Best Books of 2021: Cozy Mystery (Series Debut)

I am kick starting Best Books of 2021 with a list of Cozy Mystery Series Debut. Who doesn’t love cozy mysteries! A murder not-so-gruesome, an amateur sleuth in-the-making and whole lotta fun!

2021 saw a lot of interesting and exciting Cozy series debuts with new and interesting themes – an ex-cop-turned-not-so-amateur sleuth (Fiona’s Leitch’s Nosey Parker series), a ghost and senior amateur sleuth solving crimes (Rita Moreau’s Ghost and Camper Kooky series), a professional organizer turned amateur sleuth (Mary Jane Maffini’s Charlotte Adams Professional Organizer series), an antiques appraiser (Tracy Gardner’s Avery Ayers series), a perfumer who turns amateur sleuth and solves crimes by creating ‘scent of the killer’ (Langley Grey’s Doused to Death series) and much more!

The Best Cozy Series Debut in the order of their publication are:

Murder on the Menu by Fiona Leitch

Murder on the Menu is the first book in Fiona Leitch’s A Nosey Parker Cozy Mystery series.

Meet Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker, an ex-cop-turned-caterer. She’s nicknamed ‘Nosey’ as she cannot keep her nose out of everybody’s business. Well, being ‘Nosey’ does come in hand when your ex-crush/best-friend’s ex-wife is found murdered on his wedding. That’s a lot of exes, you think? Quirky characters, quaint setting, a mystery to keep you guessing till the end and oodles of laughter, no doubt this book has made its way to my best list!

Read my review of Murder on the Menu by Fiona Leitch.

Murder at the Spring Ball by Benedict Brown

Murder at the Spring Ball is the first book in Benedict Brown’s Lord Edgington series.

England, 1925: Lord Edgington, a former detective at the Scotland Yard, had shut himself away from the world after the untimely death of his wife. A decade later, he plans a grand ball to celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday.

At the event, he opens a bottle of Champaign that was given to him on his wedding day fifty years ago. The drink is poured into glasses and distributed to his family members. After taking a sip or two, one of his children die. The rest barely escape the same fate. Lord Edgington wonders if someone’s trying to wipe out his entire family. With the help of his sixteen-year old grandson, he decides to investigate and bring the killer to justice.

Read my review of Murder at the Spring Ball by Benedict Brown.

Cats and Catnapping by Julia Koty

Cats and Catnapping is the first book in Julia Koty’s Mira Michaels Cozy Mystery series.

The first book is a novella while the rest of this series are full-length novels.

Mira Michaels finally calls her old life quits. She moves out of her psychic sister’s house and is on the road to her new life. Her trip to Pennsylvania starts simply, even if her cat, Arnold, can’t stop backseat driving. She refuses to accept that she can hear his kitty voice, until the radio refuses to work. Then, at a rest stop she witnesses a catnapping of the sweet kitty that Arnold has a crush on. Mira promises to chase the catnapper across the northeast and find the cat’s owner all before she must meet her realtor at her new house. 

Read my review of Cats and Catnapping by Julia Koty.

Wheeler-Dealer by Rita Moreau

Wheeler-Dealer is the first book in A Ghost and Camper Kooky Mystery series by Rita Moreau.

Mabel Gold, is recently divorced and wants to restart her life. First step, camping. She buys a camper and ends up getting a ‘camper ghost’ for free! Irma has to make amends and Mabel decides to help her. First stop of camping is Savannah. One of the camping guests is found dead and an innocent woman is accused of murder. It is up to Mabel and Irma to solve the crime and bring the killer to justice.

Read my review of Wheeler-Dealer by Rita Moreau.

Tea is for Trouble by Karen Sue Walker

Tea is for Trouble is the first book in Karen Sue Walker’s A Haunted Tearoom Cozy Mystery series.

April May buys a pink and purple Victorian mansion at Serenity Cove on a whim and plans to convert it into a tearoom. Most of the locals are coffee drinkers. Plus, finding a dead body in the freezer hasn’t made April any more… um, popular. Nobody told April the house came with a cat and a ghost. Accused of murdering the heir of the mansion’s previous owner, it is up to April to prove her innocence.

Read my review of tea is for Trouble by Karen Sue Walker.

Organize your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini

Organize Your Corpses is the first book in A Charlotte Adams Professional Organizer Mystery series by Mary Jane Maffini.

This series was initially published by a different publisher and are now being reissued by Beyond the Page Publishing.

Charlotte Adams moves back to her hometown in Upstate New York and starts her new career as a professional organizer. Charlotte’s high school teacher Miss Helen Henley hires Charlotte to work on the historic Henley house. The day after Charlotte signs an agreement, Helen is found dead and Charlotte is the main suspect.

Read my review of Organize your Corpses by Mary Jane Maffini.

Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner

Ruby Red Herring is the first book in Tracy Gardner’s An Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series.

Avery Ayers moved to her hometown after the death of her parents. Avery took over the family business, Antique and Artifacts Appraised. She also works as an appraiser at the local museum. A rare ruby is donated to the museum and is believed to be a part of the museum’s prized Xiang Dynasty’s Dragon Medallion. Avery receives threatening notes and someone connected to the appraisal is found murdered.

Read my review of Ruby Red Herring by Tracy Gardner.

Dogged by Death by Laura Scott

Dogged by Death is the first book in Laura Scott’s Furry Friends Cozy Mystery series.

Ally Winters is going through a ruff patch. She’s moved to Willow Bluff, Wisconsin, to look after her aging gramps. Her first day as a dog-walker and Ally finds her client dead. Gramps is a true-crime aficionado and wants to solve the case. Ally cannot stop her gramps on acting alone so she helps him out, and in the process, gains the attention of the killer. Ally’s threatened twice and her life is on the line. Will the amateur sleuthing duo solve the murder case before they become the killer’s next victim?

Read my review of Dogged by Death by Laura Scott.

Digging up Trouble by Kitt Crowe

Digging Up Trouble is the first book in Kitt Crowe’s A Sweet Fiction Bookshop Mystery series.

Bathrobe-clad Lexi finds her dog Cookie in the next-door neighbor’s backyard, sitting at what looks like a freshly-dug grave. Her neighbor is lying dead… in the ‘grave.’ Lexi finds herself as the prime suspect in her neighbor’s murder, after all, many saw her arguing with him the previous evening. It is up to Lexi to prove her innocence and catch the killer before it is too late.

Read my review of Digging up Trouble by Kitt Crowe.

Mango, Mambo and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes

Mango, Mambo and Murder is the first book in Raquel V. Reyes’ A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series.

Food anthropologist Miriam Quiñones-Smith has moved from New York to Coral Shores, Florida with her husband and son. When she attends a Women’s Club luncheon, a socialite sitting at her table falls face-first into the chicken salad, never to nibble again.

When another person dies days later, Miriam is convinced of foul play. As the ingredients to a deadly scheme starts falling into place, it is up Miriam to catch the killer before it is too late.

Read my review of Mango, Mambo and Murder by Raquel V. Reyes.

Knocked Scentsless by Langley Gray

Knocked Scentsless is the first book in Langley Gray’s Doused to Death series.

Nati Butler lives on the loft of her empty shopfront in a small mountain town in Washington. The man she’s rented the shopfront from, Old Man Joe, gives her an ultimatum. Either open the shop soon or face the consequences.

Unfortunately, it was Old Man Joe who faced the consequences that same day. He was found dead in the barn – blunt force trauma to the dead. Naturally, all fingers point to Nati, after all, she was the one who ‘supposedly’ had an issue with the old man.

It is up to Nati to prove her innocence as well as catch the killer red-handed.

Read my review of Knocked Scentsless by Langley Gray.

A Mumbai Murder Mystery by Meeti Shroff-Shah

Award-winning novelist Radhika ‘Radhi’ Zaveri moves from New York to Temple Hill, Mumbai after a heart-break. She’s currently under a writer’s block and wonders if moving back home might help her write another novel.

When she visits her best friend Sanjana – who did not make it to Radhi’s welcome party – she learns Sanjana’s dad had killed himself. But his family did not think he was depressed. So why did he decide to end his life?

Radhi is determined to uncover the truth. As she digs deeper into the satsangs and pure-veg brunches, she stumbles into a closet full of skeletons.

Read my review of A Mumbai Murder Mystery by Meeti Shroff-Shah

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