Embracing Hygge: 5 Snowed-in Mysteries to Keep You Cozy Around the Fire

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.)

Snow Angels 

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.

Read an excerpt from Snowed In with Murder!

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Snowed In with Murder by Auralee Wallace!

To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Snowed In with Murder Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2017/02/5-snowed-in-mysteries-to-keep-you-cozy-around-the-fire-comment-sweepstakes beginning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) February 1, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 10:59 a.m. ET February 15, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


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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.


  1. James Joyce

    I’m currently snowed in, in Canada, and I’m looking forward (?) to being snowed in, with murder. That way, maybe I won’t know why I’m shivering.

  2. Christine Lee

    Must read these – maybe I can annoy husband and children even more than I already do. 🙂

  3. Jane Schwarz

    Love the list ( including yours, natch). Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of Snowed in with Murder.

  4. Suzanne Timmsen

    I into warm and cozy reading for winter and snow. I also love murder and mystery.

  5. Marjorie Pawley

    I just really need something to engross my mind- feeling cooped-in.

  6. John Smith

    What great books! I would love some hygge!

  7. Catherine Myers

    I would love to sit in front of a fire reading a mystery.

  8. lasvegasnv

    lots of books

  9. Deb Philippon

    A good selection of winter books to reads in cozy circumstances. Hope to win Snowed In With Murder. Wish me luck!

  10. Ruth F

    We are having an unusually cold winter and nothing is better than sitting in a warm living room reading a cozy mystery.

  11. Grace Koshida

    Great list of winter books to read during another snowy month here in Ontario. Thanks for the suggestions.

  12. fritterbit

    Just the right books for winter in New England.

  13. fritterbit

    Just the right books for winter in New England.

  14. Janice

    I hate snow and cold, and love snuggling down for a good read on a cold Winter’s day.

  15. Ann Adams

    It’s been a mild winter here, so I’m ready to read about snow, cold, and murder.!

  16. Sharon Haas

    Thanks for the great read suggestions and I totaly agree with the concept of
    hygge and have embraced it for years without even knowing!

  17. Jennifer Oikle

    Nothing like curling up with a good mystery book to forget about the cold wintry weather outside.

  18. Jennifer Oikle

    Nothing like curling up with a good mystery book to forget about the cold wintry weather outside.

  19. Angie Stormer

    The weather has been strange in MI this year. No big amounts of snow which I love. Even this last summer we missed out on a monster thunderstorm. Must be global warming…

  20. Marlene H

    I love to read mysteries they are my favorite genre. I really like the cover of ” A Fright to the Death is so cute.

  21. Patricia Boyle

    Oh, I would especially love to read “A Fright to the Death.” Love the cover.

  22. Patricia Boyle

    Oh, I would especially love to read “A Fright to the Death.” Love the cover.

  23. elizabeth findlay

    Not much snow here so far this year, but that does not stop me from cuddling under a blanket with a good mystery.

  24. sharon bintz

    still waiting to get snowed in here in Kentucky but still love to hygge in front of a nice fire

  25. T

    Oh, this looks so good. I love to curl up with a cuppa and great read, especially when the weather is bad.

  26. Cairine Stade

    We had snow, then more snow, then more and still the forcast is for more. Good time to stay in under the quilt with a good mystery!

  27. Terrie

    It’s been a pretty mild winter for me. I prefer my snow in book form!

  28. Kim Johnston

    Thank you for the opportunity!

  29. Beverly Price

    I love to read good mysteries and this sounds like a great one to read.

  30. ravensfan

    Would love to win these books.

  31. ravensfan

    Would love to win these books.

  32. Pearl Berger

    Thanks for this great feature. Winter for being cozy and reading non-stop.

  33. jean olaughlin

    I want to get hygge with this book!

  34. Russ Cross

    I’m gonna have to put these on my must-read list.

  35. L

    I love getting hygge. It’s my favorite thing to do, especially if a book is part of it!

  36. Daniel Morrell

    always like a murder mystery

  37. Barbara Bolam

    Thanks for the wonderful sweepstakes. This is perfect weather to curl up with a good book.

  38. Barbara Bolam

    Thanks for the wonderful sweepstakes. This is perfect weather to curl up with a good book.

  39. Anna Mills

    You make it easy….everything, just everything about it….

  40. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one

  41. Connie Williamson

    It would be nice to get snowed in with books like this around! I love mysteries!

  42. Veronica Sandberg

    so want to read these….so let me win

  43. Veronica Sandberg

    so want to read these….so let me win

  44. Terry P.

    As Inalways state : this is one of two of my #1 favorite genre. I cannot get enough of it. My other fav is horror. Omg, I hope those two genres don’t give me a profile of one deranged. lol

    would lve to read this.

  45. Carole Knoles

    You say Hygge, I say Huggy. We all say we love a stack of new books for February!

  46. Jan J.

    I have been hearing about hygge but was pronouncing it wrong so I’m glad you put in the proper pronunciation! I would love to be snowed in with a new mystery – some interesting-looking ones above!

  47. Laurent Latulippe

    These sound like fun reads.

  48. Reva

    You have given a great list of cozy (hygge) mysteries to read. Thanks.
    It is cold here in Michigan too.

  49. Clydia DeFreese

    I haven’t thought about snow since we moved from New Jersey to warm Louisiana. So this should be a delightful read. Thanks for the sweeps.

  50. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  51. julie hedrick

    Want to win. 🙂

  52. Frances Marshall

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  53. Rhonda Barkhouse

    I am a not so bad Canadian sitting here in the cold trying to win a book!

  54. Rhonda Barkhouse

    I am a not so bad Canadian sitting here in the cold trying to win a book!

  55. Kris Kaminski

    storm’s coming, now I just need to win!

  56. Susanne Troop

    Love to read!

  57. Susanne Troop

    Love to read!

  58. Heather Holden

    This book sounds perfect for the season. i’d love to win!

  59. Jean Dickinson

    WINTER is My Favorite Season! I would love to read Auralee Wallace’s Otter Lake mysteries and wouldn’t mind starting at the End with “Snowed in with Murder”!

  60. Pat Murphy

    I could use everyone on the list but will settle for “Snowed in with murder”. So far no big storms this year but still need a cuddle-up book.

  61. Kyle Johnicker

    As I look at the snow falling outside, I wish I had these books to read!

  62. Barbara Bibel

    Frozen delight!

  63. George Harding

    Although I don”t want to live in snow country again (had enough of that!), I still enjoy other people in the snow.

  64. Janet West

    i look forward to reading this combination of past mystery stories of Agatha Christie and the new mysteries in this group.

  65. Janet West

    i look forward to reading this combination of past mystery stories of Agatha Christie and the new mysteries in this group.

  66. SallyW

    What an assortment. This is perfect for winter reading, hope I would get snowed in for a few days so I could read undisturbed.

  67. pat murphy

    Thank you for the chance to win .

  68. Denise Sachs

    I would enjoy reading this.

  69. Sandra Slack

    Oh I would like this one!

  70. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    I need them all! Yes!

  71. patricia skinner

    I would love to read this snuggled in on a wintry day.

  72. ZS Seastrunk

    Oh this would be great for these snowy days!

  73. Barbara Lima

    It’s snowing tonight! I’m ready for my mysteries!

  74. Tammy Z Evans

    It’s snowing here AGAIN! I need some good reads to get me through this winter.


    Looking forward to reading this book while not snowed in.


    Looking forward to reading this book while not snowed in.

  77. Lori Walker


  78. roy gruss

    Sounds great–I’ll read it!!!

  79. integrity4life1

    Thanks for the contest!


    Cold in MI. Great time to read. I want this.

  81. Jane Wright

    Love to cozy up to a fire with a good mysterty. Thanks for the chance to win this.

  82. dale Poulter

    It’s a bitter coldOttawa winters day. Just the weather for curling up with a cup of tea and a good book.

  83. Kim Keithline

    sounds great sign me up

  84. Evelyn M

    love reading new books

  85. Jana Walls

    I need all these for beach reading next month.


    I’m in !!

  87. Marjorie Manharth

    Would love it.

  88. Marjorie Manharth

    Would love it.

  89. Sabine

    Love a good mystery!

  90. Polly Johnson

    Sounds like some good ones!

  91. Polly Johnson

    Sounds like some good ones!

  92. Penny Snyder

    Would love to read this – sounds awesome!!~

  93. Penny Snyder

    Would love to read this – sounds awesome!!~

  94. julie hawkins

    I really want to read this

  95. Vicki Andrew

    always looking for something new to read on the metro into work

  96. Susan Smoaks

    thank you for the chance to win

  97. Stephanie Liske


  98. Margot Core

    Not exactly snowed in here in southern California, but I would adore to make some cocoa and read these!

  99. Katharine

    great reading!

  100. kathy pease

    Thanks so much for the chance 🙂

  101. Tricha Leary

    Happy Valentine’s Day

  102. Jerry Marquardt

    Thanks for throwing the Embracing Hygge: 5 Snowed-in Mysteries to Keep You Cozy Around the Fire Sweepstakes.

  103. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of Auralee Wallace.

  104. Daniel Vice

    I would like this

  105. Buddy Garrett

    It sounds like a great read. Thanks.

  106. Heather Cowley

    Auralee, we have much in common. I live in Florida, I hate the winter so much. Can’t. Be. Cold.

  107. Tim Moss

    Good deal, count me in!

  108. Carl White

    [b]Consider this my entry.[/b]

  109. Lily

    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  110. Philip Lawrence

    A good book to curl up with this Winter.

  111. Stephanie MacDonald

    sounds like a great read!

  112. luc durazo


  113. zarah

    It’s unusually warm this year, but I can pretend it’s winter.

Comments are closed.