Happy Fourth of July from Criminal Element! To celebrate, we compiled some of our favorite Independence Day-themed cozy mysteries for you to enjoy. So fire up the grills, break out the lawn chairs and a cold beverage, and have a fantastic holiday!
Dead, White, and Blue by Carolyn Hart
July is a hectic time for Annie and her husband, Max. Sun and scorching temperatures never fail to bring swarms of tourists to their mystery bookstore, Death on Demand, for the latest beach reads. Not to mention the whole island is buzzing with excitement over the upcoming Broward’s Rock Fourth of July dance.
But after Wesley Hurst's second wife Shell disappears during the fireworks display, Annie and Max take time out of their busy schedule to find the missing woman. Their investigation reveals a twisted tale of blackmail, betrayal, and adultery that takes them from the corridors of the island’s lovely inn to a pier lashed by pelting rain, to a gathering on the terrace of a country club where a trap is set for a calculating killer…
Murder by Fireworks by Susan Bernhardt
Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder. Kay Driscoll's son's wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn't enough, a precocious and troubled twelve-year-old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay's book club. A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim's death.
Murder, She Wrote: Murder on Parade by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain
Every Fourth of July, the town of Cabot Cove hosts an elaborate celebration?and no one is more enthusiastic than the town?s newest resident, corporate mogul Joseph Lennon. He?s desperate to give the town an unwanted 21st-century makeover, including financing a fireworks extravaganza to rival New York City?s. But when Lennon?s lifeless body is found floating in the water outside his office, Jessica Fletcher has no choice but to investigate her fellow Cabot Cove citizens to find out if one of them is capable of murder…
A Catered Fourth of July by Isis Crawford
High noon on July Fourth in the quiet town of Longley, New York, and it’s got to be one hundred degrees. Thankfully, sisters Bernie and Libby are setting up their yummy catering out of the sun in the gazebo for the reenactment of The Battle of Meadow Creek—and not baking in those Revolutionary War uniforms with their fellow townspeople …
After a few cheery exchanges of “Moveth” and “Thou speakest treason,” the muskets are fired and the fake battle is over. But the blood on notorious town playboy Jack Devlin looks very real. Is it possible that Jack has had his last tryst?
When town councilman and resident loudmouth Rick Evans fingers Libby’s beau, Marvin, as the killer, Bernie and Libby know they’ve got to get cooking on the case. But the former Casanova has burned half the town—including the hot-headed politician and his occasionally faithful wife. And what about re-enactor Elise Montague, who is training to be an EMT yet almost fainted at the sight of blood on the deceased?
Bernie and Libby have their plates overloaded with suspects, and will need to work very fast to clear Marvin’s name. The simmering killer is still out there, armed and taking shots, and unless the sisters quickly get to the bottom of this patriotic pre-meditation…their goose may be cooked!
Red, White, and Blue Murder by Bill Crider
The 12th mystery featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes. With the author's quietly hilarious humor and fine characterization of Rhodes and the other residents of Blacklin County, TX, Crider once more shows the human side of small town law enforcement. A man dies in a fire; fireworks are involved in further threats and someone is spreading lies about the leading local figures, even including Rhodes himself. But the unflappable, commonsense lawman does his best—and a very good best it is.
Independence Slay by Shelley Freydont
With Independence Day fast approaching, Liv Montgomery is swamped coordinating one of the town’s biggest festivals. In addition to the traditional July Fourth events, the town stages a spooky Revolutionary War reenactment that can’t be missed. Every year, the ghost of local war hero Henry Gallantine—played by his eccentric descendant of the same name—appears at the top of the family mansion, kicking off the night’s revelries.
But Henry’s annual cameo goes awry after the ghost signals SOS instead of his traditional cue. When Liv rushes to the rescue, she finds Henry missing and a real dead body instead of a fake haunt. Now she will have to hunt down both a murderer and a missing person quickly before unwanted political fireworks ignite and someone else winds up as local history…
Yankee Doodle Dead by Carolyn Hart
The most delectable sleuthing couple since Nick met Nora, Annie and Max Darling manage to find quite a bit of murder in their allegedly safe and serene South Carolina island resort town. After all, murder is Annie's business—well, sort of. She's the proprietor of the popular Death on Demand mystery bookstore and cafe, and her establishment seems to attract trouble like Annie's pesky felines, Dorothy L. and Agatha, attract hairballs. Now, Annie and Max watch their Fourth of July holiday explode not only with fun and fireworks but with murder as well.
The library board wants to declare its independence from new member, retired Brigadier General Charlton “Bud” Hatch, a man accustomed to being in charge. Hatch's takeover attitude has alienated everyone in town, especially the women. But Annie finds it difficult to ignore him at a crowded patriotic festival—particularly when he's shot dead before her eyes…
Star Spangled Murder by Leslie Meier
Lucy Stone is in the doghouse—with her next-door neighbor, Mrs. Prudence Pratt. It seems that Kudo, the Stones' misbehaving mutt, has developed a taste for Mrs. Pratt's blue-ribbon winning chickens, as well an escape artist's talent for sneaking out. With the Fourth of July coming up, Lucy doesn't want to set off any more fireworks with the crabby Prudence.
Another sign that the crazy days of summer are in full swing arrives when a group of naturists—a.k.a. nudists—descends on Tinker's Cove, skinny-dipping at the pond that borders Mrs. Pratt's property, giving her something else to complain about. Worse still, the local lobstermen are upset about poachers—and suspicion falls on Mrs. Pratt's husband and son. Then the July Fourth fireworks are canceled to protect a patch of extremely rare purple-spotted lichen, and Mrs. Pratt is the victim of a hit and run.
Tinker's Cove is full of suspects, but none with so personal a motive as the Stones. Their feud with Mrs. Pratt has put them at risk of losing their freedom this Independence Day—unless Lucy can start things off with a bang by catching a red, white and blue killer…