Last Updated on December 20, 2013
If you like to read cozies, these 10 funny punny titled cozy mysteries will leave you chuckling and nodding in agreement. If you don’t read this genre, you might be wondering what on Earth I’m talking about.
Well, the dictionary calls a pun a play on words or a word/phrase that sounds like something else. And cozy mystery authors are experts in making up fumy and sometimes hilarious titles to their stories. Simply by changing a word or two a phrase will suddenly take on a completely different meaning – usually related to murder. However as we know that cozies are rather amusing in their genre, you won’t find anything horrific and even half scary here. Most of these cozy mysteries will give you a few giggles or even leave you chuckling out loud.
So let’s see some funny punny titles that mystery authors have thought up for their books. If you haven’t read them yet, I recommend you do for a wonderful holiday read – these are usually short enough that can be read literally within a day or two.
Oh and along with the titles, most book covers are quite fun to look at as well – it’s interesting to see how book cover designers incorporated these puns within the theme of the book. I hope these will leave you smiling 🙂
So here are my favorite 10 funny punny titles in cozy mysteries that I’ve either read or are on my TBR (to be read) shelf.
Owls Well That Ends Well by Donna Andrews
I love all Donna Andrews novels and I’ve read all 16 book in her most famous cozy mystery series. Owls Well That Ends Well is #6 in the Meg Lanslow series. It is an adorable cozy series that it’s worth reading if you haven’t done it already so. The series has ended, so you have the advantage that you don’t have to wait for a year or two for a new installment (I hate that in a series). You simply start from the first book right until the satisfactory ending.
Meg Lanslow is a skilled decorative blacksmith who also becomes an amateur sleuth, whose family likes to meddle in her affairs and who has a fun way about her in solving the crimes. Btw I suggest you read the book series in order as even though the crimes are solved after each book, the main characters (e.g. Meg and Michael, her boyfriend) have a continuity to their affairs that is best to read about from the first book to understand the dynamics involved. A very fun cozy series that it’s become one of my favorites over the years.
Chopping Spree by Diane Mott Davidson
Here is another favorite of mine – not only the book, but the entire series. Chopping Spree is the 11th book in the Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series by Dianne Mott Davidson. So far I’ve read all but the last novel which was published this August. I will have to catch up to that one as well at some point (so many books, so little time…).
Chopping Spree finds Goldy Schulz, a popular caterer in Colorado with more business than she can handle. She promises herself that she will slow down right after this next cocktail party. Where things go awfully wrong, of course…
Thyme of Death by Susan Wittig Albert
Thyme of Death is actually one of my favorite punny titles ever. So short, simple and effective – with a punch. The book cover is cleverly done as well.
The book is in fact the first in the China Bayles series, which currently contains 21 books if I’m not mistaken. Granted I’ve slacked off with reading this series, I think I read about half of the books and then my attention drifted away. Now if you’re thinking of starting this series, you’ll have plenty of great books to keep you company – the last one in the series, Widow’s Tears has just been published this year.
China Bayles is a herbalist with a previous high profile career as a criminal attorney. She has her own herbal store, but sadly (or luckily for some) her criminal knowledge catches up with her and there she is, solving crimes once again.
If Cooks Could Kill by Joanne Pence
Another fun title that I just love, a great play on words once again. If Cooks Could Kill is the 10th novel in the Angie Amalfi Mystery series by Joanne Pence. Granted, it is not as popular as books by Susan Wittig Albert, Diane Mott Davidson and other famous cozy novel writers, but it is one that is well worth discovering. It’s truly a fun read.
The series has currently 15 books, with the last one, Cooking Spirits published in 2013. All books deal with Angelina Amafi, a culinary journalist and a restaurant critic in San Francisco. She is a fun character, even if she keeps doing silly things and makes up schemes that usually fall apart. She is in love with Inspector Paavo Smith and sometimes she keeps reminding me of Stephanie Plum in a strange way. A worth reading series!
Btw one of her other books in the series really made me smile wide (and guess what reminded me of) – The Da Vinci Cook (click to see the cover – a blatant play on the other book and on the painting if I’ve ever seen one)
To Brie or Not To Brie by Avery Aames
I bet you can figure out what this book is about even before starting to read it. Well, cheese, of course! Not surprisingly the cozy series this book is part of is called A Cheese Shop Mystery. To Brie or Not to Brie is book #4 in the series, which is the latest one in fact, having been published this year. A new novel, Days of Wine and Roquefort is set to be released in 2014.
This is another typical culinary mystery which cozies are so popular of. We’re talking here about Charlotte Bessette, who owns a cheese shop called Fromagerie Bessette in a fictional place called Providence somewhere in Ohio. Now if I could just count the books I’ve read based in Providence – it must be where all these book authors gather when meditating for ideas for their next novel 🙂
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth by Tamar Myers
The first in the Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery series, this book introduces innkeeper Magdalena Yoder who has converted the old family farm into something she calls the PennDutch Inn. This series was interesting for me because living in Europe, I can only read (or watch TV and movies) about the Amish community, so except the entertaining value, it was also rather educating.
The mystery series has 18 books with the last one published in 2010.
Btw Tamar Myers is one of my favorite cozy authors with punny titles. She really knows how to twist them. Just read below for some of her other titles with pun and see for yourself. I think she IS the queen of punny titles in cozies.
No Use Dying Over Spilled Milk
Just Plain Pickled to Death
Between a Wok and a Hard Place
The Hand That Rocks the Ladle
Gruel and Unusual Punishment
Thou Shalt Not Grill
Assault and Pepper
Hell Hath No Curry
As the World Churns
Batter Off Dead
Butter Safe Than Sorry
Going Through the Notions by Cate Price
Going Through The Notions is another title with fun play on words, this time coming from a new author to the cozy mystery genre. The book is the first in the new Deadly Notions Mystery series and it’s one that I set to read (and review) before the end of the year. I love the cover, btw.
Murder of a Stacked Librarian by Denise Swanson
Well being about books, I couldn’t not include this title. It is the 16th in The Scumble Rivery Mystery by Denise Swanson, and currently the latest one, with a publication date of 2013. The main character of this fun and popular series is Skye Denison, a school psychologist in Scumble River, Illinois.
In this latest installment the local librarian has been murdered, the with Skye’s imminent wedding, she needs to solve the murder if she wants to get married in the first place (what with being engaged to the local police chief Wally Boyd).
Chili Con Carnage by Kylie Logan
Now granted I haven’t read this book, but I bought it and it’s one of my next books to read. I loved the title and the cover is just perfectly fitting to the title, don’t you think?
Ok there is another reason why I bought the book – it is the first in a new cozy mystery series, A Chili Cook-off Mystery, which means that I don’t have to read some older books to catch up to this one. I’ll be up to date with it since it’s the first book in the series, and I will review it early next month on the site. I really expect it to be good!
Murder on the Rocks by Allyson K. Abbott
Finally here is something that I haven’t picked up yet, but I’ve seen in my feed from one of my Goodreads friends. It has some great reviews and it’s another book that I’ve got to read. With this title, how can I not, especially when it’s the first one in a new cozy series called Mack’s Bar Mystery.
Since it’s been only published recently, I have time to read it before the second one will be released.
Some fun trivia about the author – Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym for Beth Amos. She said the reason why she uses various pseudonyms to writer her crime novels (she also writes under the name Annelise Ryan) is because
“her current ER patients might not be comfortable knowing she spends her spare time thinking up devious and clever ways to kill people.”
(her day job is being an ER nurse)
Do you know other punny titled cozies that you might have read?