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8 Christmas Cozy Mysteries To Read by the Fireside

What a bright time, it’s the right time to read the night away…

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  • Photo Credit: Featured photo: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Books and Christmas time go together like cookies and milk. It’s no accident that Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a ghost story; it was a tradition in Victorian England that people told ghost stories on Christmas Eve.

Or further north in Iceland, people celebrate “Jolabokaflod”—translated into English as “Christmas Book Flood”—where they exchange books on Christmas Eve and then spend the evening reading their books. What a marvelous tradition!

So to help you celebrate these traditions, Murder & Mayhem has compiled some delightful Christmas cozy mysteries for the mystery fans in your family.


The Christmas Appeal

By Janice Hallett

For fans of The Appeal, the Fairway Players are back to produce their Christmas play of Jack and the Beanstalk in this novella. Told through emails, text messages, and other media, it’s clear that the drama isn’t only on stage as petty squabbles thread through the rehearsals. But soon it’s the least of the players’ worries when a dead body is found on stage. Who is dead and why? 


Blackmail and Bibingka

By Mia P. Manansala

The third in Tita Rosita’s Kitchen Mystery, Lila Macapagal is committed to working with her friends to make their joint venture The Brew-ha Cafe into a success. Plus, it’s Christmas cookie season so Macapagal has a lot of baking and experimenting to do, but a wrench gets thrown into the mix when her prodigal cousin, Ronnie, returns to Shady Palms, a proud co-owner of a nearby winery. 

While Lila is worried Ronnie will break her auntie’s heart, Ronnie gets accused of murder as someone is found dead at the winery. Now Macapagal has to try to clear her cousin’s name while making some most excellent Christmas treats. Plus there are going to be tasty Filipino Christmas recipes. Here’s an interview with Mia Manansala about the first book in the series, Arsenic and Adobo.


A Christmas Candy Killing

By Christina Romeril

The first in this new series—Killer Chocolate series—identical twins Alex and Hannah have taken their love of mysteries to the extreme: they’ve opened the mystery bookshop Murder & Mayhem. Plus, they sell poison-themed chocolates to add even more character to the shop. 

Naturally, people like to share stories of murder, like their next-door neighbor who tells Alex that a suspected murderer from a true crime show now lives in the town. But murder comes to the front door of the twins when Alex finds their neighbor dead on the floor. Things don’t look good for Alex because their famous chocolates are next to her and she benefits from her neighbors’ will. Now the twins have to figure out who killed the neighbor? Can they figure it out before Alex has to spend Christmas in a cell?


Cheddar Off Dead

By Julia Buckley

The second in the Undercover Dish Mystery series, Lilah Drake runs Covered Dish, where she cooks dishes and gives them to people surreptitiously so they can pretend they made it themselves. Business is booming around Christmas since homemade dishes are key. When she brings her mac n' cheese to her friend’s school, she witnesses someone shooting Santa. Since Drake was also a witness, she’s now at risk. Can Lilah and her ex-boyfriend, now detective, find out who killed Santa?


Bookmarked for Murder

By V.M. Burns

Fifth in the Mystery Bookstore series, mystery bookshop owner Samantha “Sam” Washington goes with her vivacious Nana Jo and her friends to Chicago by bus to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales. One of her grandma’s friends becomes acquainted with a man on the trip but when he’s found dead on the bus on the ride back, it’s clear that they have to solve his murder. Sam is drawn in, as always, to keep Nana Jo and her friends from getting into too much trouble. 


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Murder

By Maria DiRico

The third in the Catering Hall Mystery, Christmas is always a busy time for Mia Carina, a caterer at Belle View Catering Hall in Astoria, Queens. Plus her Nona is keen to win the local Christmas decoration contest on their street. In addition to Christmas parties, there’s a birthday and a sweet sixteen party. 

But Carina now has a lot of family troubles on her hands; her estranged mother Gia is back and her good friend’s world is overturned when a man claiming to be his brother shows up and is then found murdered. Now Carina has to add sleuthing to her cookbook to get to the bottom of this murder and drama. (Also, Maria DiRico is the pen name of Ellen Byron of the wondrous Vintage Cookbook Mystery series set in New Orleans, LA.)

Murder at an Irish Christmas

Murder at an Irish Christmas

By Carlene O'Connor

In the sixth book of An Irish Village series, the entire O’Sullivan family has decided to spend Christmas in West Cork to visit with her brother’s fiancée’s musical family. It’s also a break for Garda Siobhan O’Sullivan from her policing duties. The two families decide to opt for a Secret Santa game, where everyone pulls names from a hat to buy music-themed gifts. But when the family’s famous conductor grandfather, Enda Elliot, is found murdered and a giant snowstorm hits, Siobhan’s holiday is cut short to solve this case. Read more about the series here


The Twelve Books of Christmas

By Kate Carlisle

It seems appropriate to end this Christmas cozy list with the 17th book of the Bibliophile Mystery. Book restorer Brooklyn Wainwright gets a call that her friend Claire is getting married on New Year’s Day at a castle in Loch Ness, Scotland. But there’s more to the trip than attending a wedding. Wainwright is determined to find 12 books that have gone missing from the castle’s library. But between strange ghostly sounds in the castle and two deaths, Brooklyn now has to find a murderer in addition to the books.

Featured photo: Annie Spratt / Unsplash