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Cozy Mysteries Perfect for Fall


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As the leaves fall from the trees and the days grow colder, the thought of curling up with a good book becomes more enticing than ever. Although I love reading (and writing) cozy mysteries at any time of the year, there’s something about the cooler weather that makes the genre even more appealing, and I love to have a stack of fall-themed cozies ready to read when autumn arrives. In my mind, there’s nothing better than being pulled right into the fall atmosphere of a cozy mystery so I can almost smell the hint of wood smoke in the chilly air and hear the crunch of leaves underfoot. As a writer, I hope to provide that same experience for my readers.

The fifth installment of the Literary Pub Mystery series, Through the Liquor Glass, takes place in October and is centered around a food and drink festival called A Taste of Shady Creek. The festival highlights the town of Shady Creek’s many restaurants and food and drink producers, including the Inkwell Pub, owned and operated by series protagonist Sadie Coleman. With the pub located in a renovated grist mill, offering literary-themed food and drinks, and hosting book clubs in a cozy room with a woodstove, the Inkwell is the perfect place to spend a fall evening.

Of course, the autumn season can’t go too smoothly. While Sadie is taking part in the festival and preparing for Halloween, a body turns up dead at the craft brewery owned by her boyfriend, Grayson Blake. Grayson quickly becomes the prime suspect and goes into hiding to avoid arrest. Sadie sets out to clear his name, but with a long list of suspects, foodie writers with attitude, and her visiting mother to deal with, she’s definitely got her hands full. Through the Liquor Glass also features a corn maze, stormy nights, rumors of a haunted house, and lots of autumn atmosphere.

The inspiration for many of the events that take place in my books comes from the small town where I now live. My town’s pumpkin harvest festival, complete with pumpkin catapult competition, gave me the idea for the autumn festival (also with a pumpkin catapult competition) in the first Literary Pub Mystery, Wine and Punishment. The food and drink festival featured in Through the Liquor Glass was also inspired by a similar real-life event that took place in my town before the pandemic hit.

If you want to immerse yourself in fall festivities from the comfort of your own home, there are many cozy mysteries you can turn to. Below, I’ve listed several cozies featuring fall festivals that will give you all the autumn feels as well as a great mystery to puzzle out.

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The Cider Shop Rules by Julie Anne Lindsey

What could be more suitable for fall reading than a cozy mystery centered around apples and apple cider? This series even features a character named Granny Smythe (you’ve got to love an apple pun!). This is the third book in the Cider Shop Mystery series about Winona Mae Montgomery (Winnie) and her cider shop, which is located in the historic Mail Pouch barn on her family’s orchard property. In The Cider Shop Rules, the orchard’s Fall Harvest Festival is in full swing, but when the owner of the local pumpkin patch turns up dead in the back of Winnie’s truck, the season suddenly gets more complicated. This cozy has so many great autumn elements, including a pumpkin patch, scarecrows, and a corn maze. Plus, we can’t forget the apple cider!

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A Waffle Lot of Murder by Lena Gregory

While autumn in her new home of Boggy Creek, Florida isn’t what New York transplant Gia Morelli is used to, there’s still plenty of spooky season spirit and fall fun. On top of running her all-day breakfast café, Gia takes part in Boggy Creek’s Haunted Town Festival. The festival takes place on deserted farmlands and involves teams of participants transforming old buildings into spooky spectacles. The festival’s fear factor gets amped up when Gia and her best friend find a dead body in the woods.

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Digging Up the Remains by Julia Henry

For those who prefer a protagonist of a more mature age, the Garden Squad Mystery series is a great choice. Digging Up the Remains, the third book in the series, takes place during the fall festival in Goosebush, Massachusetts. The main character, retiree Lilly Jayne, is involved in planning the festival’s activities, which include a 10k run and a haunted house on her expansive front lawn. Lilly’s life becomes even busier when she and the fellow members of her Garden Squad set out to solve the mysterious death of an unscrupulous reporter who has threatened several Goosebush residents.

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A Stew to a Kill by Jenny Kales

A Stew to a Kill is the fourth book in the Callie’s Kitchen Mystery series. Callie Costas owns and operates a Greek-American eatery in Crystal Bay, Wisconsin, where she lives with her daughter and her adorable Yorkie. While Callie is preparing for the local fall festival, skeleton display, and costume ball, a death at a neighboring business complicates her life. This book offers autumn atmosphere, a great mystery, and recipes for mouth-watering food. While not from this particular book, one of my all-time favorite recipes (Greek rice pudding or Rizogalo) comes from this series.

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No Parm No Foul by Linda Reilly

No Parm No Foul is the second Grilled Cheese Mystery by Linda Reilly. In this book, Carly Hale, owner of a grilled cheese eatery, is taking part in the Scary-Licious Smorgasbord competition. One of her fellow competitors, the owner of the local sub shop, winds up dead after a very public and very angry outburst aimed at Carly. That spells trouble for both Carly and her boyfriend. I love that this series is set in Vermont, like my Literary Pub series is. There’s something about fall in New England that makes it the perfect backdrop for cozy mysteries. Reilly’s series is charming and fun, but beware—it will have you craving grilled cheese sandwiches!

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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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