One of my favourite and most comforting types of books to read, especially when nothing sounds good, are cosy mysteries! Because they are so chill and kick-back, I can sink into them and truly escape. Most of them don’t require any realm of intellectual or emotional investment as akin to hard science-fiction or sweeping epic fantasies (both of which I’m obsessed with), so it allows me to rejuvenate my brain from the heavier reading without having to sacrifice my ability to read completely.
Today to celebrate the joy that cosy mysteries bring to my itty bitty little heart, I wanted to share some recommendations of serials from the genre that are authored by Asian writers! I only recently discovered (mid-2020) that diverse cosies were a thing and it completely changed my life. So, if you’re a fan of this genre and are looking to expand your repertoire of ‘em, then check out these own-voices Asian serials below!
The first book in this Chinese-American series, Death by Dumpling, follows Lana Lee who ends up back at her family’s restaurant after a vicious break-up and workplace walkout. Figuring that waiting tables would be a great way to pass the time as she tries to sort out the pieces of her life, Lana also realises that she must juggle the pressures inflicted upon her for finding a husband. Then one day when the restaurant’s property manager ends up dead after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from her family’s place, everything else becomes yesterday’s news. Everyone at the restaurant knew about the manager’s deadly allergy to shellfish, which brings down the media frenzy of suspicion upon the restaurant and Lana’s family. Motivated to help clear her family’s name, Lana joins forces with a very handsome local detective to solve the mystery before everything they’ve worked for is ruined for good.
There are six currently released books in the series with two more dropping later in the year. Respectively, they are: Death by Dumpling, Dim Sum of all Fears, Murder Lo Mein, Wonton Terror, Egg Drop Dead, Killer Kung Pao, Fatal Fried Rice (forthcoming), and Hot and Sour Suspects (forthcoming). [Amazon, GoodReads]
Hummus and Homicide is the first instalment in this Armenian-American mystery series, and it follows Lucy who is waitressing at her parent’s restaurant in their Jersey Shore town. They just put in a new hummus bar with a myriad of flavours from lemon to roasted red pepper. Lucy is happy to be back and rekindling her friendship with her BFF and the family calico cat. The only person Lucy wishes would disappear is Heather Banks, an ex-cheerleader from high school who is positively nastier than ever, and who also happens to be the local health inspector. Just minutes after dining at the Kebab Kitchen, Heather writes up a laundry list of violations with the intent to shut down the restaurant forever, that is until she takes a tumble into death right smack dab in the middle of the street. Everyone immediately suspects homicide and point their fingers at none other than Lucy herself.
There are five currently released volumes in the series. Respectively they are: Hummus and Homicide, Stabbed in the Baklava, One Feta in the Grave, On the Lamb, and Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder. [Amazon, GoodReads]
This Indian cosy series is authored by Indo-German British author, Sujata Massey, and begins with The Widows of Malabar Hill, set in 1920s India and following Perveen Mistry, Bombay’s only female lawyer and the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family. She’s investigating a suspicious will on the behalf of three Muslima widows living in full purdah when the case takes a murderous turn. Determined to help solve the enigma of this will and the grotesque escalation to murder, Perveen realises it’s her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill so she can ensure that no more innocent women or children shall be placed in further danger.
There are two currently released titles in the series with the third one releasing later in June 2021. Respectively they are: The Widows of Malabar Hill, The Satapur Moonstone, and The Bombay Prince (forthcoming). [Amazon, GoodReads]
This Chinese-American cosy series starts off with Mimi Lee Gets a Clue and follows a young lady named Mimi Lee. Hoping to establish a pet grooming shop that would get all the animal lovers in L.A. thoroughly excited, Mimi never expected that the first cat she’d ever said hello to would actually talk back or be so catty, especially about the hot-mess dates her mother keeps setting-up for her. When the kitty named Marshmallow exposes a local breeder for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi takes a clue from her feline’s attitude and tells the owner off. The next day the police show up at her shop, Hollywoof, and accuse her to be the main suspect after someone gave them a tip about Mimi’s and Russ’s shouting match the day before. Hoping to clear her name and to save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists the help of her dreamy lawyer neighbour. Even with his assistance, it becomes clear that they both may be in way over their heads.
A Chinese-American series that kicks off with Raining Men and Corpses. After her college adviser cons her out of several months of rent, graduate student Raina Sun must try to retrieve the money she’s lost as quickly as possible, however a streak of bad luck makes the venture more than challenging. Firstly, she stumbles over adviser’s body and becomes the prime suspect in his murder. Then the only man she has ever loved reappears in her life as the lead detective in the case. Then her life spirals even more out of control when her grandmother shows up at her teeny, tiny apartment bringing along a suitcase and a baggage of troubles all her own. As Raina works to solve the murder and prove her innocence, she realises that she may have gotten far more than she bargained for.
There are currently ten books in this large cosy series. Respectively they are: Raining Men and Corpses, Gusty Lovers and Cadavers, Breezy Friends and Bodies, Balmy Darlings and Deaths, Sunny Mates and Murders, Murky Passions and Scandals, Smouldering Flames and Secrets, Hazy Grooms and Homicides, Chilly Comforts and Disasters, and Fair Cronies and Felonies. [Amazon, GoodReads]
This Singaporean cosy mystery starts its journey with Aunty Lee’s Delights and follows a widow named Rosie Lee. After losing her husband, Rosie could easily have become Singapore’s “tai-tai,” an idle rich lady devoted to an aimless life of mah-jongg and luxurious shopping escapades. Instead, she devoted herself to building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee’s Delights where spicy Singaporean home cooking is kindly served by Rosie Lee herself to locals and tourists alike. However, when a body is found in one of Singapore’s beautiful tourist havens, and when one of her wealthy guests fails to show up at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that they’re connected. The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee’s repressed stepson Mark, his social-climbing wife Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit—billed at first as a pleasure cruise—may mask a deeper purpose. Investigating the murder is newbie Police Commissioner Raja, who quickly discovers that the savvy and well-connected Aunty Lee can track down clues even better than any local law enforcement.
All of these serials are super charming, witty, and entertaining in their own ways and absolutely shouldn’t be missed by any bibliophiles out there looking for fun and fantastic cosy mystery books to curl up with! For more information on the authors themselves, please click the main titles of the serials.