John's Staff Picks

John McDougall, Event Coordinator at Murder By The Book since 2010

I love watching the parts of a mystery fall into place, but I think what really pulls me in is the characters. Cozies are so fun because you get to know these small towns and wish you could visit. Reading about Lady Emily in Tasha Alexander's books is like getting to catch up with an old friend. I want characters that break your heart like Marc Rochat in The Watchers, or make you laugh like Victoria Laurie and Mary Kay Andrews's characters always do. I love picking up a book like City of Dark Magic and thinking, ‘These things shouldn't really fit together, but they totally do.’ You can't help but want to hang on for the ride.

For additional cozy mystery recommendations, check out John's Cozy Corner.


John's 2018 Top 10:

1. Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro
2. White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
3. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyikan Braitwaite
4. A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne
5. The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
6. Death By Dumpling by Vivien Chien
7. Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano
8. The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles
9. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
10. The Italian Party by Christina Lynch

Find of the year - The Bakeshop Mysteries by Ellie Alexander

Staff Pick Logo
Death Prefers Blondes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250155825
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - January 29th, 2019

Margo Channing isn't your stereotypical bored socialite. Oh she's bored, and she's got more money than she knows what to do with, but she's also a cat burglar with a crew of kick boxing drag queens pulling jewel heists all over LA. Socialites, drag queens, and jewel heists? What's not to love?! Roehrig wrote some of my favorite thrillers of 2018, and now he's written the most fun heist novel of 2019! - John (also HIGHLY recommended by Rebecca)

Caleb Roehrig will sign on Thursday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m.

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Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions (An Auntie Poldi Adventure #1) Cover Image
By Mario Giordano, John Brownjohn (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781328588784
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - February 5th, 2019

Auntie Poldie and the Sicilian Lions is the first in a promising new series. Auntie Poldi has come to Sicily to drink herself to death with a sea view. Her hobbies include taking photos of attractive policemen, and inserting herself into police investigations. I love her! - John

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Natural Thorn Killer (A Rose City Mystery #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781496705136
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Kensington - March 27th, 2018

As often happens at the start of a cozy mystery, Britta has discovered her husband has been cheating, so she moved in with her aunt Elin in Portland. Elin owns Blooma, one of the most successful floral boutiques in Portland, and welcomes the extra set of hands. When a real estate developer is found dead in the middle of the shop, Britta is determined to solve the crime. I love the relationship between Britta and her aunt Elin. I also loved how Kate Dyer-Seeley still manages to make Portland feel like a small town. Kate Dyer-Seeley also writes as Ellie Alexander (one of my favorite cozy writers) - John

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Murder Once Removed (Ancestry Detective #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250189035
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Minotaur Books - March 19th, 2019

In Murder Once Removed, S.C. Perkins makes Austin come alive. Lucy Lancaster is looking into Gus Halloran's family history, and discovers one of his ancestors was murdered. Gus is an over-the-top Texan, but in Perkins's hands he's not a caricature.  Lucy's discovery stirs up past resentments and leads to another murder. To solve the new murder, she's got to solve the one from 1849. By the time you finish, you'll want to hit up Lucy's favorite restaurant for a margarita. A dynamic secondary cast rounds out this great read. - John