with a mysterious past who agrees to help her with the heist.
A Fatal Groove (Record Shop #2) by Olivia Blacke (July 25)
After reopening their family’s vinyl record shop and adding a cafe with punny drink names, sisters Juni, Tansy, and Maggie Jessop have quickly made Sip & Spin Records a staple of their community.
Someone in their community, however, has it out for the Jessops. At the spring Bluebonnet Festival, Tansy is framed for murder when the mayor drops dead from poisoned coffee traced to their booth. If Juni and Maggie want to prove their sister’s innocence, they’ll have to put on their amateur sleuthing hats again.
A Shimmer of Red (Odessa Jones #3) by Valerie Wilson Wesley (July 25)
With her real estate business thriving and her catering gig taking off as well, Odessa Jones can’t help but feel that things are looking up. But the life of a psychic is never easy. Her new coworker Anna is soon killed in a hit-and-run, and Odessa’s powers alert her that it was premeditated murder. Determined to catch Anna’s killer, Odessa investigates — even if doing so makes her the next target.
The Body in the Back Garden (Crescent Cove #1) by Mark Waddell (August 22)
The first in a quozy (queer cozy) mystery series, The Body in the Back Garden stars investigative journalist Luke Tremblay as he unexpectedly inherits his great aunt’s home in a coastal Canadian town. His luck takes a turn, however, when he discovers a corpse in his new backyard.
Now he must use the skills he learned in his career to figure out who wanted to frame him for murder and why — all while pursuing a second chance at romance with an old friend.
Grave Expectations by Alice Bell (September 5)
Grave Expectations follows an unusual sleuthing team: a medium named Claire and the ghost of her best friend Sophie, who was murdered when they were teenagers. While holding a seance at an elderly woman’s birthday party at an English manor, Claire encounters a troubled spirit who seems to have been killed at the premises. With the help of Sophie and a handsome local named Sebastian, Claire investigates for herself.
Murder in an Italian Village (Bria Bartolucci #1) by Michael Falco (September 26)
Following the sudden death of her husband Carlo, Bria Bartolucci fulfills his dream of running a B&B in Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Here, she hopes that she and her son Marco can heal.
A dead body in her guest room is the last thing she expects or wants on opening day but, to her horror, that’s exactly what happens. Convincing the police of her innocence will mean finding out who wanted to frame her for the murder and why.
One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley (October 3)
Told between two timelines decades apart, this cozy mystery follows an elderly woman named Edie Green who is determined to uncover the truth behind a mystery haunting her since childhood. Although Edie suffers from memory issues, she’s certain she saw her best friend Lucy just as she looked the last time Edie saw her. The trouble is, Lucy disappeared in 1951.
A Frightfully Fatal Affair (Dinner Lady Detectives #4) by Hannah Hendy (October 5)
Married couple and amateur sleuths Margery and Clementine Butcher-Baker meet their match in a killer targeting the secondary school where they work. When a math teacher is found murdered shortly before the local harvest festival, the two must solve the case before their small English village descends into chaos.
Murder and Mamon (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen #4) by Mia P. Manansala (October 17)
Lila Macapagal’s favorite cafe regulars are the Calendar Crew, a group of women named April, Mae, and June who are also her godmothers. When they open a local laundromat, Lila is thrilled to attend their opening day celebration — even if not everyone in the community is thrilled by the new business.
To the Calendar Crew’s shock, a killer strikes at the grand opening and leaves an ominous message next to the body of Ninang April’s niece. Everyone knows the Calendar Crew loves to gossip. But it’s up to Lila to find out who hates them (or is hiding a dangerous enough secret) to kill someone over.
Murder by the Seashore (California Bookshop #1) by Samara Yew (October 17)
In this sunny escapist read for the cold autumn months, bookstore owner Scarlett Gardner rebuilds her life following a painful breakup in her coastal California town. When a new customer turns up dead and the authorities reveal she made Scarlett the heir to her will, Scarlett must investigate — not only to clear her name but in search of answers to her own family’s secrets.
Barbacoa, Bomba, and Betrayal (Caribbean Kitchen #3) by Raquel V. Reyes (November 7)
Food anthropologist and cooking TV show host Miriam Quiñones hopes that a trip to visit her parents in Punta Cana will offer a chance to relax. Unfortunately, danger follows this amateur sleuth on vacation. Between a telenovela star’s disappearance and the sinister gut feeling her best friend’s new boyfriend gives her, Miriam has plenty of strange occurrences to sort through if she wants to protect those she cares about from harm.
Sniffing Out Murder (Bailey the Bloodhound #1) by Kallie E. Benjamin (December 5)
Following the success of her children’s book series, Priscilla returns to her small Indiana hometown with her bloodhound Bailey (the inspiration for her stories). Her luck takes a turn for the worse, though, when Bailey discovers the dead body of Pris’s former high school bully Whitney.
Because the two had an argument days earlier, Pris becomes the prime suspect. Her only hope is using Bailey’s scent tracking skills to solve the crime herself.
Coconut Drop Dead (Spice Isle #3) by Olivia Matthews (December 26)
Running a bakery in Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean neighborhood was always Lyndsay Murray’s dream. So when Spice Isle Bakery is chosen as a vendor for the annual Caribbean American Heritage Festival, she’s thrilled that her family business is doing so well.
But the celebrations turn to horror when Camille, a reggae band singer and close friend of Lyndsay’s cousin Manny, is found dead at the festival. Manny’s certain that the police are wrong about ruling her death an accident. Lyndsay has a knack for solving crimes and, to bring her cousin closure, vows to catch the killer.
For more book recs, check out the Book Riot podcast Read or Dead, where Kendra Winchester and a special guest discuss all things exciting in the mystery and thriller genres.