My favorite cozy animal mysteries!
It is that time of year again when the best thing I can imagine is curling up on the couch with a pile of cats and a good book. Fall always brings out that hibernation side of me.
I have to admit that I have a soft spot for cozy animal mystery books. Usually these involve libraries, peaceful small towns and extra smart cats and dogs with deep connections to their people. While I love great literature, (just finished the Grapes of Wrath) I find by the time my day is done I just want a book that makes me feel good and makes me laugh a little.
Over the years I have come to have a few favorite series and I wanted to share them with you.
Chet and Bernie Mysteries by Spencer Quinn
I just discovered this series and am really enjoying it. Chet is a very smart, think border collie x 10, mutt dog who joins his person Bernie the private detective in solving crimes in their community. These books are narrated by Chet and I love that the author has left Chet a dog and not made him a human. He gets distracted, loves food, and has the normal dog loyalty that we cherish in our own companions. Chet has a great sense of humor and Bernie is both tough and compassionate. I find myself wishing for a sidekick like Chet! Dog On It is the first book in this series.
Joe Grey Mysteries by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
This is my favorite mystery series. It mixes talking cats and mythology and makes you laugh. Tom Grey is just a normal tom cat until he witnesses a murder and discovers that he can not only talk and read but can also think like a human. After initially being quite disturbed by this development he puts this new skill to good use by ordering smoked salmon from the local deli and billing it to his person Clyde’s credit card. He soon discovers another cat in his town who has the same abilities as he does. Together they work to ferret out clues to the murder and call in anonymous tips to the police. Throughout this series Shirley weaves in ancient Celtic mythology and introduces us to other cats who has this special ability. The first book is Cat on the Edge and I would recommend reading these in order if possible as there are human stories the carry on throughout the books. This is a long series so if you enjoy it you are in for a treat.
Cat in the Stacks Mysteries by Miranda James (actually written by a man)
This is a newer series and a little slower paced then the first two. It is set in a small town in Mississippi and centers around Charlie the new librarian and his cat Diesel. Diesel is a smart Maine coon as large as a dog who walks on a leash and goes everywhere with Charlie. As in most of these series there is a murder and Diesel and Charlie end up trying to figure out what is going on. This one is definitely on the cozy side and although a little old fashion in its tone still a lot of fun. The first book is Murder Past Due and so far there are only two books written.
Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown
This is the series that got me started on reading these animal mysteries. Rita Mae Brown is a fabulous author and is able to weave wonderful tales in her books. Mrs Murphy, Pewter (who are both cats) and Tucker the corgi help their mom Harry the postmaster solve murders in their small town. The animals in these stories really come in life and I also enjoy the humans involved with them. If you can put aside the fact that in this very small town it seems like any newcomer is set up to die these books are a lot of fun to read. The animals always end up saving the day in the end!
There are many books in this series and up until the last two they were all wonderful. Lately Rita seems to make her books more about politics and less about the animals you will grow to love so I recommend stopping before Cat of the Century. The first book is Wish You Were Here.
Magical Cats Mysteries by Sophie Kelly
This is another series focusing on a librarian. Kathleen moves to a small town and ends up with two stray cats, Owen and Hercules. Little does she know that they have magical abilities to disappear and walk through solid walls. My favorite part of these books are the people in them and the town where it feels like everyone will help anyone in need. This series like Cat in the Stacks is more on the cozy side but I enjoyed it all the same. The first book is Curiosity Thrilled the Cat.
Dixie Hemingway Mysteries by Blaize Clement
This series doesn’t involve animals solving mysteries but does involve a petsitter in the Florida Keys who always seems to be in the middle of crime. Dixie used to be a sheriff’s deputy but gave up the job and now takes care of pets for a living. This series is faster paced and has many new and returning colorful characters. The animals add to the background of these stories but don’t have any magical abilities or any direct involvement in the crimes she is trying to solve. Still a lot of fun. Definitely read these in order starting with Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter.
If you have other favorite mystery series please share them with me. I’m always looking for new ones. Hope you enjoy these!