Christmas mysteries are great books to cuddle up with to get into the holiday spirit for lovers of detective and crime novels. I think the first Christmas mystery I ever read was Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark, though it’s been so long that I don’t remember anything about it. Still, I often like to kick off the holiday season with a nice, festive murder mystery.
So, this is a list of the Best Christmas Mystery Books, divided up into General and Cozy mysteries, whatever your preference may be.
General Christmas Mysteries
Cozy Christmas Mysteries
Have something great to add? Drop me a line, I love getting suggestions for books to add to lists!
P.S. Also see the list of 50 Best Christmas Romances for the Holidays!
General Christmas Mysteries
What It's About: Christmas Eve, and the Lee family’s reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture and a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, histhroat slashed.
When Hercule Poirot offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion...Publication Date: December 19, 1938
What It's About: Agatha Christie's seasonal Poirot and Marple short story collection, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.
First came a sinister warning to Poirot not to eat any plum pudding...then the discovery of a corpse in a chest...Publication Date: October 24, 1960
What It's About: As the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime', P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the best of these have been drawn from the archives and published here. P. D. James' prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal reading for the darkest days of the year...Publication Date: October 6, 2016
What It's About: A husband's secret life, a wife's new beginning: escape to the Caribbean with #1 New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.
Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a helicopter crash...Publication Date: October 9, 2018
What It's About: A journalist on a cross-country Christmas train scales the rugged terrain of his own heart in this New York Times bestselling holiday tale that inspired the Hallmark Hall of Fame original movie!
Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to Los Angeles in time for Christmas...Publication Date: November 4, 2001
What It's About: The nine tellerstrokes from the belfry of an ancient country church toll out the death of an unknown man and call the famous Lord Peter Wimsey to confront and contemplate the good and the evil that lurks in all of life and in every human's actions. Steeped in the atmosphere of a quiet parish in the strange, flat fen-country of East Anglia, this is a tale of suspense, character, and mood by an author critics and readers rate as one of the great masters of the mystery novel.Publication Date: September 28, 1966
What It's About: It's not sleigh bells that are ringing this Christmas. As the holidays approach, Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends in the Women's Murder Club have much to celebrate. Crime is down. The medical examiner's office is quiet. Even the courts are showing some Christmas spirit. And the news cycle is so slow that journalist Cindy Thomas is on assignment to tell a story about the true meaning of the season for San Francisco...Publication Date: October 7, 2019
What It's About: 'No one gets this big without amazing natural storytelling talent - which is what Jim has, in spades. The Alex Cross series proves it.' LEE CHILD
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
On the night before Christmas, Detective Alex Cross is at home celebrating with his family...Publication Date: November 12, 2012
What It's About: From the “Queen of Suspense,” Mary Higgins Clark, and bestselling author Carol Higgins Clark—the acclaimed mother/daughter duo—comes this holiday treat, a heartwarming tale of redemption and love. Sterling Brooks has been cooling his heels in the Celestial Waiting Room for forty-six years, waiting for admission to heaven...Publication Date: November 3, 2004
What It's About: Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, joins forces once again with private detective Regan Reilly to track down the beautiful ninety-foot tree that has been hijacked on its way to the Rockerfeller Center for the Christmas season.Publication Date: November 9, 2004
What It's About: "A desperate mother. Her missing child. A stolen chalice." With "Silent Night", Mary Higgins Clark, America's own Queen of Suspense, gave her readers their best Christmas present ever.
Now, with "All Through the Night", she once again celebrates the Christmas season with a tale of suspense that will keep readers turning the pages-- all through the night...Publication Date: October 19, 1998
What It's About: Have yourself a crooked little Christmas with The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries.
Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler collects sixty of his all-time favorite holiday crime stories--many of which are difficult or nearly impossible to find anywhere else. From classic Victorian tales by Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Thomas Hardy, to contemporary stories by Sara Paretsky and Ed McBain, this collection touches on all aspects of the holiday season, and all types of mysteries...Publication Date: October 22, 2013
What It's About: The first ever collection of Rumpole Christmas stories, just in time for the holidays. A Rumpole Christmas is a collection of five holiday stories - never before published in book form - depicting the Old Bailey hack at his lovable best. In 'Rumpole and Father Christmas' the English barrister encounters a familiar-looking Santa who he thinks is a thief...Publication Date: October 15, 2009
What It's About: Crimson Snow brings together a dozen vintage crime stories set in winter. Welcome to a world of Father Christmases behaving oddly, a famous fictional detective in a Yuletide drama, mysterious tracks in the snow, and some very unpleasant carol singers. There's no denying that the supposed season of goodwill is a time of year that lends itself to detective fiction...Publication Date: November 10, 2016
What It's About: When it comes to Christmas stories, one typically thinks of those that embody the spirit of the season, such as O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” and Charles Dickens’s 'A Christmas Carol'.
The Yuletide-themed murder mystery is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. But in 1936, Mavis Doriel Hay wrote 'The Santa Klaus Murder', one of three detective novels she published in the 1930s...Publication Date: October 6, 2015
What It's About: Christmas can be murder… After a busy year fighting crime, DCI Ryan and his team of murder detectives are enjoying a festive season of goodwill, mulled wine and, in the case of DS Phillips, a stottie cake or two—that is, until a freak snowstorm forces their car off the main road and into the remote heart of Northumberland...Publication Date: December 23, 2019
What It's About: 'Tis the season-to be dead...
Resigned to spending Christmas at Lexham Manor, Mathilda Clare wasn't sure what she dreaded most--the foul temper of Nat Herriard, the filthy-rich old Scrooge who owned the place, or the sweetness-and-light of his brother, Joseph. Joseph had concocted a guest list brilliantly headed for mayhem...Publication Date: October 24, 2006
What It's About: In this holiday-themed short story, Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson, follow the trail of a lost hat and a Christmas goose through the streets of London and into a rapidly expanding mystery.Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Cozy Christmas Mysteries
What It's About: It's Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce - an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving - is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces' decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern...Publication Date: November 1, 2011
What It's About: Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie with a touch of Wodehouse and a dog of distinction.
It's 1920 and Christmas is coming. Major Lennox finds a body on his doorstep - why on his doorstep? Was it to do with the Countess? Was it about the ruby necklace? Lennox must go to Melrose Court, home to his uncle, Lord Melrose, to uncover the mystery...Publication Date: December 3, 2018
What It's About: The popular Mary Kay Andrews delivers a tasty holiday treat as she brings back the winning characters from Savannah Blues and Savannah Breeze for a little Southern cheer.
It's the week before Christmas, and antiques dealer Weezie Foley is in a frenzy to do up her shop for the Savannah historical district window decorating contest-which she intends to win...Publication Date: October 24, 2006
What It's About: From the New York Times bestselling author of Summer Rental comes a novella that celebrates love, the holidays, and antiques. Christmas is coming, but Savannah antique dealer Weezie Foley is doubly distracted both by her upcoming wedding to her longtime love, chef Daniel Stipanek and also by the fact that her best friend and maid-of-honor BeBe Loudermilk is due to give birth any day and is still adamantly refusing to marry her live-in-love Harry...Publication Date: October 15, 2013
What It's About: This Christmas mystery, featuring criminal defense lawyer Andy Carpenter and his faithful golden retriever, Tara, showcases Rosenfelt’s trademark humor and larger-than-life characters. Reluctant lawyer Andy Carpenter doesn’t usually stop to help others, but seeing a dog next to a homeless man inspires him to give the pair some money to help...Publication Date: October 16, 2018
What It's About: This Christmas, lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, can't say no to helping young Danny and his dachshund, Murphy.
Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, have started a new Christmas tradition. Their local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need...Publication Date: October 1, 2019
What It's About: An attack on the host of a fancy tea party sends Theodosia Browning looking for answers in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series.
Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston...Publication Date: October 5, 2021
What It's About: Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-Era Christmas party.
Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family...Publication Date: October 7, 2014
What It's About: She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America...Publication Date: November 6, 2012
What It's About: It’s Christmastime in 1905 New York City, and for once, Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to the approaching holidays. She has a family of her own now: she and Daniel have a baby son and twelve-year-old Bridie is living with them as their ward. As Molly and the children listen to carolers in the street, they hear a lovely little voice, the voice of an angel, and see a beggar girl, huddled in a doorway, singing Away in a Manger...Publication Date: November 17, 2015
What It's About: 'Tis the season for trimming the tree, caroling, baking cookies, and curling up by the Yuletide waiting for Santa to drop down the chimney. But in this festive collection of holiday whodunits, murder is also paying a visit . . .
'Candy Cane Murder' by Joanne Fluke
Bakery owner Hannah Swensen feels a little stuffed in her elf costume-but it's too late to count calories...Publication Date: October 1, 2007
What It's About: "Gingerbread Cookie Murder"by Joanne Fluke:
When Hannah Swensen finds her neighbour Ernie Kusak with his head bashed in and sprawled on the floor of his condo next to an upended box of Hannah's Gingerbread Cookies, she discovers a flurry of murder suspects that's as long as her holiday shopping list...Publication Date: January 1, 2010
What It's About: Away in a manger, asleep on the hay, Meg Langslow finds a little gift.
For four previous Christmases, New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews has delighted readers with holiday mysteries, full of Christmas cheer and starring her quirky characters. Now she gives us another hilarious new adventure in her award-winning Meg Langslow series with Lark! The Herald Angels Sing...Publication Date: October 16, 2018
What It's About: New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews returns with another Meg Langslow mystery written "firmly in the grand tradition of Agatha Christie's Christmas books" (Toronto Globe and Mail).
The 26th book and the sixth Christmas mystery in the Meg Lansglow series, Owl Be Home for Christmas is yet another wonderfully merry and funny book from New York Times bestselling author Donna Andrews...Publication Date: October 15, 2019
What It's About: Christmas comes to Zinnia, Mississippi—Sarah Booth Delaney must solve a case as the holiday approaches, in this new cozy mystery from Carolyn Haines.
Christmas is just around the corner and Sarah Booth and Tinkie are preparing for a festive holiday season. After a turbulent season of solving cases, they’re ready for some holiday cheer...Publication Date: October 16, 2018
What It's About: In the newest installment of the bestselling Aunt Dimity series, a dreary Christmas leads to hidden treasure and new friendships
It's almost Christmas in the small English village of Finch--and everyone is sick. Though many of the villagers regretfully decline their invitations to Emma Harris's annual Christmas bash, Lori Shepherd has no intention of missing it...Publication Date: June 18, 2019
What It's About: Holiday time is party time in New York City, but after a sparkling winter bash ends with a murder, Village Blend coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi vows to put the killer on ice…
At the Great New York Cookie Swap, pastry chefs bake up their very best for charity. Clare is in charge of the beverage service, and her famous Fa-la-la-la Lattes make the gathering even merrier...Publication Date: December 4, 2012
What It's About: When Village Blend manager Clare Cosi finds a red-suited body in the snow, she adds solving Santa's slaying to her coffeehouse menu, only to discover the jolly old soul had a list that he was checking twice-and the folks on it were not very nice.Publication Date: November 3, 2009
What It's About: As the Moonlight Magnolia Agency revisits old memories on Christmas Eve, Granny Reid takes the reins back thirty years to the 1980s--back when she went by Stella, everyone's hair was bigger, and sweaters were colorful disasters. But murder never went out of style . . .
Christmas has arrived in sleepy McGill, Georgia, but holiday cheer can't keep temperamental Stella Reid from swinging a rolling pin at anyone who crosses her bad side--and this season, there are plenty...Publication Date: October 30, 2018
What It's About: A Scrooge steals presents right from under Sophie Winston's family Christmas tree. Then her sister-in-law's father show's up with a diva girlfriend just a month after his separation. More than one person is thinking of committing a merry murder-until it actually happens! With many under suspicion for the deadly deed, can Sophie find the murderer and restore the Christmas spirit before it's too late?Publication Date: November 11, 2010
What It's About: In the latest novel in the national bestselling Domestic Diva Mystery series, it’s beginning to look a lot like murder…
The holidays are domestic diva Sophie Winston’s favorite time of year. But this season, there seem to be more mishaps than mistletoe. First, Horace Scroggins tumbles from a balcony during his office Christmas party...Publication Date: June 3, 2014
What It's About: Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder.
No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines...Publication Date: September 30, 2006
What It's About: Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it's a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté de Québec. Most of his best agents have left or been transferred out of the Homicide Department; his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn't spoken to him in months; and hostile forces are lining up against him...Publication Date: August 27, 2013
What It's About: FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
In Rudolph, New York, it’s Christmastime all year long. But this December, while the snow-lined streets seem merry and bright, a murder is about to ruin everyone’s holiday cheer…
As the owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, Merry Wilkinson knows how to decorate homes for the holidays...Publication Date: November 3, 2015
What It's About: It’s Christmas 1909, and for once Lady Hardcastle—respectable gentlewoman, amateur spy—and her lady’s maid, Florence Armstrong, are setting sleuthing aside. They are invited to the festivities up at The Grange, as guests of Sir Hector and Lady Farley-Stroud.But barely have corks been popped and parlour games played when a mysterious crime comes to light...Publication Date: December 12, 2017
What It's About: Mariah Ellison, vinegar-tongued Grandmama from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series, believes Christmas is no reason to celebrate. When the Pitts plan a Christmas vacation to Paris sans hers truly, she cantankerously retreats to the chilly, windswept, provincial Romney Marshes of her daughter's parents, Caroline and Joshua Fielding...Publication Date: August 29, 2004
What It's About: A brand new Christmas mystery, and the very first set in New York City, from New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry, featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt’s daughter Jemima.
December, 1904. Jemima Pitt, now twenty-two, agrees to act as a “suitable companion” to her friend Delphinia, who is traveling to New York to be married to Brent Albright, toast of New York high society...Publication Date: October 23, 2014
What It's About: 1. The Christmas Stocking by Fern Michaels
Philadelphia businesswoman Amy Baran is determined to raise money for a new seniors' center by harvesting Christmas trees from the small-town Virginia farm she remembers from her childhood. Trouble is, Gus Moss has come home from California with his own ideas about saving the farm his father has neglected...Publication Date: November 1, 2006
What It's About: It's beginning to look a lot like... Murder.
It's Christmastime, and farmer Lucy Resnick is living the life she's always dreamed of. When she's not selling her jams, soaps, and mistletoe bundles at the Buttercup Christmas Market, she's enjoying cozy evenings by the fire with her knitting group--or her handsome veterinarian boyfriend Tobias Brandt...Publication Date: December 11, 2017
What It's About: It's Christmas in rural North Carolina's Colleton County and Judge Deborah Knott is looking forward to a family celebration when a tragedy clouds the holiday season. A beautiful young cheerleader dies in a car crash and the community is devastated by her death. Sheriff's Deputy Dwight Bryant soon learns that her death was not a simple accident, and more lives may be lost unless he and Deborah can discover why she died.Publication Date: November 5, 2010
What It's About: Publication Date: February 4, 2016
What It's About: A classic mystery for the festive season: mulled wine, mince pies...and murder.
Mordecai Tremaine, former tobacconist and perennial lover of romance novels, has been invited to spend Christmas in the sleepy village of Sherbroome at the country retreat of one Benedict Grame.
Arriving on Christmas Eve, he finds that the revelries are in full flow - but so too are tensions amongst the assortment of guests...Publication Date: October 10, 2017
What It's About: Publication Date: November 30, 2000
What It's About: At the Man with a Load of Mischief, they found the dead body stuck in a keg of beer. At the Jack and Hammer, another body was stuck out on the beam of the pub’s sign, replacing the mechanical man who kept the time. Two pubs. Two murders. One Scotland Yard inspector called in to help. Detective Chief Inspector Richard Jury arrives in Long Piddleton and finds everyone in the postcard village looking outside of town for the killer...Publication Date: February 4, 2003
What It's About: Charlie Harris and his Maine Coon cat, Diesel, are busy decking the halls for the holidays when an unexpected delivery and a shocking murder conspire to shake up the season in this all new installment of the New York Times bestselling series.
December twenty-fifth is right around the corner, and Charlie is making his list and checking it twice...Publication Date: October 23, 2018