Brrr. As I’m writing this article, the wind is whipping outside of my office window leaving a trail of snowflakes and hazardous ice, in its wake. With the inability to travel due to the pandemic, and the subzero temperatures that are keeping many of us huddled indoors, I’ve decided the best way to escape is an armchair staycation. Are you with me? Armchair travel is all about discovering the world, without going anywhere. And what better destination than the setting of a beloved cozy mystery town? Cozy mysteries are unique in that the author purposely creates these fictional community-based worlds—typically set in a small town, that are utterly quaint and perfect (minus the murder of course). Many of us would love to visit or even live there! The characters too become like long lost friends—the kind whose couches we’d love to crash on. So, should we go?
Why fight the covid tests, lost luggage, canceled flights, overbooked hotels, and the fancy wardrobe with the uncomfortable shoes? Never mind the broken-down rental car, or the limited seating restaurant. Why put yourself through such stress? Instead, how about opting for a brand-new pair of fleece pajama’s, perhaps a comfy lap blanket, a 20 oz. mug loaded with a cocoa bomb, and a really good book. Oh, and no worries about boarding the dog or cat, they get to travel with you. They’ll either be settled comfortably your lap with their nose in the mystery, or right by your side.
Have I convinced you yet? Ready to join me?
I’m assuming by now you’re at least leaning into my idea. The only question left would be, what cozy mystery town should we pay a visit? Fear not! I have done the research for us and compiled a list of some cool (forgive the winter pun) places we can fly off to. And by the way, all of these are a series of books, so you can visit them in multiple seasons. Choose wisely, depending on your mood. Do you want to escape winter and visit summer, or do you live in a warm climate and want to feel the cold breeze and travel to a winter destination? Please secure all luggage in the overhead compartment, buckle your seatbelt, and yes, turn off the cell phone! We’re just about ready for takeoff!
Our first stop is to the east coast of the United States.
THE CAPE COD FOODIE MYSTERIES, by Amy Pershing
Beautiful Cape Cod, Massachusetts is known for its sand, surf, and seafood. Long walks on a sunset beach, and digging for quahogs, um yes please! Or how about a sail on the bay? We can hook up with Sam Barnes who inherits a house on the Cape and lands a job writing restaurant reviews. It seems like hanging out with her could be the perfect pairing as she’ll introduce us to all the fine dining! Let’s just say, I’m sure we won’t leave hungry.
BEYOND THE PAGE BOOKSTORE MYSTERIES, by Lauren Elliott
Since we’re already on the east coast, let’s head off the Cape and travel north to Lauren Elliot’s fictional town of Greyborne, Massachusetts. Nothing screams vacation more to me than a New England seaside town. Having grown up out east, maybe that’s the gravitational pull. But who wouldn’t want to visit Addie Greyborne, living in Greyborne Manor, on a hilltop overlooking the harbor? Not only that, but Addie owns and runs “Beyond the Page—Books & Curios,” bookstore. Bibliophile friends, pull a book off the shelf, and count me in!
Let’s remain on the east coast, and head on over to Maryland.
A RIVERBANK KNITTING MYSTERY, by Allie Pleiter
Some of us, while on vacation, love to scout out great craft shops, and places to indulge in our other hobbies as well. In the Riverbank Knitting series, we get to eye out skeins of yarn, in a quaint Maryland riverside town called, Collinstown. Let’s meander up and down the herringbone brick sidewalks of Main Street where we can linger and chat with quirky characters, that soon become like old friends.
BEACON BAKESHOP MYSTERIES, by Darci Hannah
Traveling over to the Midwest, it would be remiss if we didn’t pay a visit to the coast of Lake Michigan. The Beacon Bakeshop series is set in the quaint, lakeside village of Beacon Harbor, Michigan. But wait, there’s more… We get to meet Lindsey Bakewell, who owns and operates a bakery which is located at the far end of the public beach in the old, refurbished Lighthouse. Squeee! If you’re a foodie like me, this screams dream vacation. Everything within her pages will have you craving mouthwatering desserts and summer Greatlakes breezes!
How about an international jog along our journey?
AGATHA RAISIN MYSTERIES, By MC Beaton
Let’s travel to this picture-book English village in the Cotswold’s where MC Beaton has charmed the reader to return again and again. We’ll be transported to rolling hills and English villages built with honey colored stone where we meet Agatha Raisin in the village of Carsley. Agatha, who has given up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat to retire early in the quiet village, but we find that she’s anything but placid. Agatha’s personality is colorful and wild, she’ll be sure to take us on a quite a tour of southern England!
Hope you enjoyed traveling along with me. Until we see each other side- by- side on an airplane, I’ll be curled up in my favorite chair. I’m sure you’ll find me, mug in hand, nose in a mystery, and relishing in my armchair staycation.