I love reading cozy mysteries.  They usually feature a strong, intelligent female amateur sleuth with an interesting profession.  The lead characters range from coffee shop owner to dog trainer, florist to quilter, librarian to homemaker.  They’re frequently set in small towns, and feature a cast of sometimes quirky secondary characters.   Somehow, they get involved with a murder investigation, and frequently, local law enforcement either does not take the amateur sleuth’s efforts to help solve the crime very seriously, or is looking at the wrong perpetrator.  Cozies are fun, easy reads that engage the while providing entertainment.  I particularly enjoy cozies that are part of a series, especially since for me, the setting and characters are almost more important than the actual murder mystery.  I love being able to meet the same cast of characters again and again.  It’s a little like spending time with old friends.  

Many of these cozies feature cats, and of course, they are my favorites.  I’ve reviewed a number of them by various authors here on The Conscious Cat, and I previously introduced you to Lorna Barrett, the author of the Booktown mystery series featuring Miss Marple, the (sometimes sleuthing)cat. 

When Lorraine Bartlett (Lorna’s real name) asked me to review A Crafty Killing, the first in her Victoria Square Mystery series, I jumped at the chance. Even though the two cats featured in  A Crafty Killing are not a large part of the book, one of the cats plays a crucial role when it comes to resolving the story, so I decided that that was enough to qualify it as a “cat mystery.”  And besides, I loved the book, so I wanted to share it with you. 

The book features Katie Bonner, a young widow.  When Ezra, her decesased husband’s business partner, is found murdered, Katie finds out, much to her surprise, that his will designates her as executor of his estate.  She takes on managing Artisan Alley, a collection of booths for artisans and crafters located in a renovated apple warehouse in Western New York.  When she begins to dig into the business records, she finds that Artisan Alley is in dire financial straits.  As Katie attempts to revive the failing business, she also becomes involved in investigating Ezra’s death – and begins to wonder whether perhaps her husband’s death was not an accident, as it was ruled. 

A fast moving plot, a likeable heroine, well-developed secondary characters, a wonderful sense of place, and a fascinating look into some really unique crafts make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.  And even though the two cats only make cameo appearances, they still added to my enjoyment of a delightful cozy.  I’m already looking forward to the next one in the series.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author.

17 Comments on Why I love cozy mysteries (with or without cats)

  1. Have you tried the kindle series The Fancy Cat Mysteries? A new one was just published, Fancy’s Signature. They are fun.

  2. I would very much like to join your club of cat mystery devotees. As a reader of all things cozy and author of a Cozy Cat Mystery myself, currently seeking publication, I am interested in meeting others who love the cozies and the cats. I’ve bookmarked your site and will carefuly check out the suggested reading material and links. I am also a cat lover, owner of seven cats… yes seven… four house cats and three ferals that come night and morning to the back door for groceries.
    My cozy mystery has a female protagonist and a cat who assists or INSISTs in helping solve the crimes.

  3. my name is also leila and i really love the cozy mystery books too, ESPECIALLY this time of year! i even just bought a new fireplace to curl up to with my book, cat and tea.

  4. Hi Ingrid,

    One of your friends, Marg, told me about you so I came over to check out your blog and have signed on to follow you! I haven’t read very many cozy mysteries, with or without kitties, but this one sounds interesting. I write for a blog called Responsible Pet Ownership, and would love for you to check it out sometimes. Have a great weekend!
    Julia

  5. Ingrid, I’m a fan (and frustrated writer) of cozies, too. Have you ever been to the Malice Domestic conference? Usually the beginning of May in Arlington, VA – a great collection of authors and fans of traditional mysteries, terrific panels, and loads of fun.

    I’m certainly going to look up Lorraine’s new series – it sounds like a winner. Thanks for the review – I love getting the scoop on good cat mystery books.

  6. Great review! I’m also a BIG fan of the cozy…..especially if there is a cat or multiples thereof involved. This sounds like a great read and I’m going to pick up a copy on my next book store trip. Cozies pull the reader in very quickly with their small-town atmosphere and interesting and sometimes quirky characters. I published my own cozy a few years ago (complete with young female P.I. in small town in Virginia…and YES she has a cat named Eddie) and would have written more (my intention was to do a series) were it not for the interference of “life” and some serious health issues……I am working on my sequel now – FINALLY.

    Thanks again for this “tip” on what sounds like a great cozy series…..I’ll start with book one and look forward to the rest.

    Pamela June Kimmell, Author/Artist

    • I’ll have to check out your book, Pamela – it sounds like it’s right up my alley! I hope you enjoy A Crafty Killing, and I’d encourage you to check out Lorna Barrett’s Booktown series, too, if you’re not already familiar with it.

      • Hi Ingrid…….I made note of Lorna Barrett’s series as well…….one of my favorite things is visiting bookstores so I have lots of “gotta get this” books on my list! Thanks again.

        Pam

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