Killing Me Softly

by Marie B.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of gritty mysteries.  I am often feverishly turning pages when I really ought to be sleeping – I have to know what happens next!  Sometimes, though, I want to kick the terror down a couple of notches with a kinder, gentler mystery.  That’s where cozy mysteries come in.

Why cozies?  I know the author will provide a satisfying puzzle in the mystery itself.  I also meet characters I want to know better, which is good news for this fan of series.  Bonus: I won’t be subjected to all the gory details at the crime scene.  Sure, someone dies, but the author presents the pertinent facts without the blood spatter.  Ahhh.

There are a plethora of series for fans of gentle mysteries, from the traditional classics of Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, and Rex Stout, to contemporary series such as Alexander McCall Smith’s exceedingly gentle No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency featuring a traditionally built private detective in Botswana.  Reader’s note:  To transport yourself to the world of Precious Ramotswe, I highly recommend enjoying at least one entry on audio.  The incomparable Lisette Lecat narrates them beautifully right down to the clicks.


Ready to start a cozy mystery marathon?

You have to start somewhere, eh?  M.C. Beaton has written over 60 reliably gentle mysteries, so let’s start with her.  Her first series features Hamish Macbeth, a Scottish constable inordinately satisfied with his laid-back life in a fictional village in the Highlands.  There are currently 33 entries in this series.  Beaton has another long-running series featuring bossy Agatha Raisin, a former advertising executive who can’t seem to settle into life in a genteel Cotswold village.  Though the two main characters of these series are vastly different, readers can rely on one thing:  Beaton delivers the corpses without graphic descriptions.

These are truly just the barest tip of the iceberg.  There are so many other wonderful options.  You can always ask us for help finding your next read at the library, in person or by phone at your local library, or online.

What are your favorite cozy mysteries?  Share them with us in the comments below.

In the meantime, check out these series featuring tried and true (and some brand-new) authors.

Killing Me Softly

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12 responses to “Killing Me Softly”

  1. I love the Cat Who books! Never underestimate a feline. I’m a cozy fan because that’s what I write. And of course, anything set in England is a draw. Although the Agatha Raisin books have been made into television programs, I continue to prefer the books. She can be gruffer there – a definitely a fish out of water.

    • Marie B. says:

      Hi, Marty! I love Agatha! I enjoy the books and the television series. Both are fun. As so often happens when making the jump from the page to the screen, the television series takes a bit of license with the characters. The result is still satisfactory for fans of Agatha’s exploits.

      • martywingate says:

        Yes – that book-to-TV leap can be quite shocking. The tone of the books between Hamish Macbeth on the page and on the screen is different. And recently, I chatted with a woman who is currently reading the Grantchester books. She has never seen the television program, but said she would soon start it. Yikes!

      • Marie B. says:

        I enjoy Grantchester. Robson Green, who plays Geordie Keating, is a favorite of mine from way back. His performances in Wire in the Blood and Touching Evil are incredible.

  2. Vickie Finn says:

    I have the whole collection of Lillian Brauns’ the cat who… wonderful reading.

    • Marie B. says:

      Hi, Vickie. I, too, have read the entire Cat Who catalog. They are reliably cozy, and I love Qwilleran, Koko and Yum Yum. And who wouldn’t want to live in a remodeled apple barn?

  3. Heather says:

    Jenn McKinlay is a new favorite of mine. I started with her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, then when I caught up with the series, I moved on to her Library Lover’s mysteries. The former has delicious recipes (and I’ve successfully tried two) and the latter checks out in regards to the depiction of working in a library (minus the mysterious deaths).

  4. Marie B. says:

    Check it out – Marty (who commented above) writes two charming cozy series herself!

  5. Brenda says:

    Not into the cat books, but I love Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Schultz series. What’s not to like about a mystery that also has recipes!!

    • Marie B. says:

      Agreed! The recipe I use for biscotti comes from one of her books. Once, when I wanted to make biscotti but couldn’t find my copy of the recipe, I reached out to Diane Mott Davidson via her Facebook page, and she replied right away with the recipe!

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