There’s something about food and cozy mysteries that make them go together like apple pie and ice cream. Maybe it’s because cozy mysteries are like comfort food for the mind. They provide a safe escape from the stresses and tribulations of everyday life and allow readers to sink into a fictional world where the bad guys always get caught, the setting feels like home, and the regular characters are like old friends. Delicious food can soothe your soul after a long and difficult day, and cozy mysteries can do the same. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why culinary cozies seem to be such a hit with readers.
Among all of the available culinary cozy mysteries, there are many series focused on candies and desserts. I’ve recently ventured into that realm myself with my latest book, Six Sweets Under, the first in the True Confections Mystery series. The main character, Becca Ransom, is a chocolatier at the chocolate shop owned by her grandparents, Lolly and Pops. She works there with her various cousins and other relatives and spends her days making bonbons and truffles (when she’s not sleuthing!).
For me, writing about a chocolate shop was a perfect match, since chocolate is my favorite food on the planet. I know I’m not alone in my love for chocolate, so I’m hoping readers will enjoy visiting True Confections and meeting all the colorful characters who work and shop there. I’ve included recipes in this series, so readers can have a real taste of what the fictional chocolate shop offers its customers.
If you enjoy culinary cozy mysteries, especially those focused on sweet treats, there are plenty of scrumptious books for you to sink your teeth into. From chocolate to donuts, there are cozies to satisfy any reader’s sweet tooth. Here is a sampling of delectable series with candy or dessert themes:
Ice Cream Shop Mysteries by Meri Allen
In the first book in this series, The Rocky Road to Ruin, CIA librarian Riley Rhodes has returned home to Penniman, Connecticut, where she helps out at the Udderly Delicious Ice Cream Shop. After an undercover mission gone wrong, reconnecting with friends and family and spending time in the local ice cream shop is exactly what Riley needs. Of course, she soon gets tangled up in a murder, the victim being the brother of Riley’s dear friend Caroline. A snooty Persian and a cute rescue kitten add to the coziness of this series and will likely melt your heart, while the featured ice cream flavors will make your mouth water.
The Ice Cream Parlor Mysteries by Abby Collette
This is another fun series centered around an ice cream shop. In the first book, A Deadly Inside Scoop, we meet Bronwyn Crewes, who has returned to her hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, where she’s trying to restore Crewes Creamery to its former glory. She soon finds herself with far more than construction delays to worry about when one of her family members becomes implicated in a murder. Filled with quirky characters and mouth-watering ice cream flavors, this series is definitely a sweet treat for lovers of culinary cozies.
The Candy-Coated Mysteries by Nancy Coco
This series starts with All Fudged Up and the setting is as sweet and irresistible as the fudge featured in the stories. These books take place on Mackinac Island, where cars aren’t allowed and everyone gets around by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot. World famous for its fudge shops, Mackinac Island practically oozes with charm, and I’d love to go there in person one day. In the first book of the series, Allie McMurphy has inherited a historic hotel and fudge shop that have been in her family for generations. She’s up to her neck in renovations when she discovers a corpse in one of the hotel closets. In addition to fun stories and a charming setting, the Candy-Coated Mysteries include an abundance of recipes for readers to try.
The Beacon Bakeshop Mysteries by Darci Hannah
Perhaps the only thing cozier than a bakery is a bakery located in a beautiful converted lighthouse. That’s the setting for Hannah’s Beacon Bakeshop Mysteries, which follow Lindsey Bakewell on her baking and sleuthing adventures in the town of Beacon Harbor, Michigan. Add an adorable Newfoundland dog named Wellington, and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a delicious cozy mystery series. In the first book, Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop, Lindsey’s fresh start turns sour when her ex-fiancé’s girlfriend is poisoned and Lindsey becomes the number one suspect. Like many culinary cozies, Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop includes recipes, so if the story leaves you hungry for food as well as for more books in the series, you can try your hand at whipping up some of Lindsey’s treats.
The Deputy Donut Mysteries by Ginger Bolton
For lovers of donuts and cozy mysteries, Ginger Bolton’s Deputy Donut Mysteries should not be missed. This series starts with Survival of the Fritters and follows former 911 operator Emily Westhill as she runs a coffee and donut shop while solving mysteries on the side. Her adorable and spunky cat, Deputy Donut, adds to the sweetness of the series, and the books are likely to leave you craving both donuts and more of the series. The Deputy Donut Mysteries also have some of the best title puns I’ve seen, with Goodbye Cruller World being one of my favorites.
The Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries by Dorothy St. James
I’m a big fan of St. James’s Beloved Bookroom Mysteries so I was delighted to discover that she has also written a series about a chocolate shop. The Southern Chocolate Shop series starts with Asking for Truffle and follows main character Penn as she travels to a seaside town to dig around for clues about her friend’s murder. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with the town and the local chocolate shop, but she discovers a newfound passion for chocolate and the possibility of a new life for herself. Of course, she also uncovers several secrets and motives for murder, putting herself in danger in the process. With fun characters, a strong chocolate theme, and a real puzzle of a mystery, Asking for Truffle is as delicious as a box of chocolates.