Auralee Wallace is getting hygge with it! The author of the Otter Lake Mystery series gets warm and cozy with 5 snow-filled mysteries and offers YOU a chance to win a copy of her latest book, Snowed In with Murder. Make sure to sign in a comment below for a chance to win!
I’m a bad Canadian. I admit it. I’m ambivalent about hockey. Most days, I’d choose Starbucks over Tim Horton’s. And I hate winter. That’s right. You heard me. I hate winter.
It’s approaching the time of year in Ottawa when the deep cold sets in. You can’t let your pets outside because they’d be dead in minutes. You can’t send your children walking across the schoolyard without a strict no sibling left behind policy. And, believe it or not, I have caught myself pondering on more than one occasion whether eyeballs turn to ice before a person freezes to death. I know. Not nice thoughts.
And that’s why, this year, I’ve decided to get hygge with it.
You haven’t heard of hygge? Well, it’s all the rage. It even made the 2016 Oxford Dictionaries’ short list for word of the year. What does it mean? While there is no direct translation for the word hygge (pronounced HOO-gah), it is basically the Dannish obsession with getting cozy. Still not clear? Well, you know that feeling you get when it’s snowing outside but you’re warm inside—preferably in a wood cabin—and you light a candle, snuggle under a blanket, and rub socked feet with someone else in front of a fireplace? That, my friend, is hygge.
In order to truly embrace the hygge this year, I decided to do all the above—minus the wood cabin—while reading five snow-filled mysteries in four weeks, and I’ve decided to share the list with you. Who knows? You might want to get hygge with it too.
I found it led me down all sorts of unanticipated cozy paths. So, get a warm drink and let’s drive right into my icy list of murder. (BTW: Right now, I’m drinking TAZO’s Berryblossom White tea. The package describes it as having enticing hints of blueberry and white cranberry. Mmm, I can really taste the white cranberries. I’m kidding. I have no idea what white cranberries taste like.)
by James Thompson
Okay, this one is for those readers who like their mysteries dark. I mean really dark. This book takes place during Kaamos in Lapland, the time of year when the sun doesn’t rise at all. The murder in this story is also quite dark. A beautiful Somalian refugee/actress is mutilated and murdered on a reindeer farm.
Unintended cozy consequence: An all-consuming desire to travel to Lapland.
While it seems strange to equate this book’s setting with cozy, warm feelings, in a weird way it does make you feel like you’ve been transported into a Bizzaro Santa’s Village where everybody is drunk and maybe a little mentally unstable … but not, you know, in a totally bad way. And, well, there are Northern Lights! And stars!
A Fright to the Death
by Dawn Eastman
After all the dark of Kaamos, I thought I had better find something that would be less likely to turn me into an alcoholic. So I went out and found the absolute coziest looking mystery I could find. Look at that cover would you? Puppies. Yarn. A castle in the snow! And it doesn’t stop there. This murder mystery also has knitters, pet psychics, hidden tunnels, and a ghost story!
Unintended Cozy Consequence: Knitting.
I now want to knit. Big time. I even bought a teach-yourself kit. Sure, I already crochet, but we all know that’s like being the Miss Congeniality of the crafting world. I’m ready to wear the crown.
The Sittaford Mystery
by Agatha Christie
Granted, this may be an obvious choice, but how could I not choose an Agatha Christie? The O.G. in the UK? Seriously, what’s cozier than cuddling under a blanket on a bitterly cold night with a cup of Earl Grey reading about a murder predicted by a Ouija board?
Unintended cozy consequence: Speaking like a 1920s British man.
Try it. It’s an instant mood booster. I have used the word tommyrot more in the past month than I have in my entire life. Even more aggravating for my poor husband is the fact that I’ve been able to work the phrase or was it murder? into most of our conversations. He doesn’t want to rub socked feet with me anymore. It was worth it though. Tommyrot.
Cover of Snow
by Jenny Milchman
This mystery is about a woman waking up one wintry morning in her farmhouse huddled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York to find that her husband has committed suicide. She then goes on a mission to unravel the mystery of her spouse’s final days despite the entire town turning against her.
Unintended cozy consequence: An adult perspective on home-buying.
Turns out, I no longer want to live in an old farmhouse in upstate New York. Sounds like the opposite of hygge? Well, you see, when my husband and I first got married, we almost bought a century home, and ever since I’ve wondered, what if? But the way the main character in this mystery kept having to turn up the thermostat? Well, I feel validated in my warm, well-insulated life choices.
by Anne Holt, translated by Marlaine Delargy
So, here we have a small group of people who get stuck in a hotel during an apocalyptic snow storm after a train derailment in the Norwegian Alps. On the first night at the hotel, a man is found murdered, and then all the people get squirrelly.
Unintended cozy consequence: You’ll want to hug a misanthrope.
When I read the blurb for this mystery, my first thought was, You know what would make this book awesome? Vampires. But as it turned out, it had something way better than blood-suckers: a grumpy, misanthropic detective who just rolls away from people in her wheelchair when they ask stupid questions. Oh, how I love Hanne. I can’t help it. Her disdain for humankind just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
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Auralee Wallace is the author of the Otter Lake Mystery series which includes Skinny Dipping with Murder and Pumpkin Picking with Murder. She has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collections agent. When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn't writing humorous novels about quirky characters, she can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.