The best way to escape the January blues? Our collection of cosy murder mystery books, of course!
Picture the scene: you're settled by the roaring fire with a cup of cocoa warming your hands, there's a sprinkling of frost outside the window and the festivities of the Christmas season are still fresh in your memory.
Wishing you could carry that warm, snug feeling into this rather bleak month? The literary equivalent to a warm cup of tea, OnBuy's round-up of the cosiest murder mystery novels from our extensive collection of books has escapism all ticked off...
From Agatha Christie classics set in opulent houses to modern takes on the traditional detective novel, our pick of the best cosy murder mystery books is here to bring you a warming winter escape. With all the ingredients of a thrilling plot but without the gritty details, this is a genre that's perfect for those seeking a little suspense from the comfort of their favourite armchair!
1. A Classic Murder Mystery Book: Crooked House - Agatha Christie
Set in a sprawling mansion complete with an eccentric family, this is a timeless classic that exudes the traditional elements of a whodunit: secluded country house, plenty of clues and pretty much anyone could be the culprit.
In this murder mystery book, the wealthy Leonides family find themselves living amongst a killer when their beloved father and grandfather perishes - thanks to a poison administered by what could only be one of them... Surely not?
Charles Hayward, fiancé of concerned Miss Leonides, is sent to the (not-so) little crooked house outside of London to delve into the family's strange dynamic. While uncovering family secrets and hidden desires, the question remains: who killed the cunning Aristide? A perfect example of the favourite 'closed circle' plot so often featured in the golden age of detective fiction, it will have you guessing and doubting yourself until the end!
Buy Now: Crooked House - Agatha Christie
"[...] this is a genre that's perfect for those seeking a little suspense from the comfort of their favourite armchair!"
2. A Murder Mystery Book with a Sprinkle of Romance: Death at Wentwater Court - Carola Dunn
If you're a huge fan of murder mystery books set in winter, this one is bound to become a frosty favourite. Featuring a socialite-turned-journalist protagonist, the plot combines a traditional country house murder with the glitz of 1920s glamour and a hint of romance thrown in!
When the wealthy Daisy Dalrymple finds herself at the stately home of the Wentwater family, she stumbles upon the death of Lord Stephen Atwick. An unfortunate end for this caddish fellow guest at the estate presents Daisy with a romantic encounter as Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher arrives to investigate this icy crime. With a host of delightful characters, this is an entertaining, light read for chilly evenings - perfect with a glass of wine in hand!
3. A Light-hearted Cosy Crime Book: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death - M.C. Beaton
A quirky title sets the tone for this whimsical story set in the charming Cotswolds. When early retiree Agatha Raisin arrives in the quiet village of Carsely, she innocuously enters a baking competition to stifle her boredom in this new place that is to be her home. However, when her quiche suddenly brings on the collapse and death of Judge Cummings-Browne, she accidentally becomes entangled in something a little more sinister.
Not so welcome in her new village any more and facing the prospect of prison, she must throw on her amateur sleuth hat and uncover the source of the poisonous ingredient in her shop-bought quiche. This one will have you wanting to pack up your stuff and move to a quaint countryside cottage in no time - just don't buy any quiches!
4. A Traditional Village Murder Mystery Book: A Murder Is Announced - Agatha Christie
Usually, the murderer attempts to catch their victims by surprise but in this classic Agatha Christie, the murder is (quite literally!) announced in the local gazette - precise date, time and locale included. Puzzled by this strange behavior, the villagers of Chipping Cleghorn gather at the appointed site - who would conjure up such nonsense?
Join Miss Marple as she attempts to discover the truth behind this odd mystery. Agatha Christie perfectly encapsulates the post-war life of a quintessentially British village, making this an idyllic murder mystery book to enjoy on a rainy weekend!
5. A Classic Christmas Crime Book: Mystery in White - J. Jefferson Farjeon
Another pick from the winter murder mystery books among our collection, this one transports us back to a snowy Christmas Eve when the passengers of the London Euston service are stranded in the nearby village of Hemmersby. Sheltering from the heavy snow, several of the travellers take to a deserted country house that appears to be eerily waiting for them - dinner table set and fire lit.
This spookier read has been reintroduced by the British Library as part of its Crime Classics collection, making it a captivating choice to snuggle up with.
6. A Country House Murder Mystery Book Collection: Murder at the Manor - Edited by Martin Edwards
For lovers of the traditional country house setting, this one is bound to be a winner: think dinner parties, old manors and mysterious blood stains appearing on staircases!
A collection filled with classics stretching over 65 years, you can relish in the atmosphere of this favoured murder mystery trope while being surprised with a few twists along the way.
With renowned authors and some forgotten gems in the mix, this is a true celebration of British crime to devour under your blanket - ideal on those cold, gloomy evenings!
7. A City-Based Murder Mystery Book: Death of an Avid Reader: A Kate Shackleton Mystery - Frances Brody
Don't let this one scare you! Step into the shoes of amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton as she tackles yet another mysterious killing - this time of the esteemed scholar Horatio Potter found in the basement of Leeds Library. Featuring a beautifully quaint setting, this is a warming read that weaves in several puzzles with a highly enjoyable protagonist.
With lots of historical detail to embellish the story, the pace here is purposefully slow to allow you to absorb the charming atmosphere and 20th century feel typical of the genre. It's the perfect blend of light-hearted with a solid mystery!
While the festivities of December have been packed up along with the tree and ornaments, we hope you agree that the cosy atmosphere is here to stay! Thanks to OnBuy's round-up of the best cosy mystery books for winter (and our virtual library simply bursting with more exciting thrillers and cosy crime books!), you can embrace that warm, fuzzy feeling with the flick of a page.