Springtime in central Virginia is beautiful, but there’s a dilemma. Should you read, or should you work in the garden? Try some sleuthy-ness and plots based on, well, garden plots! These cozy mysteries are satisfying, quick reads that are perfect companions when digging in the dirt. Murder and mayhem notwithstanding, they can be very refreshing after a day in the backyard.
If you haven’t tried them yet, cozy mysteries let you escape with something light, often humorous and quick. The crime isn’t gory, the settings are close-knit communities, and the sleuths are someone you might know. And they often cater to devotees of cozy interests—cooking, crafts, our pets, books, and gardening! Overdrive and Hoopla are full of great choices in ebooks and audiobooks that fit the cozy mystery bill. So, try this new genre, a new author, or even revisit some classic series you’ve loved.
Many of these titles are audiobooks, which you can listen to while working outside on a mobile device. Learn more about our ebook and audiobook collections.
Gardenias and a Grave Mistake by Ruby Loren – British author Ruby Loren’s Diana Flowers Floriculture Mysteries are set in southeast England where former chemical analyst Diana has shaken up her life with her new cut flowers business. Wedding flower commissions are fantastic for the business, but when a body is discovered in a centerpiece, it kicks off an amateur sleuthing career. Hoopla offers five audiobooks in this series.
Pruning the Dead and Tilling the Truth by Julia Henry – These are the first two books in Julia Henry’s Garden Squad Mysteries. Retiree Lilly Jayne would prefer to focus on her garden in Goosebush, Massachusetts, and her circle of friends, but inconvenient in-laws and grouchy townsfolk have a habit of turning up dead. These titles are available in Hoopla as both ebooks and audiobooks.
The Diva Digs Up the Dirt by Krista Davis – Sophie Winston’s goal is to be a Domestic Diva in Old Town Alexandria, but a helpful neighbor invites a reality TV show into her lovely garden, causing Sophie to retreat to her boyfriend’s rose bed and indulge her green thumb. A missing ex-wife's purse and then a body in the garden cast boyfriend Wolf under suspicion, and Sophie just can’t let this mystery lie fallow. This is the sixth book in Krista Davis’ Domestic Diva Mystery series. You can find them all in Hoopla.
Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon – While this title isn’t quite as garden-focused as the others, the lush Irish cottage setting is just as delightful to read about. The series’ protagonist, Gethsemane Brown, is a brilliant and talented musician, who happens to find herself solving crime with a ghostly roommate. The writing is wonderfully witty, and this is the first in the series, so there are three more books to read if you enjoy it.
The Winter Garden Mystery by Carola Dunn – British aristocrat Daisy Dalrymple flouts conventions in the 1920s, living independently as a writer chronicling Britain's great country houses. A research trip to Occles Hall finds Daisy enlisting the aid of Scotland Yard to prove the innocence of the Welch under-gardener, suspected in the murder of his girlfriend, Occles Hall’s housemaid. Hoopla offers twenty-one titles in the Daisy Dalrymple series in audiobook format, and if you are a Christie, Sayers, or Winspear reader, you will likely enjoy Carola Dunn.
Statue of Limitations by Kate Collins – In the first title in Kate Collins’ new series, the Goddess of Greene Street Mysteries, Athena Spencer works with her boisterous Greek family in their garden center while raising her son. The ownership of a precious statue raises trouble with a powerful local family, and a murder threatens Athena’s family and the community. Kate Collins is also author of the popular Flower Shop Mystery series. Statue of Limitations is available in Hoopla as both audiobook and ebook.
Yews with Caution by Kate Collins – Take a look at Collins’s latest Flower Shop Mystery, Yews With Caution, wherein Abby Knight, flower shop proprietor, and her husband find the owner of the local landscaping business murdered. Abby realizes he has more than a few enemies in town, but her best friend Nikki appears to be the main suspect.
A Plain Vanilla Murder by Susan Wittig Albert – Susan Wittig Albert is the prolific author of two cozy mystery series that take you out in the garden, the Darling Dahlia Mysteries, and the China Bayles Mysteries. Sample Albert’s work by starting with the most recent China Bayles mystery, A Plain Vanilla Murder. China Bayles left her career as a lawyer to become an herbalist, and she sleuths in little Pecan Springs, Texas, a town filled with colorful characters and more than its share of puzzling behavior. A murdered botany professor, a valuable orchid patent, and plenty of herbal lore will engage gardeners during breaks for iced tea and reading. If you enjoy A Plain Vanilla Murder, find more ebooks in the China Bayles series in Overdrive.
Murder in the Secret Garden by Ellery Adams – Book 3 in the Book Retreat Mystery series, this title features a locked garden full of deadly plants of special interest to Jane Steward’s guests at her book-themed retreat. But when one of The Medieval Herbalists group is found murdered, Jane must rely on her massive library to solve the mystery.