My two greatest literary passions are cozy murder mysteries and good cuisine, thus Culinary Cozy Mysteries are a wonderful fit for me. Each book has its own theme, such as pizza, ice cream, or cupcakes. Several include recipes at the end, while the titles of the others are usually awful puns.
An observation I’ve made about these series is that the initial mystery is almost always one of the protagonists’ own lives. It is up to the protagonist to exonerate himself and/or their loved ones from murder charges. Subsequent installments in this series of cozy murder mysteries feature a new set of potential killers in the culinary world.
Ten of the best murder mysteries set in the culinary sector are listed below.
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DEATH BY DUMPLING
BY VIVIEN CHEN
(A NOODLE SHOP MYSTERY)
There are currently five books in the Chen’s Noodle Shop Mysteries series, with at least two more on the way. After quitting her job, Lana Lee finds herself working at the noodle restaurant her family owns. But when a customer comes up dead after eating one of their shrimp dumplings, she gets more than she bargained for. To clear her and her chef’s names, Lana must now find his killer. As an added bonus, her dog’s name is Kikkoman.
SPRINKLE WITH MURDER
BY JENN MCKINLAY
(CUPCAKE BAKERY MYSTERY)
Fairy Tale Cupcakes is the first in McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, starring Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura. Their first customer, however, turns out to be a bride who demands 500 cupcakes. Cooper and DeLaura become prime suspects in her murder when her body is discovered in a cupcake.
BY SUSANNAH HARDY
(A GREEK TO ME MYSTERY)
Georgie Nikolopatos’ husband Spiro has disappeared, while she is also trying to operate a restaurant and cope with a ghost that is stalking a film team. Things get much worse when she comes into the dead body of their chief rival, Domenic “Big Dom” DiTomasso. Finding Spiro is essential if she is to exonerate herself at this point.
AUNTY LEE’S DELIGHTS
BY OVIDIA YU
(A SINGAPOREAN MYSTERY)
After the passing of her husband, Rosie Lee opens her own restaurant called Aunty Lee’s Delights, where she offers excellent Singaporean cuisine. She starts throwing fancy dinner parties for her guests, who include her stepson Mark and his horrible wife Selina. But when a corpse turns up and one of her dinner guests doesn’t show up, she draws a connection and begins to look into it.
A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP
BY ABBY COLLETTE
(THE ICE CREAM PARLOR MYSTERIES)
Bronwyn “Win” Crewse, the protagonist of the series, is running the family business, Crewse Creamery, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It was her intention to reintroduce the shop’s famous handcrafted ice cream. However, her opening day is marred by the discovery of the death of a man who had mistreated her family in the past and an early blizzard that blankets the town. Now, she needs to clear her family’s name while while attempting to get the business off the ground. Be forewarned: it’s likely that ice cream will be on your mind.
A RIESLING TO DIE
BY J. C. EATON
(THE WINE TRAIL MYSTERIES)
Screenwriter Norrie Ellington takes over the family vineyard for a year while her sister and brother-in-law take a break. However, Elsbeth Waters, the innkeeper nearby, makes it apparent that she despises the local vineyards. However, Ellington will have to clear her name when Waters’ death is discovered on the property of Two Witches Winery.
HUMMUS AND HOMICIDE
BY TINA KASHIAN
(A KEBAB KITCHEN MYSTERY)
After leaving her high-powered legal career, Lucy Berberian has returned to Ocean Crest, New Jersey, to work at the family business, Kebab Kitchen. Heather Banks, a snobby and terrible high school classmate, still exists, much to her dismay. Because of his position as health inspector, Banks writes up the restaurant for infractions before he mysteriously dies on the sidewalk. This makes Berberian the prime suspect.
DEATH IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES
BY KATHY AARONS
(A CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY)
In honor of their bookshop and chocolate business, owners Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are holding the Great Fudge Cook-off in the community of West Riverdale, Maryland. However, Serrano becomes the prime suspect after the portrait photographer is found dead from eating poisoned truffles, prompting Serrano and Russell to work together in order to exonerate her.
A SLICE OF MURDER
BY CHRIS CAVENDER
(PIZZA LOVER’S MYSTERY)
Eleanor Swift, proprietor of A Slice of Delight in Timber Ridge, North Carolina, is in need of emotional space. When a customer dies in the small hours of the morning, there is, alas, a chasm between their hopes and the realities of the situation.
THE CREPES OF WRATH
BY SARAH FOX
(PANCAKE HOUSE MYSTERY)
When Marley McKinney’s cousin gets pneumonia, she runs the pancake restaurant while he recovers. When her cousin is murdered and she discovers stolen goods at the pancake business, she recruits her cat, Flapjack, and an ex-lover to help her solve the case.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at my favorite culinary cozy mysteries. Do you have a favorite series that I missed? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to share with your friends. And if you haven’t read any of these yet, what are you waiting for? They make a great summer read!