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Looking for a mystery to settle down with in front of the fire this holiday season?   Here are some Christmas themed cozy mysteries or crime stories from this year,  featuring eccentric and secretive characters/suspects, dead bodies in unexpected places, and amateur sleuths, that are sure to make for entertaining winter reading.

christmas appeal

The Christmas Appeal by Janice Hallett

When a dead body interrupts the rehearsals for their holiday production of Jack and the Beanstalk, Fairway Players Femi and Charlotte page through letters, emails and police transcripts to identify both the victim and killer before its curtains for their production-permanently.

Christmas Mittens Murder

Three Christmas themed novellas feature Hayley Powell, Mia Malone, and Cece Barton all trying to solve suspicious deaths in unexpected circumstances.

A Christmas Vanishing by Anne Perry

Mariah Ellison, Charlotte Pitt’s grandmother, accepts her long-time friend Sadie’s gracious invitation to spend Christmas with her and her husband, Barton, in their picturesque village. But upon arrival, Mariah discovers that Sadie has vanished without a trace, and Barton rudely rescinds the invitation. Once Mariah finds another acquaintance to stay with during the holiday season, she begins investigating Sadie’s disappearance. Mariah’s uncanny knack for solving mysteries serves her well during her search, which is driven by gossip as icy as the December weather. Did Sadie run off with another man? Was she kidnapped? Has someone harmed her? Frustratingly, Mariah’s questions reveal more about the villagers themselves than about her friend’s whereabouts. Yet in the process of getting to know Sadie’s neighbors, Mariah finds a kind of redemption, as she rediscovers her kinder side, and her ability to love. It is up to Mariah to master her own feelings, drown out the noise and get to the bottom of what occurred, all before Christmas day. With the holiday rapidly approaching, will she succeed in bringing Sadie home in time for them to celebrate it together – or is that too much to hope for?

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas by Vicki Delaney

It’s the beginning of December in Rudolph, New York, America’s Christmas Town, and business is brisk at Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, a gift and décor shop owned by Merry Wilkinson. The local amateur dramatic society is intensely preparing a special musical production of A Christmas Carol. But it’s not a happy set, as rivalries between cast and crew threaten the production. Tensions come to a head when a member of the group is found dead shortly after a shopping excursion to Mrs. Claus’s Treasures. Was someone looking to cut out the competition? Everyone in the cast and crew is a potential suspect, including Aline, Merry’s mother, and Merry’s shop assistant Jackie O’Reilly, who was desperate for a starring role. It could be curtains for Christmas–and for Merry–unless the killer can be ferreted out of the wings.

Hercule Poirot’s Silent Night by Sophie Hannah

It’s December 19, 1931. Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool are looking forward to a much-needed, restful Christmas holiday, when they are called upon to investigate the murder of a man in a Norfolk hospital ward. Cynthia Catchpool, Edward’s mother, insists that Poirot stay with her in a crumbling mansion by the coast, so that they can all be together for the festive period while he solves the case. As Poirot digs into the mystery, he discovers that the murdered man was a retired post office master, and by all accounts very well-liked. The local constabulary’s investigation failed to uncover how someone could have entered a hospital room and killed him under the noses of the staff. Cynthia’s friend Arnold is soon to be admitted to that same hospital, and his wife is convinced he will be the killer’s next victim, though she refuses to explain why. With no obvious motive or suspect, Poirot has less than a week to solve the crime and prevent more murders, if he is to escape from this nightmare scenario and get home in time for Christmas.

hiss and tell

Hiss & Tell by Rita Mae Brown

When a series of mysterious deaths spoil the Christmas season in Crozet, Virginia, Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen and her beloved cats and dogs lend the police a helping paw in this exciting holiday mystery.  Christmas is coming and Harry’s to-do list is a mile long. The days are filled with delivering holiday baskets to neighbors in need, chopping down the perfect tree with her best friend, Susan Tucker, and hunting for that elusive special gift for her beloved husband, Pharamond “Fair” Harristeen. Harry also decides to try her hand at dog showing, enrolling her handsome Irish Wolfhound puppy Pirate in classes to prepare for a future exhibition. Through it all, holiday cheer-and plenty of treats for Pirate-keep spirits high. But the holidays aren’t cheerful for everyone. Harry’s friend on the police force, Cynthia Cooper, warns that the season can bring an uptick in crime. Her words prove tragically prescient when Harry and Susan discover the body of a man by the side of the road, dead, without any clues to his identity. One suspicious death is bad enough, but when Cooper reports that two more bodies have been found, also unidentified, Harry knows trouble is afoot. The autopsies for all three bodies reveal the presence of a deadly drug. Could their deaths have been accidental, or is a devious killer on the prowl? With help from her feline sidekicks, Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, as well as Tee Tucker the corgi and Pirate, Harry vows to find the answers and stop the spate of deaths so that all of Crozet can have a very merry Christmas.

Let It Crow! Let It Crow! Let It Crow! by Donna Andrews

Meg has been roped into participating in a weaponsmithing competition, a Forged in Fire wannabe organized by a blacksmith friend. Meg originally turned down an invitation to participate, but the night before the filming starts, someone attacks Faulk, her blacksmithing mentor, breaking his arm and eliminating him from the contest before it begins. Meg agrees to step in as his replacement to keep the project from failing. She’s not thrilled that the filming will take place during December – Christmas is already a crazy time for her. Since the competition is taking place on Ragnarshjem, the picturesque estate that her friend Ragnar, the retired heavy metal drummer, is turning into a Goth castle, Meg won’t have to spend Christmas alone and gets to bring Michael and her twin sons with her. So Meg joins the cast, to the dismay of several old-school blacksmiths who think women have no place in the profession anyway. And if the show’s producers were hoping for drama, they’re in luck. The blacksmithing world is a small one, and some of the contestants arrived already laden with grudges and feuds.

It’s a high-stakes, cutthroat competition between people who wield large hammers and make swords and have forges full of fire at their disposal. What could possibly go wrong?

Murder at Midnight by Katherine Schellman

Regency widow Lily Adler is looking forward to a quiet Christmastide away from the schemes and secrets she witnessed daily in London. Not only will she be visiting the family of her late husband; she will be reunited with Captain Jack Hartley, her friend and confidante, finally returned after a long voyage at sea. But secrets aren’t only found in London. Jack’s younger sister, Amelia, is the center of neighborhood scandal and gossip. She refuses to tell anyone what really happened, even when an unexpected snowstorm strands the neighborhood families together after a Christmas ball. Stuck until the snow stops, the Adlers, Hartleys, and their neighbors settle in for the night, only to be awakened in the morning by the scream of a maid who has just discovered a dead body. The victim was the well-to-do son of a local gentleman–the same man whose name has become so scandalously linked to Amelia’s. With the snow still falling and no way to come or go, it’s clear that someone in the house was responsible for the young man’s death. When suspicion instantly falls on Jack’s sister, he and Lily must unmask the true culprit before Amelia is convicted of a crime she didn’t commit.

Murder On Mistletoe Lane by Clara McKenna

American heiress Stella Kendrick and her husband, British aristocrat Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst, prepare to celebrate their first Christmas together as newlyweds in Clara McKenna’s latest historical mystery set in England’s New Forest region at the turn of the 20th century.

Murder On the Christmas Express by Alexandra Benedict

All aboard, but beware! Passengers who sleep on this train may never wake up. In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the sleeper train from London to the Highlands derails, along with the festive plans of its travelers. With the train buried in snow in the middle of nowhere, the passengers have only each other, and not all of them will reach their holiday celebrations. As a killer tries to pick passengers off one by one, former Met Detective Roz Parker can’t resist one last investigation, but murder in a locked room is a formidable puzzle for even the most seasoned investigator. As accusations begin to fly, the group of travelers fractures and unexpected alliances form. Can Roz find the culprit before anyone else is lost?

murder under mistletoe

Murder Under the Mistletoe by Sherry Lynn

Landscape artist and owner of SeaScapes, Kinsley Clark has been re-hired to decorate the town of Harborside for the upcoming holiday season and boat parade. Using the local elements found in Maine, Kinsley creates kissing balls-the town’s official mistletoe-to hang downtown and along the wharf. Kinsley is also responsible for Harborside’s official “lobster-stacked” Christmas tree, located beside the local marina, where the annual Harborside Boat Parade & Fireworks Display takes place. When local alderman Chris Chesterfield dressed up as the Grinch right down to the green face paint, falls off the pier and into the icy Atlantic the night of the annual kickoff event, the town is in shock. But all eyes turn to Kinsley and her beautiful decorations when it becomes evident that Chris didn’t fall after all-and that he was looking to replace SeaScapes with a different decorating team. Kinsley, along with bestie, Becca and Pete, the owner of the Blue Lobstah, must unearth the truth before Kinsley takes the fall.

A Nutcracker Nightmare by Christina Romeril

Hanna and Alex, owners of the Murder and Mayhem book and chocolate shop, are busy preparing for the Harriston High School’s reunion weekend. Neighbors will connect with old friends and perhaps try to avoid old foes. One person no one can avoid is Kyle, the former star quarterback, who is busy using his entire playbook to try and score with Hanna, even threatening her if she doesn’t play nice. At the reunion, Alex glimpses more drama than nostalgia as insults are flung around like a football at a Friday night game. The party is put on hold when Alex finds the dead body of none other than Kyle himself, bludgeoned to death by a nutcracker that the sisters admired earlier in the night. Hanna quickly becomes the prime suspect–someone saw her slap Kyle in the face at the reunion dance. She’ll need her sister, their sleuthing canine, Watson, and their old friends and colleagues to help break this case wide open. While looking through old yearbooks and taking a stroll down memory lane, Alex uncovers a few secrets about Kyle, now, it seems like everyone had a motive to kill him. But when the suspects start becoming the victims, Alex and Hanna know that they can’t melt under the pressure–they must find the killer before they become just another yearbook memory.

‘Twas the Bite Before Christmas by David Rosenfelt

Reluctant lawyer Andy Carpenter is at the Tara Foundation’s annual Christmas party. The dog rescue organization has always been his true calling, and this is one holiday tradition he can get behind because every dog that’s come through the rescue-and their families-are invited to celebrate. This year’s party is no exception. But before the stockings can be hung by the chimney with care, homicide detectives ruin the evening. Derek Moore, one of the foundation’s best foster volunteers, is arrested for murder. Andy discovers Derek-whose real name is Bobby-is in the witness protection program after giving evidence against his former gang. The police believe Bobby murdered a member. But Bobby swears to Andy he didn’t do this. He’s built a new life, a new business, has two new dogs after being a double foster-failure. There isn’t much Andy likes about this case, but he likes Bobby. If he’s innocent, Andy wants to help. Before Andy can settle down for his long winter’s nap, he has a client’s name to clear, a murderer to catch, and two new dogs to look after: a golden and a Dalmatian.

The Twelve Days of Murder by Andreina Cordani

Twelve years ago, eight friends ran an exclusive group at university: The Masquerade Murder Society. The mysteries they solved may have been grisly, and brilliantly staged, but they were always fictional — until their final Christmas Masquerade, when one of the group disappeared, never to be seen again. Now our young, privileged cast of old university friends are summoned to the depths of Scotland for a Christmas-themed masquerade party. But all are hiding something deep below the surface that could make or break their careers. Charley is a struggling actress who has always been on the periphery of this high-flying group, but has decided to reunite with her frenemies on the promise of career help if she joins the old cast for one last weekend. When they arrive each is assigned a new identity themed around the “Twelve Days of Christmas” — they become Lady Partridge or Mr. Gold; Lord Leapworth or Doctor Swan. The game begins, and it feels just like old times. Until the next morning, when Lady Partridge is found hanging — dead — from a pear tree. It quickly becomes clear that in this game the murder will be all too real, and the story is bringing long-hidden secrets to the surface. Will Charley’s discerning eye and outsider status allow her to uncover the truth, or will she, too, fall prey to the murderer among them? If the group hopes to win the game and survive until Christmas morning, they will need to face the truth about their history together and who they have become — and what really happened on that fateful night twelve years before.

Archana Chiplunkar, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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19 April 2024
The theme for Earth Day 2024  is “Planet vs. Plastics” that calls for the end of plastics for the sake...
Read More
18 April 2024
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental condition that typically...
Read More
17 April 2024
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Read More
16 April 2024
April is National Arab American Heritage Month, a time to commemorate Arab culture, and to recognize...
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15 April 2024
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14 April 2024
Livingston Library Community,  Are you looking for an afternoon filled with friends, neighbors, and live...
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12 April 2024
Celebrate Passover with an Passover Take Home Craft then enjoy some stories about holiday Frankenstein’s...
Read More
12 April 2024
Since we couldn’t sit on the children’s terrace under our blossoming cherry tree, we “brought”...
Read More
12 April 2024
This month, the library will be hosting three movie screenings in our Program Room. First up starting...
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11 April 2024
Attention fellow readers and book lovers! Are you an avid reader looking to discuss novels by popular...
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