The best cosy crime books to curl up with

Do you like your crime cosy? If so, here are our top reads.  

Cosy crime is perfect for crime and thriller readers who are looking for some light-hearted escapism. Packed full of gripping mysteries and memorable detectives, these are must-reads for fans of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and M.C. Beaton's books.

The Antique Hunter's Guide to Murder

by C L Miller

Book cover for The Antique Hunter's Guide to Murder

Freya Lockwood has avoided the quaint English village she grew up in for the last twenty years, until she is forced to return when her estranged mentor and antiques dealer, Arthur Crockleford, suspiciously dies. She receives a letter from Arthur and discovers his journals, plunging her back into her past. Joining with her Aunt Carole, Arthur's loyal friend, they attend an antiques weekend at a manor. There, amidst poor replicas and guests with hidden agendas, they have to solve the mystery and uncover the killer before it's too late.

Death on the Lusitania

by R. L. Graham

Book cover for Death on the Lusitania

Set on the RMS Lusitania's final journey in 1915, Patrick Gallagher, a government civil servant, escorts a British diplomat back to England. But after a passenger, secluded in a locked cabin, is believed to have killed himself with a missing firearm, Gallagher is requested to investigate. Was it suicide or a meticulously planned murder? Gallagher believes one of the passengers is a deadly killer who could strike again to protect their true reasons for being on board. And all the while, the ship sails on towards Europe, where deadly submarines patrol dark waters.

The Cat Who Caught a Killer

by L T Shearer

Book cover for The Cat Who Caught a Killer

Meet Conrad the cat. You’ve never met a detective like him before. Neither has Lulu Lewis when he walks into her life one summer’s day. Lulu had expected a gentle retirement from her career as a police detective, and while mourning the recent death of her husband, she planned to spend her days on her new canal boat and visiting her mother-in-law Emily in a nearby care home. But when Emily dies suddenly in suspicious circumstances, Lulu senses foul play and resolves to find out what really happened. And Conrad will be with her every step of the way. Continue the mystery with The Cat Who Solved Three Murders.

Date With Death

by Julia Chapman

Book cover for Date With Death

Dismissed policeman Samson O’Brien returns to hometown Bruncliffe in Yorkshire Dales to establish the Dales Detective Agency, but finds the villagers unwelcoming. Delilah Metcalfe, striving to sustain her Dales Dating Agency, encounters Samson when his first case, a presumed suicide, leads to a series of deaths linked to Delilah's agency. As a shared acquaintance falls under suspicion, Samson and Delilah, despite their differences, realize they must collaborate to unravel the mystery surrounding the dating deaths. Date With Death is the first book in Julia Chapman's The Dales Detective Series.

A Little Local Murder

by Robert Barnard

Book cover for A Little Local Murder

This classic small-town murder mystery has everything you could ask from a cosy crime novel. A radio documentary on the small village of Twytching provokes a fierce rivalry among the villagers. Inspector George Parrish is keen to stay out of all the fuss until the murder of one of the villagers and a rash of poison pen letters uncovering secrets about Twytching's leading citizens forces him to get involved. Robert Barnard's ability to prepare the reader for the totally unexpected, combined with his incisive character portrayal, makes A Little Local Murder an early gem of detective fiction. 

Dr Finlay's Casebook

by A. J. Cronin

Book cover for Dr Finlay's Casebook

Dr Finlay's Casebook brings together Adventures of a Black Bag and Dr Finlay of Tannochbrae, A. J. Cronin's two hugely popular collections featuring his most famous creation, Dr Finlay, made famous by the much-loved adaptations for radio and television. Set in and around the fictional Scottish town of Levenford and village of Tannochbrae during the inter-war years, the stories found here are heart-warming, funny and touching, full of fascinating characters and unforgettable encounters.

The Human Flies

by Hans Olav Lahlum

Book cover for The Human Flies

Hans Olav Lahlum is Norway's answer to Agatha Christie. Oslo, 1968. Ambitious young detective Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen is called to an apartment block, where a man has been found murdered. The victim –  Harald Olesen – a legendary hero of the Resistance during the Nazi occupation. As Detective Inspector Kolbjørn Kristiansen begins to investigate, it seems clear that the murderer could only be one of Olesen's fellow tenants in the building. Soon, he will untangle the web of lies surrounding Olesen's neighbours; each of whom, it seems, had their own reasons for wanting Olesen dead. 

The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Death in Sunset Grove

by Minna Lindgren

Book cover for The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency: Death in Sunset Grove

There's a mystery to solve at Sunset Grove retirement home. Best friends Siiri and Irma might have a combined age of nearly 180, but they are still just as inquisitive and witty as when they first met decades ago. When their comfortable world is upturned by a suspicious death, they are determined to find out exactly what happened and why, so they begin their own private investigations and form The Lavender Ladies Detective Agency. The trouble is, beneath Sunset Grove's calm facade, there is more going on than meets the eye, and Siiri and Irma soon discover far more than they bargained for.

The Murder at the Vicarage

by Agatha Christie

Book cover for The Murder at the Vicarage

Agatha Christie is the undisputed queen of detective fiction and her tales of the unlikely amateur sleuth, Miss Jane Marple, are some of her most beloved mysteries. Murder at the Vicarage marks the debut of Christie’s unflappable female detective. With her gift for sniffing out the ‘wickedness in village life’, Miss Marple is led on her first case to a crime scene at the local vicarage where Colonel Protheroe, the magistrate whom everyone in town hates, has been shot through the head.

A Bird in the Hand

by Ann Cleeves

Book cover for A Bird in the Hand

Tom French, one of the bet birders in England, is found dead, lying in a marsh on the Norfolk coast, with his head bashed in and his binoculars still around his neck. Everyone liked him. Or did they? George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher who decides quietly to look into the brutal crime remains baffled. But with help from his lovely wife, Molly, George gradually discerns the true markings of a killer. All he has to do is prove it . . . before the murderer strikes again. From Ann Cleeves, author of the Shetland and Vera Stanhope series, comes a gripping whodunnit. 

Here, Emma shares some of her favourite cosy crime novels: