Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, Murder & Mayhem is celebrating mothers in mysteries. Mothers can make great detectives; after all, the best detectives have great intuition, problem-solving abilities, and multitasking skills…which also sounds like a critical skill set for a mother. Mothers seem to have a sixth sense for trouble and can spot clues in the most unusual places. Sometimes they help provide the clues to solve the mystery…and sometimes they might be more than implicated in a crime.
This list features six mystery books in which mothers feature prominently in mystery novels—with a bent toward lighthearted cozy mysteries. These books take readers from sunny Miami with delicious Cuban food, the fog of San Francisco bay to gothic England.
Mango, Mambo, and Murder
Moving is never easy but Miriam Quinones-Smith is finding the transition from New York to Coral Springs, Miami a bit daunting. She’s at loose ends, trying to figure out her next steps while caring for her toddler and dealing with her racist and overbearing mother-in-law. Plus, her husband seems distracted and secretive. She starts to find her footing when her best friend gets her a gig on a local Spanish language station doing a cooking show. But when a woman dies next to her at a luncheon, Miriam feels compelled to find out what happened to this young, troubled woman. Can she solve the case, parent her son, and figure out what is going on with her husband? It’s the first in the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series with Calypso, Corpses and Cooking coming out on November 8, 2022.
The Stranger Diaries
Clare Cassidy, mother to a 15-year-old girl named Georgie, teaches English at a local prep school in a town where the famous author R.M. Holland once lived. She loves teaching his story “The Stranger” but things get a little too out there when her friend—and colleague—is found murdered with lines from the story nearby. Trying to make sense of it all, she turns to her diary for comfort but then she finds messages in her diary she definitely did not write. The police think the killer is an associate of Clare’s and has her on her guard. Can the police and Clare figure out who the killer is and keep Clare and her daughter safe?
Moving is Murder
This cozy mystery features military spouse and new mother Ellie. She and her family have moved so many times that it’s now second nature to her. In their newest home of Vernon, Washington, they get invited to a neighborhood squadron party where Ellie meets other military spouses. But when one of the wives, Cass, is found dead from an allergic reaction to insect stings in her van on the way home from the party, Ellie doesn’t believe it was an accident. She decides to investigate and figure out who would kill Cass, all while caring for her new daughter. This is the first of ten books in the Mom Zone Mystery series.
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It
While the other books on this list have mothers who help solve crime, this one is a little different. Finlay is a single mom who is having a rough go. She’s broke, late on her novel—and parenting a four-year-old is challenging enough. But when she’s overheard describing her novel at a restaurant, she’s mistaken for an assassin for hire and accidentally accepts the commission to take out a terrible husband. Finlay may be able to write crime but committing it is a whole thing altogether. Can she have it all? Or can she get out of this mess without too much blood on her hands? The second book Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead came out in February 2022 and the third one is slated for 2023.
Bundle of Trouble
Not many people become mothers and sleuths in the same week. Based in San Francisco, Kate Connolly has just given birth to baby girl Laurie. But newborn baby bliss is interrupted when the police and a private detective think that Kate and her husband Jim know something about a body fished out of the bay. All evidence points to Jim’s estranged brother George. Can Kate figure out the truth behind the murder while enjoying her new life as a new mom? It’s the first in the eleven-book Maternal Instincts Mystery series.
Death of a Kitchen Diva
And to round out the list, we’ve got another cozy culinary mystery. When the food critic of Bar Harbor, Maine’s Island Times retires, single mom Hayley Powell’s boss wants her to take up the mantle. But she quickly gets into a feud with a rival food critic at another newspaper, so things get awkward when that rival ends up dead from poison. Hayley has to balance clearing her good name, parenting two teenagers, and keeping her new job. Plus, it’s got recipes worked into the book! It’s the first of fourteen full books and several novellas of the Lee Hollis' Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery series.