Today we welcome cozy mystery writer Louisa Bennet, author of The Bone Ranger, to help us define what is a cozy mystery, discuss some of the best cozy mystery books (and cozy mystery series) she has read, and introduce us to the gorgeous golden retriever that inspired her own dog detective series.
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What is a cozy mystery?
In a murder mystery, whether it is cozy or not, a crime is committed and someone needs to solve it, be it a detective, a PI or in the case of The Bone Ranger, a dog who can solve crimes that humans can’t. But what makes it a cozy? Such mysteries are often humorous. Sexual themes, profanity or violence are usually downplayed. Cozy mystery books are a comfortable read because the reader knows there will be a happy ending.
11 of Louisa Bennet’s Favourite Cozy Mystery Books
In this cosy reading list, Louisa discusses some of her favourite cozy mystery authors and the books of theirs she has most enjoyed. Since these novels often form part of a larger cozy mystery series, the series titles are also noted for reference. Click on either the book covers or cozy book title links for the full novel synopsis.
Digging Up Dirt by Pamela Hart – This hilarious mystery introduces Poppy McGowan as a reluctant sleuth who is thrown into solving a murder when bones are found beneath her floorboards during a house renovation. (Poppy McGowan Mysteries, Book 1)
Just Murdered by Katherine Kovacic (Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries #1) – This novel is based on the hit TV series. It is set in the 1960s when Peregrine Fisher, the niece of Phryne Fisher, when a member of an all-female adventure club is murdered.
Live and Let Fry by Sue Williams – Funny, tongue-in-cheek cozy mystery set in a small Australian country town with a great heroine in feisty, forty-something and fearless, Cass Tuplin. (The Rusty Bore Mysteries, Book 3)
Murder Most Fancy by Kellie McCourt – A madcap super-rich heiress adventure in which the heroine Indigo-Daisy-Violet-Amber Hasluck-Royce-Jones-Bombberg literally falls over the body. (Indigo #2)
A Death at Silversmith Bay by Emma Jameson (Jemima Jago #3) – Set on the Cornish Coast in England and starring a librarian sleuth, this amusing murder mystery begins with a body in a second-hand bookshop.
Death in Disguise by Emma Davies – Francesca Eve caters for parties and events. A murder mystery party takes a sinister turn. Set in Shropshire, England. (Adam and Eve Mystery #1)
Murder at The Castle by Lisa Cutts – Totally loved this mystery written by a real-life detective. It had me guessing whodunnit right until the very end. (A Belinda Penshurst Mystery #2)
The French For Murder by Verity Bright – Book 10 in the Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series. Set in 1923, a body is found in the wine cellar. I especially like Gladstone the bulldog.
Dog On It by Spencer Quinn – Set in the USA, this is the first title in a fantastic cozy mystery series narrated by the dog Chet about the crimes he solves with his PI owner, Bernie, who is bad with money and hopeless at relationships. (A Chet and Bernie Mystery, #1)
Dial C for Chihuahua by Waverly Curtis – This book had me chuckling all the way through. Aspiring PI Geri Sullivan adopts Pepe the chihuahua and finds she can understand what the small dog is saying. (Barking Detective #1)
Arsenic in the Azaleas by Dale Mayer – The first book in the Lovely Lethal Gardens series in which the penniless Doreen inherits her grandmother’s old house and finds herself solving the small town’s mysteries with her dog, cat and parrot.
. . .
Monty the Dog Detective
My Golden Retriever, Pickles, is the inspiration for my new dog detective mystery, The Bone Ranger, which is mainly narrated from the point of view of Monty, the dog hero.
I’ve always been fascinated by how dogs view the world and their amazing capabilities. Watching Pickles’ behaviour inspired the idea of wee-mails (the doggie equivalent of emails), howlathons, and duck toppling (Monty can’t resist giving a sleeping duck balancing on one leg a gentle nudge!) Pickles, like Monty in the book, has worked out how to move door handles and open doors.
Pickles also inspired Monty’s incredible loyalty. Monty wants to do whatever he can to make his new owner, Detective Rose Sidebottom, happy and if that includes helping her solve a crime, then so be it. It just happens that Monty is especially good at tracking down the killer.
The Bone Ranger Synopsis
Meet Monty, the food-obsessed, naughty, and totally loving Golden Retriever who will do anything for his owner, Detective Constable Rose Sidebottom.
Of course, as these things go, Monty is no ordinary dog and Rose is no ordinary hooman. He has a super-smart nose and a network of unique informers via wee-mail; while Rose has an uncanny ability to know when people are lying. Together they make a formidable team. But Rose is battling anxiety and her boss has put her on sick leave, so there’s nothing much going on – until a stranger begs for their help to find a missing person.
The case soon becomes a murder investigation, and Rose’s boss warns her not to interfere. But when dogs also start disappearing, Monty and Rose have no choice and set out to solve it.