Sept. 11, 2023 – Fall is here, and Pumpkin Spice season with it. To help you get in the mood for cozy season - we're talking sweaters and baked goods fresh from the oven - we've collected a list of fall themed cozy mysteries, many prominently featuring pumpkins. Cozy mysteries are just what they sound like - who-dunnits that often feature a plucky small town protagonist, who must solve the case and perhaps save their family's struggling book store, bakery, or craft store in the process. Often a friend or family member has been falsely accused of murder, and only our hero can clear their names. Knitting and baking are often plot points. Bonus points if the book contains recipes - which many of these pumpkin season cozies do. They are often part of a series, but these are typically the kinds of books you can pick up without having read those that came before.
Scroll through the list below and click the covers to put the books on hold in our catalog today. Book descriptions come from the library catalog or the publisher.
"The Black Cat Sees His Shadow: A Bad Luck Cat Mystery" by Kay Finch
The town of Lavender, Texas is buzzing with tourists, and local businesses are pulling out all the stops for the annual Pumpkin Days Festival. On the eve of opening day, Sabrina comes face-to-face with her doppelgänger, Tia Hartwell, a caricature artist at the festival. The similarities between the two women are striking, including their matching black cats. Sabrina learns that her new twin Tia has an enemy: bad-tempered jewelry vendor Calvin Fisher. When Fisher is found slumped over dead in his pickup, Tia tops the suspect list. With the help of her feline sidekick, Sabrina must clear her new look-alike friend before she finds herself in a deadly case of double jeopardy.
"Put Out to Pasture: A Farm to Table Mystery" by Amanda Flower
Shiloh Bellamy saved her father's farm and is finally scraping by as a sustainable and organic farmer in Michigan. Since moving back, she has reconnected with old friends, including her best friend Kristy Brewer and Kristy's husband, Caine. Caine runs the farmer's market with an iron fist, and no one is surprised when he's killed, except for Kristy, who loved her husband despite his many faults. But when it's discovered that Caine was having an affair, Kristy becomes the number-one suspect in the crime. Shiloh must root out the real killer to save her best friend from prison in this cozy mystery for fans of food, country living, and devious murder."
"Truly, Madly, Sheeply: A Pumpkin Falls Mystery" by Heather Vogel Frederick
It's autumn in New England, and Truly and her fellow Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes are gearing up for the annual Halloween Festival. Aunt True and her new husband, Rusty, have bought Ethel and Elmer Farnsworth's dilapidated old farm on the edge of town, where they're going to raise sheep. Truly and her grandparents have volunteered to farm- and sheep-sit while the newlyweds are on their honeymoon. But as always, the small town of Pumpkin Falls is soon confronted with a mystery-the highly decorated pumpkins outside the shops in town have gone missing! In broad daylight! And soon after, someone or something, is trying to get Aunt True and Rusty to leave their new property with some seriously spooky hauntings. With the arrival of a new heartthrob student from Italy, Emilio, and sweet Calhoun still in the picture, Truly has her hands full and will need all of her Private Eyes to help her uncover the shenanigans this fall season.
"Death of a Pumpkin Carver: A Hayley Powell Food & Cocktails Mystery" by Lee Hollis
For Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, Halloween is all about costume parties and holiday treats – until a killer crashes the party.
"Mrs. Claus and the Halloween Homicide: A Mrs. Clause Mystery" by Liz Ireland
For the first time ever, Christmastown is celebrating a strange new tradition – Halloween. But not everyone is willing to watch their dependable winter wonderland get overrun by carved pumpkins and costume parties. As a series of scary happenings hit Santaland, each one more intense than the last, April realizes having a role in the festivities could cost her family, friends – and even her own life. April isn't the only unlucky target. Outspoken elf Tiny Sparkletoe is found dead in the snow outside his cottage, crushed in the middle of what appears to be a monstrous footprint. With mayhem descending like reindeer on rooftops, April must stop the Halloween killer before the fate of Mrs. Claus becomes another creepy tale to tell in the dark.
"Pumpkin Roll: A Sadie Hoffman Culinary Mystery" by Josi S. Kilpack
Sadie Hoffmiller is in Boston, Massachusetts, with her boyfriend, Pete Cunningham, babysitting his three young grandsons. The boys insist that Mrs. Wapple, the woman who lives across the street, is a witch, and Sadie and Pete are anxious to distract the boys from such Halloween-induced ideas. Then Mrs. Wapple is attacked in her home, and Sadie finds herself embroiled in a series of unexplained occurrences with life-or-death consequences.
"Candy Corn Murder: A Lucy Stone Mystery" by Leslie Meier
Lucy's getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found, until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge. Amid the pumpkin gore is a very deceased Evan. Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide, so Lucy knows she's got some serious sleuthing to do. With each new lead pointing her in a different direction, Lucy sees that time is quickly running out. If she wants to spook the real killer, she'll have to step into an old ghost story.
"Beignets and Broomsticks: A Maggie Miller Mystery" by J.R. Ripley
It's Halloween, and café owner Maggie Miller's special pumpkin spice beignet promotion is proving popular. The evening comes to a sticky end, however, when Maggie discovers the body of one of her regular customers, strangled to death with an expensive cashmere scarf. The late Nancy Alverson had tended to keep herself to herself – but what secrets was she hiding? And why had she been studying books on witchcraft? Of one thing Maggie is certain, it was no witch who killed Nancy. But has someone taken advantage of the spookiest night of the year to commit a brutal murder?
"The Pumpkin Muffin Murder: A Fresh-Baked Mystery" by L.J. Washburn
Phyllis loves to spend quality time with her grandson. She'll be taking him to a festival with hopes of winning the baking contest – now that her friendly competitor, Carolyn, is judging and not competing. But when a decorative scarecrow is actually a dead body in disguise, it's Phyllis's sleuthing skills that are needed. The dead body is that of the festival's organizer – and his wife, Carolyn's friend, falls under suspicion. Carolyn turns to Phyllis for help, because who's better at dishing out some justice than a baker extraordinaire who can handle the heat?
"Gourd to Death: A Pie Town Mystery" by Kirsten Weiss
When a contestant in the pumpkin pie contest is found crushed under an enormous pumpkin, Val Harris, the owner of Pie Town, wonders if this will be her last Halloween.