The Fourth of July is the time to celebrate all things America. Hot dogs. Cherry pie. Fireworks. And...murder?
Everyone knows something always goes wrong on the holidays. Especially one as volatile as the Fourth of July where the heat raises simmering tempers and festivities make the perfect distraction. Here are nine Fourth of July cozy mysteries to dazzle your imagination and chill your blood on these hot summer nights.
Liv Montgomery is busy planning the 4th of July festival—one of the biggest in town. There’s a Revolutionary War reenactment, the ghost of local war hero Henry Gallantine will make an appearance, and there will be a night of revelry for everyone to enjoy. But then Henry’s ghost veers off-script when he delivers a warning and goes missing. But when Liv goes looking for him, she finds a dead body instead. But she's determined that nothing will ruin the holiday festivities—even if Liv has to find the missing Henry and the murderer all by herself.
Star Spangled Murder
Lucy Stone has a problem. Her dog, Kudos, is sneaking out and terrorizing her neighbor’s prize-winning chickens. But she isn’t the only one Mrs. Pratt is upset with. There are nudists skinny-dipping in the pond next door. The local fisherman accuses her husband and son of being poachers. But when Mrs. Pratt is the victim of a hit and run, the Stones are the number one suspect. It’s bad enough the fireworks are canceled to protect an extremely rare patch of purple-spotted lichen, but they might lose their freedom too. Unless Lucy can find the killer and catch them red, white, and blue-handed.
Yankee Doodle Dead
Annie and Max Darling are no strangers to murder. Even though their small North Carolina town is supposed to be quiet and safe. It might be because Annie’s bookstore and café, Death on Demand, somehow attracts more trouble than the Darlings’ cats. Or maybe it’s just bad luck. Like how the retired Brigadier General Bud Hatch gets shot right in front of Annie. Hatch recently joined the library board and has alienated not just the members, but almost everyone in town. Now Annie has to find the killer before the 4th of July holiday explodes.
Murder on the Fourth of July
And now for a blast from the past: There’s never a dull moment for Nancy Drew and the Hardy brothers. Especially around the holidays. All Nancy wants to do is help in a whale-saving campaign. While Frank and Joe look forward to the fireworks display in Seattle. But when one of the major contributors to Nancy’s campaign is found murdered, her time to save the whales is cut short as she tries to solve the murder. And when Frank and Joe stumble on a plot to sabotage the fireworks, they’ll do everything it takes to stop them.
Happy 4th of July Murder
When reporter Roland “Beanie” Bean hears three bangs in the middle of the fireworks display, he can’t help but compare them to gunshots. On his way back home, he trips over a dead body in the sand dunes and knows he was right. As he investigates, he discovers there is no shortage of suspects. There’s a bookie, an ex-girlfriend, and a mysterious man with ties to the victim’s past. The more Beanie digs, the more he wants to uncover the truth. Even if it means the fireworks are now aimed at him.
Blood Red, White, and Blue
Santa Louisa just enjoyed the perfect Fourth of July celebrations. Until they find a man shot in the back. Mary McGill recognizes the man. He’s not from Santa Louisa, but Mary saw him and his dog Ranger outside the jewelry store earlier that morning. The last thing she expected when she agreed to look after his dog was to be drawn into a murder investigation—and danger. The more questions she asks, the more secrets she uncovers. And she has to find the killer before she ends up as their next victim.
Jealousy Filled Donuts
Detective widow Emily Westhill knows one thing: cops and donuts go together like apples and pie. That’s why she runs Deputy Donut Café with her father-in-law. When Fallingbrook needs donuts for their annual Fourth of July picnic, Emily is quick to sign up for the task. Everything is going great. Until someone hides a firework inside a stack of jelly-filled donuts. And aims it at the queen of the picnic. Framed with suspicious photographs, Emily has to prove she didn’t light the fuse before the killer strikes again.
A Catered Fourth of July
Bernie and Libby are serving up tasty treats as they cater under the gazebo during the Fourth of July reenactment for The Battle of Meadow Creek. But when town playboy Jack Devlin doesn’t get back up after the battle ends, they realize that blood looks a little too real. The heartthrob lit the fire of quite a few scandals and the suspects range from a hot-headed politician to his unfaithful wife. The sisters have no intention of getting involved. Until the town councilman points the finger at Bernie’s boyfriend. With more suspects than clues, Bernie and Libby are quickly overwhelmed. But they have to work fast. The killer is still out there. And they might be next on the menu.
Oh Say Can You Fudge
Two things make the Fourth of July special on Mackinac Island: fireworks and fudge. Allie McMurphy is busy cooking the treats. For the fireworks, she’s hired the biggest name in the business: Rodney Rivers. Everything is going according to plan. Until she finds Rodney dead. And the warehouse with all the pyrotechnics goes with him. Is it arson? Or murder. Allie and her bichonpoo get to work on the suspects. She has to find the killer before the entire holiday goes red, white, and BOOM.
Featured photo: Trent Yarnell / Unsplash