One thing nice about cold weather is curling up with a good book next to a nice fire. I think it is fun at holiday time to find books with a Christmas theme, particularly cozy mysteries. If you haven’t heard that term, a cozy mystery is one without overt violence, no foul language, and the intimate scenes are left to the imagination.
The Christmas Cookie Killer by Livia Washburn is the third novel in the Fresh Baked Mystery series, but I read it first. This books can easily stand alone and can be read out of order without missing anything. I liked that the protagonist is a retired woman, someone with a bit of sense.
After Phyllis perfects her lime sugar cookies for a contest, and hosts a cookie exchange, she takes a plate to her neighbor. Unfortunately her neighbor has been strangled with her own bathrobe belt, and those lime sugar cookies are all around. Phyllis has to figure out what happened before she becomes either the prime suspect or the next victim. There are wonderful recipes in the back of the book for cookies and pies, along with savory dishes too.
Candy Cane Murder is a three-in-one book containing three cozy mysteries set in December all with Candy Cane in the title. Joanne Fluke leads off with Candy Cane Murder, one of her Hannah Swensen novels. Hannah follows the clues in a trail of candy canes to solve the murder of the local department store owner dressed as Santa Claus. There are yummy recipes in this novel too. Then the Dangers of Candy Canes by Laura Levine delves into the cutthroat world of Christmas home decorating wars when a man falls off his roof while installing huge candy cane and the roofing contractor is held for murder. Lastly, Candy Canes of Christmas Past by Leslie Meier has heroine Lucy Stone trying to solve a mystery twenty years past by unlocking the secret of a broken glass candy cane. All three novels are light, easy reading novels that you can finish in a weekend.
A little more involved plot wise is Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle. One of my favorite writers, these novels are centered around a coffee house owner and contain pages of coffee facts in each novel. Village Blend owner Clare Cosi isn’t convinced when part time Santa is murdered and the police think it is just a random mugging. With ex-husband Matt more interested in the lingerie than murder, and current boyfriend detective Mike on his own case, Clare has to find out who was on the naughty list. By the time she figures out the real story behind Santa’s list, it is up to her to finish it before it finishes her. This book is longer than most cozys, with a plot that is well written and paced, and just complex enough that it won’t be obvious.
Lastly, here my current book for this season. I just started it, but I am sure it will be as good as the other books in the Needlecraft Mystery series. Crewel Yule by Monica Ferris is a murder mystery set around a needlework convention and market with heroine Betsy Devonshire, a needlework shop owner. I can just imagine all the slow stitching kits that might be in her store! These books have needlework patterns in the back of the book, and this one has a crewel pattern Christmas tree with two stitches I haven’t used before – a ray stitch and a star stitch.
No, you aren’t seeing double with this pic! I sometimes buy books when I don’t have my list with me and I end up with two copies of a book by a favorite author. I had put this novel aside, saving it to read during the holiday season, then forgot about it. Have you ever done that?
Anyway, leave a comment on this post, and someone will receive my extra copy of Crewel Yule to read this holiday season with me. Drawing will be Sunday evening, December 13. Sorry, the book has been awarded.
What are you reading now? Do you like books set in the holiday season to read at holiday time?