The Art of the British Cosy Mystery: 16 British Cosy Mysteries to Enjoy

May 23, 2020

Whether in written or video format, a cosy/cozy mystery has specific “rules” it abides by so the reader/viewer is not shocked or pained. What are those rules? Have a look below:

  • Those who are murdered are not characters that are beloved or well-developed (sometimes not even introduced before we learn of their death.
  • Animals are always left alone and remain safe, and may even help solve the murder (i.e. “The Dumb Witness” episode of Poirot)
  • The sleuth is an amateur of some sort, either way, not officially part of the local police department, or if they are (as in Midsomer Murders or Inspector Morse), they do not live in the BIG municipality (i.e. London) and their position taken was initially seen as a demotion to the countryside.
  • The setting is in a everyday town or village of some sort and you have the opportunity to see the “going-ons”.
  • Glimpses into the sleuth’s life humanizes them reveals unique talents/gifts as well as playful “flaws”
  • Often the sleuth will have a side-kick that “fills in the gaps” for the sleuth and has a likeable personality, complementing the main sleuth (or sometimes they act as a team as in Rosemary & Thyme.)

While Britain has long produced many mystery writers and television series from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie to Gladys Mitchell (Mrs. Bradley Mysteries) to more recently Caroline Graham (the creator or Chief Barnaby of Midsomer Murders series fame) and M.C. Benton (Agatha Raisin), it is the cosy mystery that has captured so many viewers around the world.

I will share while I did view and enjoy Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Prime Suspect with Helen Mirren (and I know many TSLL readers have enjoyed Luther and Broadchurch), I could not watch those episodes more than once as the emotional investment is too taxing. However, I can and regularly do watch many of the British cosy mysteries on the list below as they are just that, cosy, comforting in their own way (apart from the murder ;)) and offer scenes of everyday life (apart from the murder), hilarious scenes in some shows and characters you cannot help but love along with English country villages and towns that are absolutely lovely to peruse whilst I should be paying attention to the plot.

Below is an alphabetized list of cosy British based mysteries I have viewed and enjoyed for one reason or another. I will share that Poirot, Agatha Raisin, Rosemary & Thyme, Miss Marple, Midsomer and each of the Inspector series as well as Shakespeare & Hathaway are at the top of my list and are enjoyed frequently on repeat, but again, each is to my liking and each of us will be drawn to different series for different reasons. Oh, and I adored Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, even though it only had one season.

  1. Agatha Raisin (start with “The Quiche of Death” and then begin the Series 1,2,3, etc.)
  2. Campion
  3. Death in Paradise
  4. Endeavor
  5. Father Brown
  6. Grantchester
  7. Hamish McBeth 
  8. Inspector Lewis
  9. Inspector Morse
  10. Midsomer Murders
  11. Miss Marple
  12. Mrs. Bradley Mysteries
  13. Queens of Mystery
  14. Poirot
  15. Rosemary & Thyme
  16. Shakespeare & Hathaway

If you are looking for even more cosy mystery book series and television series, this blog shares a magnificent compliation of them all, alphabetized and ready to explore for your next good read or view.

Interestingly enough, what I also find delightfully entertaining is that many of the actors from one series will appear in a different role or more predominant role in a later and entirely different series. For example, in Mrs. Bradley Mysteries, her “side-kick”, her chauffeur is played by a young Neil Dudgeon (he even poses nude for an art class in one scene) who is the current Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby in Midsomer Murders. Chief Inspector Lewis is in a Miss Marple murder episode as a very young and obedient police officer. And Matthew Horne who is Agatha Raisin’s colleague and friend from the city plays a small role in a Miss Marple episode “The Secret of the Chimneys”.

Okay, I have revealed I watch quite a bit of British cosy mystery television. Time to let you catch up ;). Enjoy!



50 thoughts on “The Art of the British Cosy Mystery: 16 British Cosy Mysteries to Enjoy

  1. I love these mysteries. I also highly recommend The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher and Cadfael. I think both of these are Amazon prime at the moment.

  2. I loved watching Loch Ness on Acorn. It probably doesn’t classify as a cozy, but I’m loving British television. I seen a few Agatha Raisin. I’ll check out a few of your others.?

  3. All favorites! I have watched some of them many times and own the dvds even though most are available for streaming. I was hoping to find a new one on your list; but, alas, all I found was that we enjoy the same British cozy mysteries. Not a bad thing. As they say about great minds…

    1. Yes, great minds. 🙂 Be sure to check out today’s IG post had a few commenters shared more titles they enjoy. Hopefully they will share them here as well. Let the exploring continue!

  4. Recently I discovered Death in Paradise, and am now re-watching the first seasons while waiting for Season 9 to be released on Britbox. If you love this series as much as I do, you might enjoy the books too! The show’s writer, Robert Thorogood, has a series of four books so far with the original characters. First one is A Meditation on Murder! Inspector Pool lives on!

  5. Are you in the room with me?? You’ve hit every one of the shows I enjoy on a regular basis! My son jokes that when it comes time to send me to the “home” , all they need to do is put Acorn, Britbox and PBS on an endless loop and plop me in the chair :). Much of my love of these mysteries comes from my wonderfully well-read mother and she introduced me to Dorothy Sayers (Peter Wimsey is on DVD), Margery Allingham, Naigo Marsh and many others not as well know. I in turn have discovered some of my own – Alan Bradley and his Flavia de Luce books series are wonderful and I’m currently enjoying Lady Hardcastle and Florence Armstrong, courtesy of T E Kinsey. I wish my Mom was sitting with me enjoying these every time! Thanks for the memories! Biggest body count per show is, I think, Midsomer Murders…

    1. Yep, Midsomer Murders takes first prize for number of murders consistently in each episode. Isn’t always three at least and prinarily? It sound# like I need to consult you Maureen as you are quite knowledgeable. ☺️??❤️

  6. Have always enjoyed Grantchester and Father Brown, as well as Poirot. And I agree while Broadchurch is brilliantly cast it is very emotionally taxing, I often wait weeks to view the next episode.
    I have not seen Death in Paradise but have heard so much about it, that I am now interested.
    Pat

  7. We watch the same shows, Shannon. I subscribe to BritBox & Acorn on Amazon Prime video. I love Midsomer Murders, Agatha Raisin, Rosemary & Thyme, Queens of Mystery, Grantchester, etc., & am obsessed with Father Brown because I’m Catholic & I just love G.K. Chesterton. You may want to add Shakespear & Hathaway to your list of cozy British mysteries. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s not considered a mystery, but I love Doc Martin & old episodes of the Vicar of Dibley and Ballykissangel. If you like Dawn French from the Vicar of Dibley, you may like her in “Delicious” as well.

  8. Love calling them cosy/cozy mysteries, how apropos! I love mysteries, be it movies or books. We haven’t seen Knives Out yet but thoroughly enjoyed The Good Liar.

    Watched the news with Lester Holt last night and one segment was about the only remaining Blockbuster Video store in the WORLD and it is in Bend Oregon! It really is a small world, isn’t it?

    Have a wonderful holiday week-end.

  9. I have seen all but 4, husband and I have made it a habit during the long winter nights for a couple years to watch one each evening. They have been old friends.

  10. I love British Mysteries, right now I am rewatching Miss Fisher— in my next life I want to be here. I can’t wait for the new season of Grantchester. One of my favorite days was driving around this area outside of Cambridge. We had lunch at The Rupert and visited The Orchard home of Rupert Brook. Last summer I watched that fabulous French Detective Series you recommended. Terrific and A fabulous travelogue. Thank you.

  11. Another oldie but goodie is “Pie in the Sky,” about a detective who is trying to run a restaurant at the same time. Sweet characters.

  12. Great list, thank you! I know some of the series, love Midsomer Murders and Agatha Raisin. I would also add Inspector Lynley to the list, and the Miss Fisher mysteries, although they a set in Australia, but they still have that amateur sleuth vibe.

  13. Cosy for me isn’t complete without a good old British mystery book or tv to indulge in. Thanks for giving us a few more ideas, Shannon. :))

  14. So love the cosy British mystery, either in book or film. Thanks to you and all of our TSLL ‘neighbors’ for new suggestions!. Seriously, if ‘Father Brown’ is on, it is definitely my background go-to. And don’t get me started about my adoration of ‘Cadfael’ and ‘Poirot’ ….(And yes. LOVED Cumberbatch as Sherlock, of course, and wow, SO intense.)

  15. Oh, yes! I’m utterly addicted to Brit Cozies, including most of the ones you & others have listed (I only JUST saw my first episode of Agatha Raisin the other day & loved it). Thanks for adding Inspector Lewis — I’m quite smitten with the delectable DS Hathaway, I must admit. I’ll add: Lovejoy, starring Ian McShane as a slightly dodgy antiques dealer who’s always finding himself embroiled in mystery & murder is brilliant & very clever. Hetty Wainthrupp Investigates, with Patricia Routledge of Keeping Up Appearances fame. New Tricks, with a gang of grumpy old geezers brought back into “service” to solve cold cases (the writing & acting is stupendous). Jonathan Creek is another good one. And, not a Brit Cozy but one that will probably appeal, The Brokenwood Mysteries from New Zealand. Such a wealth of great television entertainment!

  16. Just have to put in a vote for Endeavor! I have not seen the original Inspector Morse series, but love watching the current Mr. Morse/main character grow into his career, if not his moustache!

  17. I think it should be extended to the COMMONWEALTH cosy, e. g.
    Canada
    MURDOCH mysteries
    Frankie Drake Mysteries
    Australia
    Miss Fisher
    Ms Fisher modern mysreies
    New Zealand
    BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES

  18. What a great list! We are currently watching Death in Paradise. We loved Rosemary and Thyme and Inspector Lewis. We tried watching the old Inspector Morse series but in a couple of the episodes we saw, he seemed to be romantically interested in suspects. I found that a bit odd!

  19. A Place To call Home (Australian/British) Is a very, very good series. The setting, actors, etc. are wonderful & along with the storyline make it very binge-worthy/addictive! It is on Acorn TV.

  20. They’re not British, but the Snoop Sisters series from the 1970s is a fun American cozy clearly inspired by Miss Marple. Also, if you like British mysteries, you’re bound to like the Jim Hutton version of Ellery Queen, also from the 1970s.

  21. I am so addicted to British mysteries. My daughter bought me Chromecast so I can stream all my favorites ( which is most of your list ). I wouldn’t give up Acorn, Britbox or PBS ever !!!

  22. Fantastic list! All of my favorites are there along with some I hadn’t heard of before. I’ll have to check them out. I’m surprised Vera isn’t on your list. She’s a pip! Kind of a cranky female Columbo in a crumpled overcoat who calls everyone ‘pet’ or ‘love.’ I binged all the seasons and now I’m heartbroken that I have to wait for Season 11.

    If you haven’t seen Foyle’s War, I highly recommend it. Just watched it all again recently. It’s on AcornTV. I seem to be drawn to settings in the WW2 period for a lot of shows.

  23. You’ve included a ton of my favourites and a few new ones for me, too! I also loved oldie but goodie- Lovejoy! I could watch those episodes over and over again. So good!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *