There are so many reasons to love fall, from the splendor of the changing leaves to settling back into a comfortable routine after a hectic summer. Cooler temperatures and fewer insect pests encourage us to spend more time in nature which has been proven to have numerous mental health benefits. And of course, there’s the seasonal appeal of pumpkin spice everything, cozy sweaters, and curling up with a great mystery as the days get shorter.
It’s this great contrast between comfort and crime that serves as the perfect backdrop for a murder mystery. My second novel, Trotting into Trouble, is set in late fall in Northwest Arkansas, where the autumn colors are framed against the limestone bluffs. I might be a little biased since this is also my home, but in my opinion, the beauty of the Ozarks is hard to beat. Sports and hunting are huge pastimes in the South, so when a beloved high school coach is found dead from an apparent hunting accident, any hope for an uneventful, comfortable fall is lost for my main character as she gets dragged into another murder investigation.
My love of the season in general makes me reach for books set in the fall every chance I get. Cozy mysteries are my comfort genre, so naturally in the season that is about all things cozy, they are my fiction of choice. For me, reading a great cozy mystery is like curling up in a warm blanket. Cozies are a genre where you know everything will turn out okay in the end, the bad guy will get their comeuppance, and no one you really care about gets killed.
These are a few of my fall favorites that hit all the high points for a great comfort read.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MURDER by Joanna Fluke
This book, published over two decades ago, is the very first Hannah Swenson mystery and arguably one of the most popular cozy mystery series ever. It’s also one of the books that ignited my love of cozy mysteries. When a delivery man is found murdered behind Hannah’s bakery surrounded by her famous chocolate chip cookies, Hannah jumps into action to keep her sweet treats from getting a stale reputation and bring a murderer to justice. The cozy fall theme is present throughout and with twenty-nine books in the series, you can find your perfect season represented as well!
THE DIVA RUNS OUT OF THYME by Krista Davis
This great cozy mystery is the first in the Domestic Diva series. Main character Sophie Winston is determined to show up her rival Natasha and win the Alexandria, Virginia’s Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. This Thanksgiving cozy has it all, a fierce rivalry, a lousy ex-husband, and a main character that needs to clear her good name.
A PAIRING TO DIE FOR by Kate Lansing
Fall in Boulder, Colorado is the backdrop for this winemaking cozy mystery, book two in the series. Parker Valentine is navigating her successful winery and her new relationship with Reid, a local chef, when his sous chef is found murdered. Reid is suspect number one and Parker is all that stands between Reid and a jail cell. I can’t think of a more beautiful fall locale than Boulder and the author does a great job of bringing that beauty to the page.
DEATH OVERDUE by Allison Brook
Set in October, this great fall cozy includes some of my favorite cozy elements, a library, a ghost, a cat (whose fantastic name is Smokey Joe), and an amateur sleuth who can hold her own in an investigation. Carrie is smart, capable, and navigates the mystery while working with the police instead of against them. There’s also the added bonus of a cold-case murder that’s potentially tied to the current one.
A DOOMFUL OF SUGAR by Catherine Bruns
Even the cover of this cozy mystery evokes the comfort and charm of fall! First in the series, Bruns’ mystery centers around Leila who returns home after her father’s murder. This is a different twist than most cozies where the victim is usually a rival or enemy to the main character. Leila finds that her brother is under suspicion and since the police haven’t found any other leads, she takes the investigation into her own hands.
A HALLOWEEN HOMICIDE by Tonya Kappes
Book three in the Holiday Cozy Mystery series, A Halloween Homicide follows Violet Rhinehammer as she covers the spooky Holiday Junction festivities for the newspaper. During the ghost walk Violet finds that one of the props is an all-too-real dead body. She must put her investigative talents to the test when someone she loves is implicated in the murder. This series really brings out the charms of each holiday and while they are a connected series, each book can be read as a standalone mystery.
ON WHAT GROUNDS by Cleo Coyle
This cozy mystery, first in the Coffeehouse Mysteries, blends in another of my favorite things—coffee. Clare is back managing New York’s historic Village Blend coffeehouse with her cat Java by her side. When she finds the assistant manager dead in the backroom, the police are quick to rule it an accident. Clare doesn’t believe it’s that simple and takes on the investigation herself. The fall setting and coffeehouse vibes blend together for a delicious brew of comfort and crime.