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With Thanksgiving slowly approaching, now it is the best time to read some popular Thanksgiving themed mysteries. If you like cozies, you’re in luck because there are a ton of wonderful light mysteries featuring the celebration of Thanksgiving. However, if you are more into thrillers and hardcore mysteries, your luck might run out pretty soon, as it was not so easy to find more than a handful of serious crime novels.
For some reason, the cozy mystery authors are the ones that publish the most books with this holiday. I guess it’s because during Thanksgiving the rather dysfunctional family is gathering together with folks coming from all parts of the country and this is a great opportunity to cause some mischief’ that one or the other family member has to solve.
So let’s see some of the really good mysteries that revolve around the wonderful – yet not as popular as Halloween – Thanksgiving traditions.
Thankless in Death by J.D. Robb (Eve Dallas Mystery #37), 2013
I have to start with my favorite ever – a book that has been published in 2013. I love the J.D. Robb series, it’s one of my most favorites ever, so when I decided to put together a list of popular Thanksgiving themed mysteries, of course I had to included – how could I not?
Let me just warn you that if you’ve never read any of the Eve Dallas books, this is the 37th (yes, no spelling mistake here) in the series. And with just a few books unread that I’m catching up to now, I’ve read pretty much everything. You can, of course, read the books out of order because each novel is standalone in terms of the actual plot – each case is solved by the end of the book, however if you like to follow the journey of your favorite characters throughout a series, it’s worthwhile reading them in order because you get to see first how Eve met Roarke, how they fell in love, how they ended up together and so on and so on.
But again, I still have about 3 or 4 books to catch up to, which I didn’t get a chance to read earlier on, and I can still read the out of order, even though they’re pretty much all over the place in their location in the series.
This particular book is around Thanksgiving. Roarke is Irish and his family is coming down, which means Eve has to host for this holiday. She is usually terrified of social gatherings, but it seems that this time she’s doing quite well for herself. Personally I found this book a bit different from the rest (of course all the madly in love scenes between Eve and Roark are still there), but here we get to learn who is the killer early on, which is something unusual in the Eve Dallas books. I won’t reveal more, but if you’ve read even just one book in the series, it’s worth picking up this one for the Thanksgiving holidays for a fun and relaxing read.
A Fatal Feast by Bain, Donald & Jessica Fletcher (Murder, She Wrote #32), 2009
Even if you’ve never read a Jessica Fletcher book before, I’m sure the face of the actress who plays her is well known to you. Afterall Jessica Fletcher is a popular ‘whodunit’ TV series start that really needs to introductions. Among the many books were written featuring Jessica Fletcher, there is also a popular one for Thanksgiving. An adorable cozy that I really enjoyed reading a few years back.
A Quilter’s Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini (Elm Street Quilts #15), 2009
A Quilter’s Holiday is the 15th book in the Elm Street Quilts series about a group of quilter ladies who spend their time stitching all sorts of things – and solving murders in their spare time. I love this adorable cozy, it’s really an upbeat and fun one to read.
This particular book is well suited for Thanksgiving as it finds the ladies making gifts – quilt blocks that represent their thankfulness and gratitude. This book doesn’t have much crime in it, it’s really more of a get to learn the ladies from the other books in the series and their wonderful quilting tradition.
A Trap For Fools by Amanda Cross (A Kate Fansler mystery #9 ), 1990
A Trap for Fools is the 9th in the mystery series involving Kate Fansler, a university English professor in New York City who happens to solve murders as well. Here is finally a book that is not cozy, but part of an amateur detective series. Kate is asked by the police to help solve a case of the murder of a not very liked professor.
So what has this book to do with Thanksgiving? Well the professor (Canfield Adams) is found dead on the pavement in front of his office (two stories above) on the Thanksgiving weekend. It is a lovely mystery worth checking out, even though it is a few years old (first published in 1990).
Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson (Undead #9), 2010
While it’s not the best book in the series, is good enough to be worth reading around Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s not pure mystery, but a gal can have a few extra favorites, right? And I bet some of you love the Undead series. If you’re just now catching up to the Queen Betsy series, then hurry up because Undead and Unfinished is book #9. Luckily they’re all easy reads with less than 300 pages per book and let’s face it, they’re fun to read too0.
So what, undead celebrate Thanksgiving? Well Betsy still considers herself coming from a traditional family, so she is hell bent on keeping those traditions even as undead. Personally I loved it, but I know it has some really mixed reviews on Goodreads.
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis (A Domestic Diva Mystery #1), 2008
Here is another cozy mystery ready for Thanksgiving that is a pleasure to read. It’s in fact the first in the Domestic Diva series, so if you’re looking to start something new to read, here’s you chance. Currently there are 7 books in this series, with the latest one published just earlier this year, so there are plenty of books to keep you busy over the next few months.
Sophie, the main character in the book is looking for a few items to make her perfect Thanksgiving dinner when she meets at the store a guy wants to give her a kitten to adopt. First she says no, but later on she decides to accept it and goes around to find the guy – only to find him…dead. As the story progresses, she finds other bodies as well, which makes her the prime suspect. It is now on Sophie to not only prove her innocence, but also to solve the crime(s).
Death Rides Again by Janice Hamrick (Jocelyn Shore mystery #3) , 2013
Another cozy mystery that I recommend as I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s the third one in the Jocelyn Shore mysteries with the Texas high school teacher, Jocelyn who solves cases after cases in each book. In this third installment she is happy to spend Thanksgiving with with her family at Uncle Kel’s ranch where she finds the dead body of her cousin’s husband.
It is a sweet cozy with a lot of giggle moments, perfect for Thanksgiving with nothing gory or extra scary in the book.
While the above books are my personal recommendation to pick up some fun reads for Thanksgiving, here are several others that are worth checking out, all mysteries with the Thanksgiving holiday theme.
The Cat Who Went into the Closet (The Cat Who series #15) by Lilian Jackson Braun, 1993
The Thanksgiving Day Murder (A Christine Bennett Mystery series #6) by Lee Harris, 1995
Shoot Don’t Shoot (Joanna Brady Mysteries series #3) by J.A. Jance, 1995
The Alpine Fury (Emma Lord Mystery series #6) by Mary Daheim, 1995
Up Jumps the Devil (A Deborah Knott Mystery series #4) by Margaret Maron, 1996
Red Leaves by Paullina Simons, 1996
Serpent’s Tooth (Peter Decker/rina Lazarus series #10) by Faye Kellerman, 1998
The Raven and the Nightingale (Karen Pelletier mystery serie #3) by Joanne Dobson, 1999
Turkey Day Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery series #7) by Leslie Meier, 2000
Snipe Hunt (The Professor Simon Shaw Murder Mysteries #2) by Sarah R. Shaber, 2001
Stabbing Stephanie (A Jane Stuart and Winky Mystery series #3) by Evan Marshall, 2001
Murder at Plimoth Plantation (Miranda Lewis mysteries) by Leslie Wheeler, 2001
Occasion of Revenge (Hannah Ives Mystery series #3) by Marcia Talley, 2001
Natural Suspect by William Bernhardt, 2002
The Marriage Casket (The Antique Lover’s Mystery series #3) by Deborah Morgan, 2003
Sins Out of School (Dorothy Martin series #8) by Jeanne M. Dams, 2003
The Cat Who Talked Turkey (The Cat Who series #26) by Lilian Jackson Braun, 2004
Southern Fried (the first in the Southern Fried Mystery series #1) by Cathy Pickens, 2005
Hung Out to Die (Stain Busting Mystery series #4) by Sharon Short, 2006
Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich (not a mystery novel, but it IS by Janet Evanovich, you have to read it if you like this author), 2006
Murder On The ICW (Magnolia Mysteries series #5) by Ellen Elizabeth Hunter, 2006
Final Intuition (Karma Crime Mystery series #4) by Claire Daniels, 2006
Murder of a Botoxed Blonde (A A Scumble River Mystery #9) by Denise Swanson, 2007
Speak of the Devil (Fritz Malone series #1) by Richard Hawke, 2007
Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache series #1) by Louise Penny, 2007
Thanksgiving by Michael Dibdin, 2007
Goody Goody Gunshots (A Candy Shop Mystery series #4) by Sammi Carter, 2008
Black Friday (Maggie O’Dell series #7) by Alex Kava, 2009
The Colonel’s Tale (Dassas Cormier Mystery series #3) by S.H. Baker, 2009
A Killer Crop (Orchard Mystery series #4) by Sheila Connolly, 2010
Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes, 2010
A Catered Thanksgiving (A Mystery With Recipe series #7) by Isis Crawford, 2010
The Pumpkin Muffin Murder (A Fresh-Baked Mystery series #5) by Livia J. Washburn, 2010
Miss Dimple Disappears (Miss Dimple Kilpatrick series #1) by Mignon F. Ballard, 2010
The Killer Wore Cranberry – mystery collection series devoted to Thanksgiving by various authors, 2010
Wicked Autumn (A Max Tudor Mystery series #1) by G.M. Malliet, 2011
Foul Play at the PTA (Beth Kennedy series #2) by Laura Alden, 2011
Dead Hot Shot (Loon Lake Fishing Mysteries series #9) by Victoria Houston, 2011
Cornucopia (Chloe Boston Mystery series #16) by Melanie Jackson, 2012
Death in a Turkey Town (Chloe Boston Mystery series) by Melanie Jackson, 2012
Drizzled With Death (Sugar Grove Mystery series #1) by Jessie Crockett, 2013
Skating Under the Wire (Rebecca Robbins series #4) by Joelle Charbonneau, 2013
Cold Turkey by Shelley Freydont (Celebration Bay Mystery novella), 2013
Second-Hand Stiff by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey Mystery #8), 2013
Turkeys, Tuxes, and Tabbies by Kathy Daley (Zoe Donovan #10), 2014
The Wolfe Widow by Victoria Abbott (A Book Collector Mystery #3), 2014
Hit and Run by Sandra Balzo (Main Street Murder Mystery #3), 2014