by Esme Addison
Have you ever wondered, where are all of the cozy mysteries written by African-American authors? Well, wonder no more. I’ve compiled a list of contemporary cozy mysteries written by authors (including myself) of African descent. My list includes an interesting group of sleuths in fun settings with challenging whodunnits!
Also, don’t wait until February to read all of these. 🙂
How many of these series have you read?
Hollywood Homicide (A Detective By Day Mystery) by Kellye Garrett
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semifamous, mega-broke actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. So after witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she pursues the fifteen grand reward. But Dayna soon finds herself doing a full-on investigation, wanting more than just money―she wants justice for the victim. She chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes, and movie premieres, loving every second of it―until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life.
You probably saw this one mentioned on Good Morning, America. No? In that case: It’s a fun, humorous and fast-paced whodunnit in glitzy Los Angeles. Now you know. 🙂
Sex, Murder and a Double Latte (A Sophie Katz Mystery) by Kyra Davis
Thriller scribe Sophie Katz is as hard-boiled as a woman who drinks Grande Caramel Brownie Frappuccinos can be. So Sophie knows it’s not paranoia or post-divorce, living-alone-again jitters, when she becomes convinced that a crazed reader is sneaking into her apartment to reenact scenes from her books. The police, however, can’t tell a good plot from an unmarked grave.
When a filmmaker friend is brutally murdered in the manner of a death scene in one of his movies, Sophie becomes convinced that a copycat killer is on the loose —and that she’s the next target. If she doesn’t solve the mystery, her own bestseller will spell out her doom. Cursing her grisly imagination (why, oh, why did she have to pick the ax?), Sophie engages in some real-life gumshoe tactics. The man who swoops in to save her in dark alleys is mysterious new love interest Anatoly Darinsky. Of course, if this were fiction, Anatoly would be her prime suspect.…
My first cozy mystery love… only, I had no idea what a cozy mystery was when I read this. I thought I was reading chick lit… it’s kind of that too. Featuring an African-American and Jewish protagonist, like the author. Also, the first book that taught me spies are sexy. Also, I love this series.
The Plot Is Murder (A Mystery Bookshop) by VM Burns
Samantha Washington has long dreamed of owning a mystery bookstore. And as she prepares for the grand opening, she’s realizing another dream—penning a cozy mystery set in England between the wars. While Samantha hires employees and stocks her shelves, her imagination also gets to work as her heroine, Lady Penelope Marsh, long-overshadowed by her beautiful sister Daphne, refuses to lose the besotted Victor Carlston to her sibling’s charms. When one of Daphne’s suitors is murdered in a maze, Penelope steps in to solve the labyrinthine puzzle and win Victor.
In the meantime, however, the unimaginable happens in real life. A shady realtor turns up dead in Samantha’s backyard, and the police suspect her—after all, she might know a thing or two about murder. Aided by her feisty grandmother and an ensemble of enthusiastic retirees, Samantha is determined to close the case before she opens her store. But will she live to conclude her own story when the killer has a revised ending in mind?
A bookish whodunnit that features both a bookstore and an aspiring writer. There’s a mystery within a mystery, y’all!
In the Dog House (A Dog Club Mystery) by VM Burns
Lilly may be losing a husband but she’s gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly’s dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect.
With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it’s a good thing her best friend Scarlett “Dixie” Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it’s clear they’re dealing with one sick puppy . . .
Must love dogs. And a good mystery. From VM Burns – Another one! (read this like DJ Khaled)
Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery) by Valerie Burns
When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great Aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 200-pound English Mastiff named Baby.
Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka The Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .
Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.
I am here for the cake. Also VM Burns. The V is for Valerie, y’all.
Murder By Page One (A Peach Coast Library Mystery) by Olivia Matthews
Marvey, a librarian, has moved from Brooklyn to a quirky small town in Georgia. When she’s not at the library organizing events for readers, she’s handcrafting book-themed jewelry and looking after her cranky cat. At times, her new life in the South still feels strange…and that’s before the discovery of the dead body in the bookstore.
After one of her friends becomes a suspect, Marvey sets out to solve the murder mystery. She even convinces Spence, the wealthy and charming newspaper owner, to help. With his ties to the community, her talents for research, and her fellow librarians’ knowledge, Marvey pursues the truth. But as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?
Peach cobbler. Peach cobbler. Southern accents. And books. Plus Hallmark goodness. Yes, please.
Mayhem & Mass (A Sister Lou Mystery) by Olivia Matthews
Sister Lou expects some pushback when she invites her friend, Maurice Jordan, to be the guest speaker for the St. Hermione of Ephesus Feast Day presentation. The theology professor is known far and wide for his controversial views. What she’s not prepared for is finding him dead in his hotel room, bashed over the head.
When the local deputies focus on the members of her congregation as suspects, Sister Lou takes matters into her own hands. Against Chris’s wishes, she teams up with a cynical local reporter to delve into Maurice’s life. The unlikely partners in crime-fighting uncover a litany of both devotees and detractors. And though it might take a miracle to find the killer, Sister Lou vows to carry on until justice prevails
Gives you Father Dowling vibes. Also, Olivia Matthews’ first cozy mystery series.
A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery) by Abby Collette
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…
Ice cream and mystery in a charming small town. The perfect formula for a cozy read.
Body and Soul Food (A Biscuits and Books Mystery) by Abby Collette
When Koby Hill and Keaton Rutledge were orphaned at age two, they were separated, but their unbreakable connection lingered. Years later, they reunite and decide to make up for lost time and capitalize on their shared interests by opening up a well-stocked bookstore and cozy soul-food café in the quaint Pacific Northwest town of Timber Lake. But this new chapter of their lives could end on a cliffhanger after Koby’s foster brother is found murdered.
The murder, which occurred in public between light-rail stops, seems impossible for the police to solve. But as Keaton and Koby know, two heads are always better than one, especially when it comes to mysteries. With just a week to go before the grand opening of their new café, the twins will use their revitalized connection with each other to make sure this is the killer’s final page.
I bought this book just for the cover. I kid! Also soul food and books. Did I mention I love food and books together? Abby Collette stay writing.
Murder In G Major (A Gethsemane Brown Mystery) by Alexia Gordon
With few other options, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown accepts a less-than-ideal position turning a group of rowdy schoolboys into an award-winning orchestra. Stranded without luggage or money in the Irish countryside, she figures any job is better than none.
The perk? Housesitting a lovely cliffside cottage.
The catch? The ghost of the cottage’s murdered owner haunts the place.
Falsely accused of killing his wife (and himself), he begs Gethsemane to clear his name so he can rest in peace.
Gethsemane’s reluctant investigation provokes a dormant killer and she soon finds herself in grave danger. As Gethsemane races to prevent a deadly encore, will she uncover the truth or star in her own farewell performance?
A handsome ghost. Whiskey. An Irish village? Are you kidding me?t This was the series I didn’t know I needed. Binge it.
A Glimmer of Death (An Odessa Jones Mystery) by Valerie Wilson Wesley
Until now, Odessa Jones’ inherited ability to read emotions and foretell danger has protected her. But second sight didn’t warn her she would soon be a widow–and about to lose her home and the catering business she’s worked so hard to build. The only things keeping Dessa going are her love for baking and her sometimes-mellow cat, Juniper. Unfortunately, putting her life back together means taking a gig at an all-kinds-of-shady real estate firm run by volatile owner Charlie Risko…
Until Charlie is brutally killed–and Dessa’s bullied co-worker is arrested for murder. Dessa can’t be sure who’s guilty. But it doesn’t take a psychic to discover that everyone from Charlie’s much-abused staff to his long-suffering younger wife had multiple reasons to want him dead. And as Dessa follows a trail of lies through blackmail, dead-end clues, and corruption, she needs to see the truth fast–or a killer will bury her deep down with it.
If you loved Ghost Whisperer, you’ll like this one. Different premise, same vibes.
A Spell For Trouble ( Enchanted Bay Mystery) by Esme Addison
A Spell For Trouble: Aleksandra Daniels hasn’t set foot in the quiet seaside town of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina in over twenty years. Ever since her mother’s tragic death, her father has mysteriously forbidden her from visiting her aunt and cousins. But on a whim, Alex accepts an invitation to visit her estranged relatives and to help them in their family business: an herbal apothecary known for its remarkably potent teas, salves, and folk remedies.
Bellamy Bay doesn’t look like trouble, but this is a town that harbors dark secrets. Alex discovers that her own family is at the center of salacious town gossip and that they are rumored to be magical healers descended from mermaids. She brushes this off as nonsense until a local is poisoned and her aunt Lidia is arrested for the crime. Alex is certain Lidia is being framed, and she resolves to find out why.
Alex’s investigation unearths stories that some have gone to desperate lengths to conceal: forbidden affairs, family rivalries, and the truth about Alex’s own ancestry. And when the case turns deadly, Alex learns that not only are these secrets worth hiding, but they may even be worth killing for.
Oh – this is me! Scratching your head, wondering why I wrote about Polish mermaids. I married into it, okay? Also, herbal magick, water witches and beach life.