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7 cozy series from the Southeast Coast

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When I moved from central New England to the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, I left behind many things, including family, friends, and ice scrapers. One thing I retained: my love of mystery novels. Especially cozies which, as the name implies, reassure the reader that all will, indeed, be well. At least until the next dead body turns up.

My favorite cozies depict the beach-strolling appeal of the southeastern U.S. But for the amateur sleuths who populate the pages, life is not a permanent vacation. Not only are these plucky women puzzling out perplexing crimes, they’re also juggling the contradictory demands of family and career. And they’re drawing strength—as well as comic relief—from vital friendships.

Whether you prefer small towns or big cities, the following series invite you to bask in warm weather and cheer on courageous heroines. Your cozy tour begins in my adopted home state and makes several stops along the way, concluding at the southern-most point of the continental U.S. Enjoy! And don’t forget your sunscreen.


The Enchanted Bay Mysteries by Esme Addison

Plant lore? Check. Small-town rivalries? Check. Water witches? Check. Sleuth Aleksandra Daniels returns to her seaside hometown of Bellamy Bay, North Carolina, to help run the family business: an herbal apothecary known for its folk remedies. Author Esme Addison was inspired by the Polish myth of the Mermaid of Warsaw, and the result is a satisfying mix of murder, magic, and romance. A Spell For Trouble is the first in this two-book series and earned an Agatha nomination for Best First Book. The sequel is A Hex For Danger.


The Books by the Bay Mysteries by Ellery Adams

In Oyster Bay, North Carolina, Olivia Limoges becomes the newest member of the lively Bayside Book Writers, a group of scribblers who support each other’s authorly endeavors—and sleuthing proclivities. In this bingeable eight-book series, bodies show up on beaches, beneath piers, and in summer rental cottages. With titles like A Deadly Cliché and Lethal Letters, lovers of the written word will appreciate the storytelling themes. And lovers of the coast will savor the tourist town vibes. Book 1: A Killer Plot.


The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs

Another binge-worthy bestselling series steeped in Southern hospitality, in which the rich history and mystery of Charleston, South Carolina, come to life. Sleuth Theodosia Browning is the intrepid owner of the beloved Indigo Tea Shop, where guests enjoy from-scratch soups and other delectable nibbles. Theo’s crime-solving adventures range from candlelit tours and wine-tastings to yacht races and steeplechases. Death By Darjeeling kicks off the action-packed series. The twenty-third installment, A Dark and Stormy Tea, is slated for August 2022.


The Magical Bakery Mysteries by Bailey Cates

Ten scrumptious, supernaturally-infused whodunits, whose titles include Charms and Chocolate Chips and Cookies and Clairvoyance. Sleuth Katie Lightfoot dons an apron alongside her aunt Lucy and uncle Ben at the Honeybee Bakery, serving bespelled treats to the good people of Savannah, Georgia. As the series progresses, Katie masters her magical powers, sharpens her detection prowess, and gathers together a coven, the Spellbook Club. The series opens with Brownies and Broomsticks; the most recent entry is Spirits and Sourdough.


The Coffee Lover’s Mysteries by Tara Lush

Welcome to Perkatory, a bustling coffee joint in the Gulf Coast town of Devil’s Beach, Florida. Barista Lana Lewis is a former reporter whose investigative skills come in handy when trouble brews. Fun sidekicks include her hippie dad; a shih tzu named Stanley; and her punky coworker, Erica. Three books make up this tasty series: Grounds For Murder, Cold Brew Corpse, and the forthcoming Live and Let Grind. A spinoff novella, Give Me Chills, about a New Hampshirite who opens an artisan ice cream truck in Devil’s Beach, is expected in July 2022.


The Caribbean Kitchen Mysteries by Raquel V. Reyes

Mango, Mambo, and Murder, book 1 in this flavorful, Miami-set series, won the LEFTY for Best Humorous Mystery. Sleuth Miriam Quiñones-Smith is a food anthropologist who puts her academic career on hold to raise her young son. When she takes a short-term job as a Caribbean cooking expert on a Spanish-language TV show, suspicious deaths ensue, with a controversial Cuban herbalist becoming the prime suspect. Author Raquel V. Reyes peppers the pages with Spanglish. Much-anticipated book 2, Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking, will hit shelves this fall.


The Key West Food Critic Mysteries by Lucy Burdette

Key West blossoms in full tropical color in this long-running series. Sleuth Hayley Snow is a restaurant reviewer for Key Zest magazine and lives on a houseboat with four-legged companions. Recurring supporting characters heighten the charm, including her octogenarian best friend, the irrepressible Miss Gloria. Book 1, An Appetite For Murder, kicks off the escapades. Book 10, The Key Lime Crime, won the Florida Book Awards bronze medal for popular fiction. Look for the latest installment, book 12, A Dish To Die For, in August 2022.



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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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