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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: Mystery Topic: #CozyMystery Trends I'll Be Watching for in 2023

"Now comes the mystery."

Henry Ward Beecher

As a cozy mystery writer and reader, I'm looking ahead to 2023 and have started booking my calendar for my manuscripts to be written and published, and what books I'll be placing on my new year's #TBR list!

I thought it would be fun today to talk about what trends I'll be looking for in cozy mystery books for 2023. I've read loads of cozy books/authors this year and will continue this reading quest with even more gusto and exclusivity in the new year.

I still have a few favs I'll keep coming back to--but I'm on the lookout for new books and series with themes that grabbed my attention this year and the trends I think are up and coming...

Travel: Mystery books I truly enjoyed this year whisked me away with the MCs to Paris and the shores of France, Tuscany, London and the English countryside, mountain towns, cross-Atlantic voyages, the jungles of Malaya, seaside inns...and this gal who longs to see the world loved it! It was exciting to solve mysteries in faraway, at times, curious, locales. The 'place' is the thing is one trend this reader will be looking for when choosing books to read in 2023!

Settings with a past: Civil war reenactments, revival theatrical productions, attics filled with baffling memorabilia, cryptic manors, and historic hotels hosted a plethora of perplexing happenings in my 2022 fav tales, opening my little gray cells up for the next mysterious venue to solve a dastardly deed(s) in!

In 2023, I'm hankering to read new tales set in plantations, museums, snowbound locales (surely there's another Orient Express out there), writing retreats (perhaps in a haunted, Scottish castle--anyone, anyone??), ateliers (#ShamelessSelfPromo), vineyards, archeological digs... For me, settings are an integral, whodunnit element for a story--the eerier, the better. Writers, make me want to visit! Pssst...curious venues in a faraway locale #DoublePoints!

Compelling characters: I've been drawn this year to female sleuths of varying ages. The one thing they have in common? Gumption! I like to hang with the gals showing a bit of attitude, who can balance and slay a multitude of life happenings while solving their mysteries. And just so you know I'm keeping an open mind; I've found a few good men entering new lifestyle and sleuthing journeys I'll continue with for my 2023 mystery reads as well...

Whodunnits with a storytelling twist: This year I've thoroughly enjoyed reading new stories with a beloved character (MARPLE) that breathed new life into a sleuthing fav and revealed unexpected insights into her persona.

I'll be keeping a watch out for short tales or collections featuring fav sleuths (a writing challenge I just may take on in 2023 with my own MC). BTW, Rhys Bowen wrote a Christmas short story with Her Royal Spyness MC and Lee Strauss had a wedding short with her MC in the Lady Gold series, so these reading gems are out there. 💡✍

Recently, I've been hooked on the Magpie Murders on PBS/Britbox, guaranteeing author Anthony Horowitz's Magpie Murders book series will be on my 2023 #TBR. I love the fresh, original way this murder mystery has unfolded, how it's being told ('double act'--characters in dual roles) and solved in an unconventional (at least for me) manner. Now, I must read the books! I'll definitely be on the lookout for more whodunnit tales told with a narrative twist in the new year. #Brilliant

Rejuvenated tropes/themes: In 2023 I'm looking for new, contemporary sleuths who have broken the traditional career mold, ie shifting from let's say a schoolteacher or detective to best-selling author (worked for J.B.); running a PR firm in the big city to becoming a PI in the countryside (Agatha R. rocks); a publishing agent who solves mysteries based upon her client's books; or an American marchioness who solves mysteries while a famed period drama is filmed on her estate (okay, another #ShamelessSelfPromo). These sleuths are known to travel, too... #JustSayin Mysteries being solved with a new breed of sleuths (No disrespect, but buh-bye,1920s flappers) will be big on my reading list in 2023.

Holidays: I'm a sucker, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween ( Hercule Poirot movie in 2023, A Haunting in Venice, based upon Christie's tale, Hallowe'en Party), did I mention a writer's retreat vacay, or public events such as Fashion Week (#Hush Gemma!). Love, love, love these themed tales.

Okay, I've put a few of my cozy trend/theme thoughts on the line for 2023, like 'em or loath 'em. Cozy mystery writers and readers, what say you? I'm dying to know! It's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

Thanks for all the love and support for the book launch of A Novel Noel!

It's been an amazing week! I can't tell you how much I appreciate everyone who has bought my book and supported the new release of A Novel Noel! I know not everyone is ready to switch on the Christmas lights just yet (#GASP), but in the coming weeks I hope readers will find the time to sit back and enjoy the holiday season with a good book! More book reviews have come in--I'll share some with you next time! 🎀❄👠

Sage advice in the wonderful town of Divine and a SciFi thriller on Mars this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author Tonya Penrose, Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons, 5 ⭐

When jewelry designer, Lacey finds herself without a job, she takes time off in the town of Divine to gather her thoughts and plan out next steps for her career. The friendly townspeople and close friends buoy her spirit. There's a local legend she longs to meet--but will their paths ever cross?

When a headstrong aunt needs a place to stay, Lacey takes her in but finds her meddling opinions overwhelming at times. A hike in the woods to clear her head introduces Lacey to a magical woman she feels a strong connection with. Cassie's healing words and calming demeanor have Lacey wanting to spend more time with her. Will her lessons enlighten and put her on a path to find her calling?

Author Penrose has written an inspiring tale of a woman's quest to find her authentic self, sprinkled with friends and zany, family dramatics, and a surprising bond that will warm your heart. The characters, settings, relationships, and sage advice will keep you smiling as you ponder the messages and life-lessons revealed. Take some time and visit the town of Divine--a truly moving, feel-good read, highly recommended!


Author H.E. Wilburson, Gateway to Mars, Book 3 in The Martian Diaries, 5 ⭐

It’s 2129 and space archaeologist, Alan Sterling is about to see his career on Mars come to an abrupt end. He’s been accused of vandalizing an important, excavation area called New Africa, where evidence of life has been found. He faces dire consequences with the charges and is adamant he did nothing wrong. Will he be able to find out the truth of what really happened and clear his name?

The scientists from the prestigious Armstrong Institute are alarmed, and not only with the discovery and its link to Alan. As more of their data and analyses are made known, other concerns of impending disaster emerge. The infamous, red weed that ravaged the blue planet centuries before may be on its way to Earth. There’s also evidence the Martians plan to reclaim their planet, putting the future of the red-planet, scientific colonies in jeopardy.

Author Wilburson has written a gripping, Sci-Fi original of a future jeopardized by the unleashing of nefarious events, with unforeseen, catastrophic consequences. Who is responsible, Martians, or Earthlings? A wrinkle in time provides a clue to the past and unfolding of phenomena that will leave you gasping!

The Martian Diaries series has been a stellar follow-on to H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds to read and enjoy. Gateway to Mars is an exciting addition to the series and is perhaps my favorite tale. A must read for fans of thrilling, Sci-Fi adventure, highly recommended!

Next up in the reading queue:

A Royal, London Fashion Week Flashback! *

The year was 2018 (Feb 24th to be precise) and Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II, was sitting next the Queen of Vogue Fashion, Anna Wintour! So how do I know this? I had just started on Twitter with The Crown for Castlewood Manor being published and trying to figure out what the heck a tweet was. Lo and behold, HMTQ attended this event, and my eyes were drawn to those rockin' black gloves! I had my first ever # moment, #WhoNeedsATiaraWhenYouveGotBlackGloves! (Yikes! Twitter #Newbies 😬🤪)

Well, anyway, five years later in book 8 as I write, my queen in the story just may make her royal appearance at Gemma and Penny's Fashion Week debut...and if she goes, she'll be rockin' those gloves... This story is developing...and pssst, the tweet is still there, use my #... 💖👑

*Photo courtesy of Town & Country's Twitter timeline

Welcome to my world. Enjoy the rest of your week and weekend, friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. It's beginning to look a lot like...let's just say Rikkhe and her family and friends would be very much at home here at Cherrywood Hall West, LOL. Bring on the holidays! #WhyNot Rikkhe and Gemma approve 💖👑

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