TTT: My Top Ten TBR Cosy Mysteries

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, created by The Broke and Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is set to be “Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them”, but I’ll do it a bit differently. I have this idea that I want to read more cosy mysteries – the idea of cosy mysteries just appeal to me. This means, instead of focusing on what book I loved that made me want more of these types of books, I will be focusing on cosy mysteries. I feel like I’d love cosy mysteries, however, I get the impression that they aren’t too diverse? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but the majority of books in this genre I’ve come across have had a white straight woman as a main character with a white straight man as a love interest. Of course, these books have an audience and the few I’ve read have been enjoyable, but I am neither white nor quite that straight. I’m not saying I only want to read a cosy mystery with a queer BIPOC main character, I’d just love some more diversity. With this in mind, my mission this week is to find cosy mysteries with either queer or BIPOC main characters. If I can get a sprinkle of magic or the supernatural, I’d be so happy.

This list isn’t sorted in how much I want to read these books, but rather in which order I found them.

1. Death by Dumpling
Series: Noodle Shop Mystery #1
Author: Vivien Chen

Goodreads Summary:
Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

What caught my eye?
The name and the cover. I need more dumplings in my life.

2. A Deadly Inside Scoop
Series: Ice Cream Parlor Mystery #1
Author: Abby Collette

Goodread Summary:
This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop–with a fabulous cast of quirky characters. Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors–many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away. To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown . . .

What caught my eye?
That cover art tho.

3. Blanche on the Lam
Series: Blanche White #1
Author: Barbara Neely

Goodreads Summary:
Barbara Neely’s Smart, Sassy and Groundbreaking Crime Novel
Blanche White is a plump, feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when an employer stiffs her, and her checks bounce, she goes on the lam, hiding out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home. That plan goes awry when there’s a murder and Blanche becomes the prime suspect. So she’s forced to use her savvy, her sharp wit, and her old-girl network of domestic workers to discover the truth and save her own skin. Along the way, she lays bare the quirks of southern society with humor, irony, and a biting commentary that makes her one of the most memorable and original characters ever to appear in mystery fiction.

What caught my eye?
The main character, Blanche.

4. Dial A for Aunties
Author: Jesse Q. Sutanto

Goodreads Summary:
A hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture, by debut author Jesse Q. Sutanto.

1 (accidental) murder
2 thousand wedding guests
3 (maybe) cursed generations
4 meddling Asian aunties to the rescue!

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Story Locale: Southern California

What caught my eye?
The title – I’d like to be the one my nieces and nephews call when they need me! I know they know that I don’t like to talk on the phone, but I have told them that they can call me when they need me. I want to be there for them, the little poopers.

5. Murder in G Major
Series: A Gethsemane Brown Mystery #1
Author: Alexia Gordon

Goodreads Summary:
Winner– Lefty Award, Best Debut Novel
Nominee–Agatha Award, Best First Novel
Chosen one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debut Novels in 2016

With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none. The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage. The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place. Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace. Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?

What caught my eye?
Ghosts. This is a paranormal cosy mystery!

6. Mimi Lee Gets a Clue
Series: A Sassy Cat Mystery #1
Author: Jennifer J. Chow

Goodreads Summary:
Mimi Lee is in over her head. There’s her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve…now if only Mimi hadn’t landed herself on top of the suspect list.

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi’s mother keeps setting up.

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat’s attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi’s shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it’ll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

What caught my eye?
A. Talking. Cat. Need I say more?

7. Posted to Death
Series: Simon Kirby-Jones Mystery #1
Author: Dean A. James

Goodread Summary:
Edgar nominee and Agatha Award-winner Dean James offers his own delightful take on a classic British cozy mystery…starring an attractive, sophisticated man who just happens to be a vampire!

England has found itself a new sleuth to call its own, but Simon Kirby-Jones is not only a vampire, he’s an American to boot. He’s pulled up stakes in the States to settle in the quaint English village of Snupperton Mumsley, where his southern charm will be put to work uncovering the deadly secrets of his neighbors.

What caught my eye?
I love me a sophisticated man who also happens to be a gay vampire.

8. The Best Corpse for the Job
Series: Lindenshaw Mysteries #1
Author: Charlie Cochrane

Goodreads Summary:
Schoolteacher Adam Matthews just wants to help select a new headteacher and go home. The governors at Lindenshaw St Crispin’s have already failed miserably at finding the right candidate, so it’s make or break this second time round. But when one of the applicants is found strangled in the school, what should have been a straightforward decision turns tempestuous as a flash flood in their small English village.

Inspector Robin Bright isn’t thrilled to be back at St. Crispin’s. Memories of his days there are foul enough without tossing in a complicated murder case. And that handsome young teacher has him reminding himself not to fraternize with a witness. But it’s not long before Robin is relying on Adam for more than just his testimony.

As secrets amongst the governors emerge and a second person turns up dead, Robin needs to focus less on Adam and more on his investigation. But there are too many suspects, too many lies, and too many loose ends. Before they know it, Robin and Adam are fighting for their lives and their hearts.

What caught my eye?
“And that handsome young teacher has him reminding himself not to fraternize with a witness. But it’s not long before Robin is relying on Adam for more than just his testimony.” – they’re already too adorable!

9. Hallowed Murder
Series: Jane Lawless #1
Author: Ellen Hart

Goodreads Summary:
The police call Allison Lord’s drowning a suicide, but her housemates at her University of Minnesota sorority insist it was murder. That’s when alumnae advisor, Jane Lawless, steps in to find out the truth. Assisted by her irrepressible sidekick Cordelia, Jane searches for clues, and what she finds is as chilling as the Minnesota winter. At a lonely vacation lodge, amidst the icy snow drifts, she risks her life to ensnare a cunning killer.

Nominated: 1990 Minnesota Book Award for Best Crime Fiction
Nominated: 1989 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery
Nominated: 1996 Golden Earphones Award (Audio World), Best Unabridged Book
Winner: 1996 Golden Earphones Award (Audio World), Best Reader of an unabridged work, Carol Jordan Stewart for her reading of Hallowed Murder

What caught my eye?
This might be the age of the book that peaked my interest. I want to read lesbian mysteries as old as myself. (first published in 1989)

10. The Bedlam Stacks
Author: Natasha Pulley

Goodreads Summary:
In 1859, ex-East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall after sustaining an injury that almost cost him his leg and something is wrong; a statue moves, his grandfather’s pines explode, and his brother accuses him of madness.

When the India Office recruits Merrick for an expedition to fetch quinine—essential for the treatment of malaria—from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea. Nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is desperate to escape everything at home, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for a tiny mission colony on the edge of the Amazon where a salt line on the ground separates town from forest. Anyone who crosses is killed by something that watches from the trees, but somewhere beyond the salt are the quinine woods, and the way around is blocked.

Surrounded by local stories of lost time, cursed woods, and living rock, Merrick must separate truth from fairytale and find out what befell the last expeditions; why the villagers are forbidden to go into the forest; and what is happening to Raphael, the young priest who seems to have known Merrick’s grandfather, who visited Peru many decades before. The Bedlam Stacks is the story of a profound friendship that grows in a place that seems just this side of magical.

What caught my eye?
The fact that it’s historical fiction and contains magical realism.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations for good and diverse cosy mysteries?

Happy reading ❤

4 thoughts on “TTT: My Top Ten TBR Cosy Mysteries

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