While Valentine’s Day themes mystery books are not as popular as, say, Christmas themed mysteries, they do make great gifts for Valentine’s Day for any book lover who enjoys reading a good whodunit, along with the usual heart shaped gifts, mugs and sweets that is customary to give for this occasion.
Since it is about Valentine, cupid and love, most of the mystery novels with this theme are cozies, which is pretty understandable and expected due to the romantic theme surrounded by love, Cupid and a few well placed poisonous arrows.
Here are my picks from this season’s heart and love themed murder mysteries for your enjoyment.
Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton
Published in 2010, in the 26th book in the Hamish MacBeth series, the story takes place in Scotland where Hamish, the police sergeant is getting married and the whole community is excited about it because they love him and his skills, couple with his willingness to always help. Sadly Valentine’s Day is the day when a murder happens through a letter bomb, and Hamish is the one who has to investigate the crime.
The Broken Hearts Club by Ethan Black
This is the first book in the Conrad Voort mystery series, published in 2000. The title is about a group with the same name of men who had their hearts broken. They initially meet to talk about their pain of being rejected and find consolation in the group, but soon enough the direction turns towards hate and revenge. It is a great psychological thriller with a few explicit erotic acts.
Plenty of mystery, twists and turns, however, that keep you reading to see what comes next.
Claws and Effect by Rita Mae Brown
Here is another cozy murder mystery set around Valentine’s Day. It is the 9th book in the Mrs. Murphy series, published in 2002. I found it a relatively ‘brainy’ novel for a love mystery theme, however it was a fun read. Btw if you love reading cat mysteries, this one is a great addition to the sub-genre.
A light read, perfect for the holidays, or for a cozy afternoon over the weekend.
Plum Lovin‘ by Janet Evanovich
Plum Lovin’ is a shorter novella (#12.5) in the Stephanie Plum cozy series published in 2007. If you are familiar with the Stephanie Plum books, then you know pretty much what to expect in this one. Here Stephanie agrees to play cupid for a match maker who has problems with one of her difficult clients. Because it’s a novella, it is a quick read that can be devoured in less than 2 hours if you’re a relatively fast read.
Totally enjoyable, and a great addition for the Stephanie Plum lovers.
Love Lies Bleeding by Susan Wittig Albert
This is the 6th book in the China Bayleys cozy mystery series by Susan Wittig Albert, published in 1998. The story takes place around Valentine’s Day, when herb shop owner China Bayles is thinking hard about her relationship with Mike McQuaid, especially when it looks like he is having an affair.
Of course, at the same time she has to solve a case, which she does with her usual flair.
Furthermore to my picks above, here are a few more mystery books with Valentine’s Day theme, in order of publication.
A Judgment in Stone by Ruth Rendell – a psychological thriller by the British author, published 1977
St. Valentine’s Night by Andrew M. Greeley – standalone novel published in 1989
Deadly Valentine by Carolyn G. Hart – book #6 in the Death on Demand cozy mystery series, published 1990
The Saint Valentine’s Day Murders by Ruth Dudley Edwards – book #2 in the Robert Amiss Mystery series, published 1992
Bleeding Hearts by Jane Haddam – book #11 in the Gregor Demarkian cozy mystery series, published 1994
How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams by Dorothy Cannell – book #6 in the Ellie Haskell Mystery series, published 1995
The Valentine’s Day Murder by Lee Harris – book #8 in the Christine Bennett Mystery series, published 1996
Valentine Murder by Leslie Meier – book #5 in the Lucy Stone cozy mystery series, published 1999
Sugar and Spite by G.A. McKevett – book #5 in the Savannah Reid Mystery series, published 2000
Valentine by Tom Savage – a thriller published 2001
Red Roses for a Dead Trucker by Anna Ashwood Collins – book #2 in the Abigail Doyle mystery series, published 2003
The Scent of Murder by Jeffrey Marks – standalone cozy, published 2004
Murder of a Pink Elephant by Denise Swanson – book #6 in the Scumble River Mystery series, published 2004
Peach Cobbler Murder by Joanne Fluke – book #7 in the Hanna Swensen mystery series, published 2005
A Catered Valentine’s Day by Isis Crawford – book #4 in the Mystery With Recipes cozy series, published 2007
Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz – one of the few non-cozy mysteries with a Valentine theme, published in 2008
The Chocolate Cupid Killings by JoAnna Carl – book #9 in the Chocoholic Mystery series, published 2009
Cat Playing Cupid by Shirley Rousseau Murphy – book #14 in the Joe Grey mystery series, published 2009
Sucker Punch by Sammi Carter – book #5 in the Candy Shop Mystery series, published 2009
Cupid’s Revenge by Melanie Jackson – book #5 in the Chloe Boston Mystery series, published 2010
Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay – book #2 in the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series, published 2010
Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier – book #18 in the Lucy Stone cozy mystery series, published 2011
Valentined by Patricia Rockwell – book #3 in the Essie Cobb Senior Sleuth series, published 2012
Sweet Hearts by Connie Shelton – book #4 in the Samantha Sweet Mystery series, published 2012
Lethal Treasure by Jane K. Cleland – book #8 in the Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery series, published 2013
Killing Cupid by Laura Levine – book #12 in the Jaine Austen mystery series, published 2013
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff – published 2013
Death of a Chocoholic by Lee Hollis – book #4 in the Hayley Powell Food & Cocktail Mystery series, published 2014
A Fatal Slip by Meg London – book #3 in the Sweet Nothings cozy mystery series, published 2014
For a special mention, how about the entire Lucy Valentine series by Heather Webber, which currently includes 5 books in the series (4 book and a short novella), all focused on love, Cupid, matchmaking and murder.
There are many more mysteries with a Valentine’s Day theme, and I will add to this list as authors will published more books with cupid and murder.