5 Series Starters for Cozy Mysteries Set in a Library

For me, part of the fun of reading cozy mysteries is the setting. Will I be visiting a small-town bakery, a village in the English countryside, or maybe a Philippino restaurant in the Midwest. But my favorite setting for cozies is when it’s book-related so in a bookstore or even better (not that I’m prejudiced, obviously) is when the mystery involves a librarian.

And even better than a library mystery is a series starter. I love knowing that I’ve got multiple books to settle in and get acquainted with the characters and setting. Plus, lots of mysteries to try to untangle before the amateur sleuth does just to see how well my little gray cells are working.

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

My first suggestion is Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay. Newly single librarian Lindsey Norris, the director of the Briar Creek Public Library, must help her best friend Beth, a children’s book author, prove her innocence when she is accused of murdering her boyfriend Rick, a local celebrity, before the authorities throw the book at the wrong person.

I’m also a fan of McKinlay’s Cupcake Bakery Mysteries.

By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates

By Book or by Crook by Eva Gates

My next suggestion is the Lighthouse Library Mysteries by Eva Gates. The first book is By Book or by Crook. For ten years Lucy has enjoyed her job poring over rare tomes of literature for the Harvard Library, but she has not enjoyed the demands of her family’s social whorl or her sort-of engagement to the staid son of her father’s law partner.

But when her ten-year relationship implodes, Lucy realizes that the plot of her life is in need of a serious rewrite. Calling on her aunt Ellen, Lucy hopes that a little fun in the Outer Banks sun–and some confections from her cousin Josie’s bakery–will help clear her head. But her retreat quickly turns into an unexpected opportunity when Aunt Ellen gets her involved in the lighthouse library tucked away on Bodie Island.

Lucy is thrilled to land a librarian job in her favorite place in the world. But when a priceless first edition Jane Austen novel is stolen and the chair of the library board is murdered, Lucy suddenly finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery–and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending…

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom

The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Sansom

My third suggestion is The Case of the Missing Books by Ian Ransom, of the Mobile Library Series. Israel Armstrong is a passionate soul, lured to Ireland by the promise of an exciting new career. Alas, the job that awaits him is not quite what he had in mind. Still, Israel is not one to dwell on disappointment, as he prepares to drive a mobile library around a small, damp Irish town. After all, the scenery is lovely, the people are charming–but where are the books? The rolling library’s 15,000 volumes have mysteriously gone missing, and it’s up to Israel to discover who would steal them … and why. And perhaps, after that, he will tackle other bizarre and perplexing local mysteries–like, where does one go to find a proper cappuccino and a decent newspaper?

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

A Murder for the Books by

My next suggestion for a cozy mystery with a library setting is A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert, part of the Blue Ridge Library Mystery series. Fleeing a disastrous love affair, university librarian Amy Webber moves in with her aunt in a quiet, historic mountain town in Virginia.

She quickly busies herself with managing a charming public library that requires all her attention with its severe lack of funds and overabundance of eccentric patrons. The last thing she needs is a new, available neighbor whose charm lures her into trouble.

Dancer-turned-teacher and choreographer Richard Muir inherited the farmhouse next door from his great-uncle, Paul Dassin. But town folklore claims the house’s original owner was poisoned by his wife, who was an outsider. It quickly became water under the bridge, until she vanished after her sensational 1925 murder trial. Determined to clear the name of the woman his great-uncle loved, Richard implores Amy to help him investigate the case.

Amy is skeptical until their research raises questions about the culpability of the town’s leading families… including her own. When inexplicable murders plunge the quiet town into chaos, Amy and Richard must crack open the books to reveal a cruel conspiracy and lay a turbulent past to rest.

Murder Past Due by Miranda James

Murder Past Due by Miranda James

My final suggestion is Murder Past Due by Miranda James, the first book in the Cat in the Stacks series. A famous author returns to his hometown and is murdered. It’s up to Charlie Harris, the town’s librarian, and his cat Diesel, to find the killer before the wrong person is arrested for the crime. The trouble is, every last one of Charlie’s friends and coworkers had a score to settle with the novelist.

In closing

Libraries are perfect settings for cozy mysteries. Try one of the series starters above to dive into a new series.

If you’re looking for other book suggestions, explore our online resource, NoveList Plus. Or sign up for Recommends, our personalized reading suggestions via email service. Or ask Library staff during your next visit.