Top Holiday Cozy Mysteries

The winter weather may be frightful, but these holiday cozies are so delightful.  This is Wonder Women Sixty’s list of holiday favorites that will not only keep you entertained through the holidays, but also through those long winter nights:

A Christmas Candy Killing is a welcome debut for this well-done new Killer Chocolate Mystery series. It’s filled with holiday warmth and a cold cold killer.

The Christmas Scarf  is a great holiday read by 3 top-notch cozy authors: Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day and Peggy Ehrhart, bringing us 3 creative cozy treats!

Murder After Christmas is another fine example of a lost gem originally published in 1944.  The featured couple is dangerously greedy — even during the most joyous time of the year.

Crossed Skiis is an atmospheric winter tale of two mysteries that meld together perfectly. Join the 16 skiers traveling from London to Austria on New Year’s Day for the ultimate ski holiday and a cold dose of death.

The Christmas Card Crime & Other Stories features 11 holiday tales by some of the best mystery writers in the mid-1800’s through the 1900’s.

As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, Slashing Through the Snow and Murder at the Christmas Cookie Bake-off are (3) solid cozies filled with so much Christmas warmth that they will melt your heart and take the chill off those pesky dead bodies!

Do some armchair traveling: Take a trip to Cajun country with A Cajun Christmas Killing – or head off to Ireland with Murder at an Irish Christmas (a contemporary mystery with old-world flavor).

If you want zany humor with your mysteries, it doesn’t get any more halarious than a holiday with my favorite single gal heroine, Jaine Austen, in Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge.

Ho Ho Homicide is an older book, but still on my list.  You just can’t beat the authentic and down-home atmosphere combined with a solid plot. It’s also my favorite from the outstanding Liss MacCrimmon Mystery series.

For fans of Victorian times, Murder Most Festive, Ringing in Murder, Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen and A Christmas Carol Murder take us back in time for a look at how the holidays were celebrated in that era – and, how murders were solved (without modern technology).

No hard-core mystery fan should be without the gigantic 600+ page Big Book of Christmas Mysteries edited by Otto Penzler. It’s a full blown collection of “vintage” yuletide mysteries. Too many authors to list, but a sampling would be: Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Mary Higgins Clark, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ed McBain, Isaac Asimov, etc., etc. and I DO mean “etc., etc…” WOW!

To complete my favorite holiday reading list, I call upon the beloved and immortal Charles Dickens. Christmas just wouldn’t be complete without his Stories for Christmas or his Five Tales of Christmas. Some are mysterious, some can be haunting – some “simply” nice. All classics from a master.

TOP HOLIDAY MYSTERIES – Alphabetically by author:

  1. Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen – Emily Brightwell (Victorian setting)
  2. The Christmas Card Crime & Other Stories – British Library Crime Classics (compilation)
  3. As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, A Food Lovers’ Village Mystery – Leslie Budewitz
  4. Peppermint Barked – Leslie Budewitz
  5. A Cajun Christmas Killing, A Cajun Country Mystery – Ellen Byron
  6. Crossed Skiis, An Alpine Mystery – Carol Carnac (British Library Crime Classic)
  7. Stories for Christmas or Five Tales of Christmas by Charles Dickens – various versions and publishers.
  8. Ho Ho Homicide, a Liss MacCrimmon Mystery – Kaitlyn Dunnett
  9. Slashing Through The Snow, A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery – Jacqueline Frost
  10. Murder At The Christmas Cookie Bake-Off, A Beacon Bakeshop Mystery – Darci Hannah
  11. Ringing in Murder, A Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery – Kate Kingsbury (Victorian setting)
  12. Murder After Christmas – Rupert Latimer (British Library Crime Classic)
  13. Death of a Neighborhood Scrooge, A Jaine Austen Mystery – Laura Levine
  14. Murder Most Festive, A Christmas Mystery – Ada Moncrieff
  15. The Christmas Scarf Murder, a trilogy by Carlene O’Connor, Maddie Day, Peggy Ehrhart
  16. Murder At An Irish Christmas, An Irish Village Mystery – Carlene O’Connor
  17. The big Book of Christmas Mysteries edited and intro by Otto Penzler (A Vintage Crime/Black Lizard original)
  18. A Christmas Carol Murder – Heather Redmond (set in Dickens-times)
  19. A Christmas Candy Killing – Christina Romeril

Some of these holiday cozies are new, some are older – but one thing they all have in common, they are simply well-done holiday cozies!  As long as you have your personal library stocked with some (or all) of these festive tales, you won’t even mind getting snowed in!

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Permission to photograph books granted by publishers: Kensington Publishing, Crooked Lane Books and Poisoned PenSourcebooks.

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