Every year like clockwork, the promise of fall has me craving a mystery that will transport me away from my everyday life and into the minds of crime fighters out saving the day. My favorite mysteries are cozy with a cast of charming characters I immediately want to root for. For me, Louise Penny’s books are the perfect blend of Agatha Christie meets modern crime. But what happens when you’ve made it through Louise’s complete works? I recommend checking out these eight mysteries that are sure to evoke her writing.
8 Mystery Novels for Louise Penny Fans to Cozy Up with
Step into the waders of retired dentist Paul Osborne as he accidentally fly fishes his way into the role of deputy when a well-dressed dead body washes up on shore. When fellow fly fisher Lewellyn decides that she will solve the mystery of the stylish corpse, Paul and his friend Ray join in to reveal the murky truth in the novel DEAD ANGLER by Victoria Houston. This cozy village mystery will feel familiar, leaving you immersed from page one.
Whoever thought small-town retirement could be this dangerous?
Retired dentist Paul Osborne hasn't fly-fished since his wife died. He hasn't had a woman tell him what to do since then either. But in the company of Lewellyn Ferris, he's relearning both. And when he and his lady instructor find a well-dressed body floating in the moonlight, Paul adds "deputy" to his list of experiences...Whether the death is accidental—or accidentally on purpose—Lewellyn is determined to reel in the truth. She enlists Paul and his walleye-expert buddy, Ray, to help her get to the bottom of the murky mystery.
Love the small-town charm of Louise’s novels? William Kent Krueger’s LIGHTNING STRIKE will plop you down in Aurora, a close-knit community on the shore of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. When twelve-year-old Cork O’Connor stumbles upon the hanging body of a respected community member, his sheriff father launches an investigation into what appears to be a suicide. But Cork suspects otherwise. As you delve into the mystery, you’ll fall in love with these characters while they grow and change in the aftermath of tragedy.
The author of the instant New York Times bestseller This Tender Land returns with a powerful prequel to his acclaimed Cork O’Connor series—a book about fathers and sons, long-simmering conflicts in a small Minnesota town, and the events that echo through youth and shape our lives forever.
Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to twelve-year-old Cork O’Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself.
Cork’s father, Liam O’Connor, is Aurora’s sheriff and it is his job to confirm that the man’s death was the result of suicide, as all the evidence suggests. In the shadow of his father’s official investigation, Cork begins to look for answers on his own. Together, father and son face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them is true and what their hearts know is right.
In this masterful story of a young man and a town on the cusp of change, beloved novelist William Kent Krueger shows that some mysteries can be solved even as others surpass our understanding.
In ABOVE THE BAY OF ANGELS, a servant girl has the chance to start over as a chef in Queen Victoria’s kitchen, but her newfound career—and identity—quickly unravel when she’s accused of poisoning a guest. Who better to get a book recommendation from than Louise herself? In her own words, “Rhys Bowen is a gift to all who love great writing, rich and complex characters and a plot that grabs from first words. I dare you to put it down once you’ve read [the] opening sentence.”
Do you love Louise Penny’s detective Armand Gamache? In Walter Mosley’s DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, you’ll meet another iconic detective. The novel takes place in Los Angeles in 1948, where you step into the life of Easy Rawlins, who has just lost his job. His life is turned upside down when a random white man in a bar asks Easy to locate a missing blonde woman frequently seen at Black jazz clubs. A Black war veteran, Easy not only has to solve an unexpected mystery but also navigate racism and inequality in pursuit of the truth.
The first novel by “master of mystery” (The New York Times) Walter Mosley, featuring Easy Rawlins, the most iconic African American detective in all of fiction. Named one of the “best 100 mystery novels of all time” by the Mystery Writers of America, this special thirtieth anniversary edition features an all new introduction from the author.
The year is 1948, the town is Los Angeles.
Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran, has just been fired from his job at a defense factory plant. Drinking in his friend’s bar, he’s wondering how he’ll manage to make ends meet, when a white man in a linen suit approaches him and offers him good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Money, a missing blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.
Easy has no idea that by taking this job, his life is about to change forever.
“More than simply a detective novel…[Mosley is] a talented author with something vital to say about the distance between the black and white worlds, and with a dramatic way to say it” (The New York Times).
Want to take a step out of those cozy villages and into a fast-paced race to hunt down war criminals in Amsterdam? While THE NAMELESS ONES by John Connolly might not take place in quite the same setting as those of Louise’s novels, you’ll find that this book shares a strong sense of place—just on a larger, more urban level. And when you inevitably fall in love with the hero, Charlie Parker, as he hunts down a mysterious assassin named Louis, you’ll be pleased to know you can join Charlie on more adventures in this long-running, popular series.
“One of the best thriller writers we have.” —Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author
From the international and instant New York Times bestselling author of The Dirty South, the white-knuckled Charlie Parker series returns with this heart-pounding race to hunt down the deadliest of war criminals.
In Amsterdam, four bodies, violently butchered, are discovered in a canal house, the remains of friends and confidantes of the assassin known only as Louis.
The men responsible for the murders are Serbian war criminals. They believe they can escape retribution by retreating to their homeland.
They are wrong.
For Louis has come to Europe to hunt them down: five killers to be found and punished before they can vanish into thin air.
There is just one problem.
With John Connolly’s trademark “dark, haunting, and beautifully told” (Booklist) prose and breathless twists and turns, The Nameless Ones is an unputdownable thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
There’s nothing quite like that moment when you start white knuckling a book and willing your eyes to move across the page as quickly as possible because you just need to know whodunit. You’ll be reading AS TIME GOES BY by Mary Higgins Clark as voraciously as you would a Louise Penny book, held in suspense as news reporter Delaney Wright covers a murder trial while simultaneously searching for her birth mother. Delaney’s quest to uncover the truth will have you spellbound and ready for more.
Get ready to turn your cozy notch up to ten with PLAID AND PLAGIARISM by Molly MacRae. Not only is this book perfect for Louise Penny fans, but its setting during a literature festival in Scotland will appeal to any bibliophile. The heroine, Janet March, faces a series of unexpected circumstances, which lead to the death of a local advice columnist. With help from her friends, Janet works to solve the mystery while trying to open her new bookshop ahead of the famed festival.
A murder in a garden turns the four new owners of Yon Bonnie Books into amateur detectives, in a captivating new cozy mystery novel from Molly MacRae.
Set in the weeks before the annual Inversgail Literature Festival in Scotland, Plaid and Plagiarism begins on a morning shortly after the four women take possession of their bookshop in the Highlands. Unfortunately, the move to Inversgail hasn’t gone as smoothly as they’d planned.
First, Janet Marsh is told she’ll have to wait before moving into her new home. Then she finds out the house has been vandalized. Again. The chief suspect? Una Graham, an advice columnist for the local paper—who’s trying to make a name for herself as an investigative reporter. When Janet and her business partners go looking for clues at the house, they find a body—it’s Una, in the garden shed, with a sickle in her neck. Janet never did like that garden shed.
Who wanted Una dead? After discovering a cache of nasty letters, Janet and her friends are beginning to wonder who didn’t, including Janet’s ex-husband. Surrounded by a cast of characters with whom readers will fall in love, the new owners of Yon Bonnie Books set out to solve Una’s murder so they can get back to business.
A delightful and deadly new novel about recognizing one’s strengths and weakness—while also trying to open a new book shop—Plaid and Plagiarism is the start of an entertaining new Scottish mystery series.
If you’re a true Louise Penny fan, you’ll know she has a new book debuting this fall! But what makes this story especially one of a kind is the coauthor—none other than former secretary of state and fellow bestselling author Hillary Rodham Clinton. In STATE OF TERROR, a new administration is sworn into office, only for the president to select Ellen Adams, a rival political figure, as secretary of state. Not long after she begins her new role, terrorist attacks begin to escalate, and Secretary Adams must get to the bottom of the conspiracy.
From the #1 bestselling authors Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny comes a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise—State of Terror.
After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.
There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.
As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.
Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.
What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.
As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.
To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.
State of Terror is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller cowritten by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th secretary of state, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling novelist.