An initiative of the American Library Association

Cozy Reads for Winter 2018

By Shari Randall

What’s a cozy? No, not that thing your grandmother put on her teapot. In the mystery world, a cozy is a traditional whodunit where the focus is on an amateur sleuth in a small, self-contained community. This kind of mystery is distinguished by what it doesn’t have―no graphic violence, intimacy, or language. Think of Murder, She Wrote―the emphasis is on the clues and characters. Plus, cozies often have a “hook,” a peek into a place, profession, or hobby―wedding planning, knitting, garage sales, for example―that engages the reader by teaching them something new. Try a cozy and see if you don’t get hooked!

Asking for Truffle

by Dorothy St. James

When Charity Penn receives a letter saying she won a trip to Camellia Beach, South Carolina, she's immediately skeptical. She never entered the contest. Her former prep school friend offers to look into the phony prize―only to end up drowned in a vat of chocolate. Penn heads to the southern beach town to investigate and steps straight into the midst of a deadly plot. Now, only Penn's quick thinking and a mysterious cask of rare chocolate can save the town she's learning to love.

Rich and decadent, Asking for Truffle, the first in a new cozy series by Dorothy St. James, isn't all fluff. The plot tackles historic preservation issues, sources of the cacao bean used to make chocolate, and troubles with broken families that spark discussions. Fans of JoAnna Carl and Joanne Fluke should enjoy this fast-paced read.

Crooked Lane Books, 2017.

Visit the Author's Website.

Books Can Be Deceiving

by Jenn McKinlay

Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey's friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children's book, but Beth's boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he's found murdered-and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast before they throw the book at the wrong person. This is the first in the New York Times bestselling Library Lover’s series.

Berkley, 2011.

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Forget Me Knot: A Quilting Mystery #1

by Mary Marks

Forget Me Knot is the story of Martha Rose, a sassy, sarcastic woman “of a certain age” and her two quilting friends, Lucy and Birdie. The trio discovers the corpse of another quilter and days later the victim’s prize-winning quilt is stolen. Martha is enlisted to draw on her knowledge of quilting to decode the secret messages the victim left behind. But the deeper she digs, the closer the killer gets to stopping Martha permanently. Readers will enjoy not only the humor sprinkled throughout the story but will also find tidbits of women’s history and American history, especially as it relates to quilting.

Kensington, 2014.

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A High-End Finish

by Kate Carlisle

In Lighthouse Cove, California, the best man for the job is a woman—contractor Shannon Hammer, who must clear her name after a bad blind date she argued with in public turns up dead in the Victorian she’s been hired to restore. With the help of her best friends, her eccentric father, a nosy neighbor or two, and a handsome crime writer, Shannon must nail down the truth before she ends up in permanent foreclosure. A High-End Finish, the first Fixer-Upper Mystery, is a traditional mystery, perfect for book clubs who enjoy a smart, well-crafted whodunit with a healthy dollop of humor. Now on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, starring Jewel and Colin Ferguson.

Berkley, 2014.

Click to Read an Excerpt.

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The Merlot Murders

by Ellen Crosby

When Lucie’s father dies under questionable circumstances, his 500-acre vineyard at the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains passes to his three children. But Lucie, who has been living in France for several years, discovers that her brother and sister can’t wait to nail up the “For Sale” sign while she is the lone holdout for reviving the ailing winery. All too soon it’s clear she’s the new target of whoever wants her family’s land. Lucie must act quickly to uncover the identity of a killer who seems disturbingly close to home.

What goes better with a book club discussion than a glass of wine? Readers will enjoy this peek into the world of wineries and the winding Virginia country lanes lined by Civil War-era stone walls and villages that can legitimately claim George Washington slept there.

Scribner, 2017.

Click to Read the Booklist Review.

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Pane And Suffering: A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery #1

by Cheryl Hollon

After Savannah's father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs—including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father's trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack. As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn't suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it's up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father.

Kensington, 2015.

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The Secret, Book & Scone Society

by Ellery Adams

In The Secret, Book, & Scone Society, bookstore owner and bibliotherapist, Nora Pennington, divides her time between seeking justice for a murdered businessman and healing her customers by recommending the perfect reads. Set in the fictional town of Miracle Springs, a place noted for its healing powers, four women with dark secrets unite to solve a murder. They also learn about the healing power of friendship. This blend of mystery, women’s fiction, romance, and magical realism makes for a perfect book club read.

If you contact her on Facebook or email her publicist, Michelle Addo at Kensington Books (, Adams will send your club leader a pack of bookmarks and a scone prize to raffle off to a lucky reader.

Kensington, 2017.

Visit the Author's Website.

Native New Englander Shari Randall is the author of the Lobster Shack mystery series coming from St. Martin's Press in 2018. She loves being the Sister in Crime's Library Liaison because the role combines two of her favorite things: writing and libraries. Visit her website at


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