Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit, and cozy mysteries are my favorite novels to read, so I love it when I can combine the two together and create a list called my favorite Hawaiian mystery novels.
Disclosure: this post does contain links to my Amazon list called Hawaiian Mystery Novels. If you click and buy one of the Kindle books on my list, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.
I’m a big fan of Joann Bassett who writes the Islands of Aloha Mystery Series starring Pali who runs an island wedding business in Maui, and travels to all islands during the course of the series. Part mystery, part travelogue! The first novel, and in my opinion the best, is Maui Widow Waltz, and I think the books need to be read in order. They have recurring characters and developing storylines which doesn’t make this series to be read as stand alone novels. I thought she finished the series, ending with Hilo, Goodbye but after awhile popped up with a new novel called Isle Be Seeing You. I haven’t read that one yet, so I haven’t included it on my list of Hawaii Mystery Novels. I’ve read all the books that appear on the list and fully recommend them.
Just when I thought I’d be lamenting the loss of the series, and dreaming about the days I enjoyed shave ice in Lahaina, the author has a new set of books called Escape to Maui. So far two novels, and I’ve enjoyed both. They’re more women’s fiction than the cozy mysteries I’ve come to enjoy from Joann Bassett, but a great escape to Maui especially when we’re rusting away in a British Columbia climate! Click here for more about Lucky Beach when I was reading it.
Also on my list of favorite Hawaii mystery novels is the Aloha Lagoon series that takes place in Kauai around a fictional resort named Aloha Lagoon. The first 6 novels in this series can be read in any order. They’re all stand alone novels and although they mention characters that appear in other novels, it’s usually only in passing and the reader doesn’t need to know any background stories.
However, some of the authors are now writing part 2 and 3 in their cozy mysteries, so the reader should have read the first novel from that author in order to keep up with the main characters developing storyline.
For example, book 1 in the Aloha Lagoon series is Ukulele Murder and the author’s next novel is Ukulele Deadly which is #7 in the Aloha Lagoon series, that’s about Nani, a ukulele performer and instructor. Click here to see my post when I was reading featured Ukulele Deadly.
On the flip side, I’ve read several Hawaii themed mysteries that I was on the fence about. Some I couldn’t even finish reading. I didn’t love them enough to include on my list of favorite Hawaii mystery novels. One even includes an author who’s writing for the Aloha Lagoon series. It was a bit of a stinker, the weakest in the series, and unfortunately the author wrote a sequel. I didn’t buy that one but if I see it on sale for .99¢ I probably won’t be able to resist!
If I don’t like it, I’m not going to recommend it to the readers of The Lifestyle Digs!
There’s a lot of fun ahead of you in both these series. I hope you enjoy the ideas I’ve given you for new reading material with this list featuring my favorite Hawaiian mystery novels.
Have you read any of the novels on my list? Do you have suggestions for mysteries that take place on Hawaii?