Cozy Mystery, Female Detective & Softboiled Short Stories

In “cozies”, as they’re also called, nothing graphic happens on stage. They generally have a small town setting, and the detective work is done by an amateur. There’s a higher percentage of women detectives in this type of story. Also included here are other stories with female detectives or softboiled mysteries. These might not necessarily be cozy mysteries, but they’re close to that type. See also:

“The Tuesday Night Club” by Agatha Christie

A group of friends are socializing at the home of Miss Marple when the conversation turns to unsolved mysteries. Each member of the group believes their profession gives them an advantage in crime solving. They decide to take turns telling a crime mystery of which the teller knows the solution. Then they will put their perceptive powers to the test and try to identify the real culprit.

In this first story, Mr. and Mrs. Jones and Miss Clark get sick after supper, and Mrs. Jones dies. Suspicion falls on Mr. Jones because he was dependent on his wife’s money, and due to a letter he wrote. Nothing solidly implicates him for the crime.

This story can be read in the preview of Miss Marple: The Complete Stories(Kindle version)

“The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan” by Agatha Christie

Poirot meets the Opalsen’s at a hotel. Mrs. Opalsen insists on showing Poirot some of her jewels. She runs up to her room to get them. Shortly after, a page boy summons Mr. Opalsen upstairs. Poirot notices increased activity among the staff and realizes something has happened.

Read “The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan” (second story in preview)

“The Mysterious Countess” by Anonymous

Mrs. Paschal goes to the London Police headquarters to meet with the head, Colonel Warner. The Countess of Vervaine is known in London for her lavish spending and possessions. Despite this, she doesn’t have any obvious source of income, nor does she have a large balance at any bank. Mrs. Paschal is asked to find the source of these seemingly inexhaustible funds.

This story can be read in the preview of the huge anthology The Big Book of Female Detectives(6% in)

“The Redhill Sisterhood” by C. L. Pirkis

Mr. Dyer explains the situation in Redhill to Miss Brooke. A woman identifying herself as Sister Monica rented a house there. She moved in with three other sisters and a group of sick children. They have a routine of traveling the adjoining villages with their donkey and tin cart, asking for donations. A pattern has emerged—these trips are always followed by burglaries.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Big Book of Female Detectives. (28% in)

“The Hidden Violin” by M. McDonnell Bodkin

Sylvia invites Dora to a small private performance by the famed violinist Nicolo Amati, whom her father has persuaded to come to London. He has a unique violin, and the public is eager to hear the genius play. Another accomplished player, Monsieur Gallasseau, will also be in attendance.

This story can also be read in the above preview of The Big Book of Female Detectives(88% in)

“A Cozy for Christmas” by Charlotte Macleod

While her husband, Max, is away solving a mystery, Sarah visits family at the boarding house they run. Mrs. Gates, an elderly boarder, is finishing up the tea cozies she promised to make for the Holly fair at church. Sarah has the difficult job of finding appropriate presents for her in-laws, and thinks one of the cozies would be nice. Getting one turns out to be a bit complicated.

Some of this story can be read in the preview of Mistletoe Mysteries: Tales of Yuletide Murder(22% in)

“Counterfeit Christmas” by Charlotte MacLeod

It’s the Christmas season. The faculty dwellings at Balaclava Agricultural College are decorated and food is being sold on the grounds. Large crowds are gathering for the festivities. Professor Peter Shandy doesn’t enjoy the gaudiness. He gets a visit from Moira Haskins, the college comptroller. She shows him a twenty dollar bill, a fake, that was passed at one of the booths.

Some of this story can be read in Christmas Stalkings: Tales of Yuletide Murder(30% in)

“Timor Mortis” by Annette Meyers

Olivia is a poet in Greenwich Village working on getting her first book published. She sometimes helps Harry Melville, a private investigator, with cases. One day, Harry takes her to see a client, Amy Lowell, a successful poet who had been critical of Olivia, personally and professionally. Fania, a woman with an extreme fear of death, is missing. The family tries to watch over her, but she’s erratic. Her behavior is embarrassing.

This story can be read in the preview of The Mammoth Book Roaring Twenties Whodunnits(13% in)

“The Mystery of Chenholt” by Alice and Claude Askew

To recover from an illness, Reggie is transferred to a small police station in the country. One day, he gets a letter saying someone would come by on a vitally important matter. A man named Grimsby turns up. He’s the butler for Mr. and Mrs. Darrell. He believes Mr. Darrell is slowly poisoning his wife. Reggie sees an opportunity to call in his fiancé, Violet, an officer from London.

This story can be read in the preview of The Long Arm of the Law: Classic Police Stories(33% in)

“The Blue Cross” by G. K. Chesterton

Valentin, head of the Paris police and famous investigator, is in London on the trail of criminal mastermind Flambeau. While having breakfast at a restaurant, Valentin gets his first lead when he learns that two clergyman had stopped in earlier and one of them had made a mess before leaving. Valentin is open to oddities so he follows up on this unusual incident.

This story, which is the first appearance of the famous Father Brown, can be read in the preview of The Complete Father Brown Mysteries.