15 murder mystery books with absurdly specific subjects

Badass Book Report

I love books and I love to read. I spend a lot of my time trolling through bookstores and used paperback shops just browsing. Sometimes after browsing for 2 hours I’ll buy a stack of like six books and sometimes I’ll buy nothing, to the ever increasing frustration of my wife.  She can go into a bookstore, look for 10 minutes and be done.  However, get her in a fabric store and time loses all meaning.  But a bookstore, that’s my domain.

One of the things I love to read is the murder mystery genre.  It’s one of the most popular genres of books including such classic authors as Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Recently I’ve noticed a trend with murder mysteries wherein the author tailors the murder story around a specific hobby or lifestyle.  I guess it’s to make the story more relatable to the reader.  As this practice has become more and more popular, the subjects for these murder mystery books has become so intensely specific that it has become a bit ludicrous.  Here are ten of the most ridiculously specific murder mystery books I could find.  And there may be even more odd ball ones out there. You can click the book covers to read more about the titles on Barnes & Noble.com.

Sudoku mystery
Sudoku, the OCD numbers puzzle that has become quite the rage the last few years. Now, there’s a murder mystery series featuring them. The story in this series involves a Sudoku creator for the Oregon Daily participating in a Sudoku tournament where a competitor turns up dead. She must solve the mystery and then win the Sudoku tournament (of course she does) if she is to be crowned King Sudoku and become one of the 8 Deadly Immortals and protect the Earth from the attacking Demonicle hordes…..okay, I made the last part up, but I was getting a little bored and had to think of something a little more awesome than winning a Sudoku tournament.  Other titles in this series include Murder by Numbers and Sinister Sudoku.

Crossword Puzzle series
Crossword puzzles.  They are like Sudoku for old people.  People obsess over these things.  There are books and dictionaries created specifically to help people solve crossword puzzles.  My father, my mother-in-law and my aunt are obsessed with these things.  My dad told me that he’ll start a crossword puzzle during breakfast and the next time he looks up it’s 5pm, time for dinner and he hasn’t moved…or showered.  Great, my dad is becoming Howard Hughes.  What’s an 8 letter word for shut in?  (FYI…it’s “puzzlers”)  Other titles in this series include Puzzled to Death and And a Puzzle to Die On. Stay tuned for mysteries involving Yahtzee, Bunko and Parcheesi.  Okay, Dad, you can shower now.

Tea Shop mysteries Coffeehouse mystery
These two books belong in the “so boring I may have just passed out” category.  On the left you see the first book in a mystery series about a tea shop. A.TEA. SHOP.  Yes, little old ladies in red hats drinking tea and eating scones off lace doilies solving murders.  It’s like a less interesting Murder, She Wrote (if that’s possible).  Each title in the book has the name of a tea in the title as a pun.  For instance, Gunpowder Green and Shades of Earl Gray.  It’s like the author is actively trying to get me NOT read her books.  On the right you can see the first book in the “coffeehouse mysteries” set in a trendy “mom and pop” coffee shop.  I guess a coffeehouse is as good a place as any for a murder scene because every time I go there with my wife there are several douchebags I want to actually murder.  Other coffeehouse titles include Decaffeinated Corpse and Roast Mortem. And since writing those “tea shop mysteries” most certainly drove the author insane, she also writes a mystery series about scrapbooking.

Den of Antiquity
This mystery series centers its stories around an old antique store.  Wait, a mystery book about antiquing?  Really?  Maybe there’s something to this.  I know when I go antique shopping with my mom, I feel an intense urge to murder myself.  I’m sure after seeing these books you are convinced that I’m actually making these up and I’ve created the book covers in Photoshop . I assure you I have not.  I couldn’t possibly come up with all of this insanity on my own.  It’s like the 7th circle of library Hell.  Other titles in this series include So Faux, So Good and Estate of Mind.  Since the main theme of these books seem to be activities that are relentlessly boring, I’m wondering if there’s a mystery book revolving around shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Potterybarn.  If not, there will be, I’m sure.

Quilting mystery
This one is for my mother-in-law, who is a wonderfully gifted quilter.  A mystery series that revolves around quilting.  The real mystery is why more people don’t quilt.  Am I right, everyone?  Right?  *crickets chirping*  Hello?  Other titles in this series include Old Maid’s Puzzle and Ocean Waves.  Those book titles aren’t as pun-y as the last few series.  I wonder if the titles mean something to a quilter, which just makes this series that much more awesome (again, am I right?). *chirp, chirp*

Crochet mystery Knitting Mystery Needlecraft mystery
More crafty mystery series books.  Three similar mystery series about crocheting (left), knitting (middle) and cross stitching (right).  Why are there three different series for these?  They really should have just included all of it in the knitting book.  All of those things are pretty much the same.  Yes, I said it.  Knitting, quilting, cross-stitching are ALL THE SAME.  Live with it, people who do those things.  In everyone else’s mind, they are all the same.  Deal with it.

Glassblowing mystery
A murder mystery about glass blowing.  I’m not sure I read that right.  GLASS BLOWING.  Yep, I read that right.

Home Repair is Homicide
Home repair and murder.  Fantastic.  Does this include mowing your lawn?  What about gardening?  However, now that I think about it, including gardening and mowing the lawn may be entirely too awesome for readers.  Better split those subjects up and spread some of that awesome around.  Leave some of that awesome for Book 2.  Other titles in this series are Repair To Her Grave and Wreck The Halls.

Figure Skating mystery
Mystery series about murderous figure skaters. Stars a character who is a researcher for a 24-7 skating network. I don’t know what is more insane, a book about figure skating murder or a 24-7 all-skating sports network.

Cooking Class mystery
Murder in a cooking class.  I don’t know where you take your cooking classes, but I wouldn’t imagine that there would be a lot of murders there. And if there tend to be a lot of murders in your cooking classes, maybe you should rethink where you are taking your classes.  I mean, maybe if you are taking your class at an abandoned warehouse and the class is taught by Jeffrey Dahmer….maybe. Maybe even if your class was at the YMCA in downtown Detroit. Otherwise, not really a lot of murdering going on (except maybe to the art of cooking).

Soapmaking Mystery
SOAP MAKING.  Yes, that is the subject of this mystery book.  And people read it.  Because there’s more than one of them.

Candlemaking mystery
The guy (yes, a guy) that writes the soap making mysteries above apparently hates to be interesting or taken seriously because he also writes a mystery series about candle making.  I bet this guy Tim Myers is a rock star at parties.  What’s next, a mystery about whittling a flute?

Those are 15 of the most insane murder mystery series I could find. However, I bet in a week I can go onto Barnes & Noble.com and find 10 more. Hopefully, this trend will get a little bit more awesome. I’d like to see some murder mysteries about a bar (like Cheers) or about bear wrestling. Maybe even a mystery series staring a dashing IT developer who works for a major Southeast grocery chain and writes an extremely popular humor blog who gets caught up in the murder of the CEO. I’m just spit balling here, but that last idea is GOLD.

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18 Responses to “15 murder mystery books with absurdly specific subjects”

  1. I can’t believe people took the time to write such trash, and don’t get me started on the people who actually READ it…

  2. ha ha ha! oh my god, all of these are amazing finds. the one about the tea ladies solving murders sounds like it has just the right combination of weird/boring to get me to pick it up should i find it used. i would really like to find out how you solve murder through crochet, though.

    fyi, this just gave me a great idea for a mystery series about an accountant who solves murders through bookkeeping. let me know if you want in on this plum gig.

  3. I’m more into culinary cozy mysteries but I like some of these too. Prime Crime has the biggest selection.

  4. lol paxton, you always crack me up 🙂 ‘when I go antique shopping with my mom, I feel an intense urge to murder myself’ lmbo!

    and fyi knitting, quilting and cross stitch are all entirely different crafts 🙂

  5. Tell me you didn’t actually read these?

    • NO! No, no, no. I have a daily notification from paperbackswap.com that tells me all the books that have been uploaded to the system for that particular day. It’s all separated out by genre. I see these these, and books like these, all the time in the mystery/thriller category. And I’m noticing more every day. It was easy enough to get the plot synopsis from Barnes and Noble.com if paperbackswap didn’t have it.

  6. Is it just me, my browser or the site? The page doesn’t load fully, and I already refreshed the page 😦

  7. Excellent post, Pax! Just don’t diss my all-time favorite show Murder, She Wrote. EVER. AGAIN. Or the dashing IT developer who works for a major Southeast grocery chain and writes an extremely popular humor blog might find himself in one of these books — as a victim. 😉

  8. Good article. Looking forward to more.

  9. Hola thanks to you for the previous new post.

  10. Sandra Gregoire Says:

    I think you do the readers of these stories a disservice. Not everyone wants to read blood and guts mysteries with gruesome imagery and imagination stimulating lasting fears. The books are lighthearted reads for ENJOYMENT tied to subjects the readers are interested in. The tea shop mysteries are informative about teas and have helped me find new blends and knowledge while being enjoyable. They are not always realistic– Tamar Myers Den of Antiquity is somewhat tongue-in-cheek but enjoyable with silly but lovable recurring characters.
    I have several other series waiting in my TBR pile. I enjoy these stories for the escapism from the stress in my life. If I want a deep read I’ll open Ayn Rand or one of the Brontes. I never enjoyed Agatha Christie novels though I’ve tried to get into them and James Patterson’s Alex Cross stories just blended together after a while; however, I don’t belittle them or their readers because I know others enjoy them. Maybe you should just realize there’s a genre of mysteries not in your focus and leave it at that. I think anytime ANYONE picks up a book and READS, it is a good thing and not something for you to arrogantly assume your
    tastes are the arbiter of literature.

  11. Well, how dare you dis my favorite books, and the ones I write? Why, I oughta…

    Okay, so I’m laughing on the inside… doesn’t do to lose one’s sense of humor, does it? But since I write a series about a collector of vintage kitchenware and vintage cookbooks – how much more specific can you get? – I should be taking you to task.

    But I tweeted your blog, just to see who would decide to bash you!

    • Haha…glad you could see the humor in it, Victoria. I certainly didn’t intend to imply that the people that read these books are dumb for reading them. I was making fun of the subject matter, not how well the books were written.

      I know people obviously enjoy these mysteries as they keep getting written and I encourage those readers to ignore anyone that would make fun of it. If you like it, that’s all that matters. I had a girlfriend in college that used to make fun of authors I really enjoyed because they weren’t classical authors or “deep” authors. Drove me crazy. Enjoy what you read, read what you enjoy.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  12. “Enjoy what you read, read what you enjoy.”

    Egg-zactly, Pax! But I can still laugh about it! And invite others to bash you (metaphorically, of course) over the head with a vintage Brown Betty teapot!

    By the way, a gentle (!) humor is what draws a lot of readers to cozy mysteries… that, and the recipes!

  13. Hey, Pax… I maintain there is a cozy for everyone. I dare you to try Donna Andrews’ ‘You’ve Got Murder’ (okay, so it’s not really completely cozy, but kinda). The protagonist is an AIP, Artificial Intelligence Personality program, named Turing Hopper. (After, I’m sure you know, Alan Turing)

    You might just like it! It may read a little dated, since computer technology moves so quckly, but I found it clever and inventive.

  14. Some are tough reads , others are just funny ones thumbs up for posting them.

  15. I am one of those who like to read the Tea shop mystery series…not everyone wants hardcore mystery as you say. Sorry I find you rude..by the way I have a college education, stressful job, find reading a stress reliever with a good cup of tea.

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