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Lucy Stone Mysteries is an armchair/amateur sleuth/Cozy Mystery series by Leslie Meier. The series features Lucy Stone, originally a mom and mail-order salesperson and later a newspaper reporter in Tinker's Cove, Maine, who gets embroiled in murder mysteries after she begins discovering dead bodies.

The series consists of:

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  • #0.5: "Candy Canes of Christmas Past" (2007)note 
  • #01: Mistletoe Murder (1991 as Mail-Order Murder)
  • #02: Tippy Toe Murder (1994)
  • #03: Trick or Treat Murder (1996)
  • #04: Back to School Murder (1997)
  • #05: Valentine Murder (1999)
  • #06: Christmas Cookie Murder (1999)
  • #07: Turkey Day Murder (2000)
  • #08: Wedding Day Murder (2001)
  • #09: Birthday Party Murder (2002)
  • #10: Father's Day Murder (2003)
  • #11: Star Spangled Murder (2004)
  • #12: New Year's Eve Murder (2005)
  • #13: Bake Sale Murder (2006)
  • #14: St. Patrick's Day Murder (2008)
  • #15: Mother's Day Murder (2009)
  • #16: Wicked Witch Murder (2010)
  • #17: English Tea Murder (2011)
  • #17.5: "Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots" (2010)note 
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  • #18: Chocolate Covered Murder (2012)
  • #18.5: "The Christmas Thief" (2011)note 
  • #19: Easter Bunny Murder (2013)
  • #20: Christmas Carol Murder (2013)
  • #21: French Pastry Murder (2014)
  • #22: Candy Corn Murder (2015)
  • #23: British Manor Murder (2016)
  • #23.5: "Eggnog Murder" (2016)note 
  • #24: Turkey Trot Murder (2017)
  • #25: Silver Anniversary Murder (2018)
  • #25.5: "Yule Log Murder" (2018)note 
  • #25.7: "Haunted House Murder" (2019)note 
  • #26: Invitation Only Murder (2019)
  • #26.5: "Christmas Card Murder" (2020)note 
  • #27: Irish Parade Murder (2021)
  • #27.5: "Halloween Party Murder" (2021)note 
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  • #28: Easter Bonnet Murder (2022)
  • #28.5: "Irish Coffee Murder" (announced for January 2023) note 
  • #29: Mother of the Bride Murder (announced for April 2023)


This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder:
    • What Ron Davitz's death turns out to be in Wedding Day Murder. Harbormaster Frank Wiggins just wanted him to stop insulting him, so he whacked him in the head with the butt of his pistol. Turns out he hit him too hard.
    • Lucy did this to Kyle Boott in Candy Canes of Christmas Past when she slipped and knocked him into the street, where he was crushed under a car. He deserved it, don't worry.
  • Always Murder: Subverted with "The Christmas Thief", which concerns Lucy's oldest daughter Elizabeth trying to find a necklace stolen from the hotel she works at. Lucy herself doesn't even appear until after halfway through the story.
    • Also, surprisingly subverted for "Haunted House Murder".
  • Alliterative Name:
    • Easter Bunny Murder features wealthy socialite Vivian Van Vorst.
    • This is the case for some killers (Dave Davidson) and some victims (Prudence Pratt, Nadine Nelson, etc.)
  • Asshole Victim: The series has its fair share:
    • Morrill Slack from Tippy Toe Murder is the tightfisted owner of the Main Street Hardware Store. Not only is he a cheap bastard and an all-around jerk to everyone including his wife, he even calls his daughter-in-law a dago because her son (his grandson) stole from the shop. This is one of the reasons she bashes in his head with a video camera.
    • Ron Davitz from Wedding Day Murder. He's a rich asshole who does what he wants when he wants, even if it messes with the local fishermen. Topping it all is that the dot com that made him so rich is a pump and dump scam, and he's using his wedding to Sidra Finch as an opportunity to flee his investors during the "honeymoon".
    • Stanley "Snake" Henderson from Birthday Party Murder is a biker thug who works with his mother to take from his grandaunt, Miss Tilley. He's a rude asswipe who killed Sherman Cobb to make it easier for the inheritance to be divided once he and Shirley had finished off Miss Tilley. It really says something about how crappy he is when his own mother shoots him dead.
    • Prudence Pratt from Star Spangled Murder, Lucy's neighbor. A shrew and a nag. Her crowning achievement is stealing one of her other neighbor's favorite chicken, cooking it, and inviting said neighbor over to eat it just for kicks. This causes said neighbor to snap and run her down with her truck.
    • Nadine Nelson from New Year's Eve Murder. The head of Jolie Magazine, Nadine is a Rich Bitch to her core, especially for arguing in favor of using real fur in clothing and having poverty stricken people in foreign villages model expensive jewelry.
    • George Temple, from English Tea Murder. Before becoming a professor at Winchester College, he was an investment advisor who ended up running a ponzi scheme, which ended up destroying the lives of the people on Lucy's tour. This made all the members of the tour work together to kill him.
    • Jake Marlowe, a much despised moneylender from Christmas Carol Murder.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: It turns out Miss Tilley's mother's nurse was one of these and threw her down the stairs. Said nurse is long dead by the time of Candy Canes of Christmas Past.
  • Big Bad: Professor Quentin Rea is this to George Temple's murder, guiding 4 students and their parents (or grandparent in the case of Dr. Cope) to plan an asthma attack to kill him. Note that while Temple had destroyed the lives of the other group members bar Lucy and her friends, his motive for killing Temple was purely for selfish reasons.
  • Bludgeoned to Death:
    • Morrill Slack is killed by a blow to the head with a video camera in Tippy Toe Murder'.
    • Curt Nolan is killed by being struck on the head with a Metinnicut war club in Turkey Day Murder.
    • In English Tea Murder, when she gets to be a liability, Autumn Mackie is killed by a single blow to the head.
    • The victim of Candy Corn Murder is killed by a blow to his head from a tire iron.
  • Book Ends: Star Spangled Murder begins with a scene from the point of view from the Stone family's dog, Kudo, who is hit by a car and killed later on. The book ends with a chapter from the point of view of the Stone's new dog, Liberty, AKA Libby.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Rick Jurgens is killed in Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots.
  • Camp Gay: Hayden Northcross of Valentine Murder acts like this to mess with the more conservative residents of Tinker's Cove. This makes it that much easier for Ed Bumpus to kill him and frame him for Bitsy's murder, since he doesn't particularly like gay people.
  • Celebrity Paradox: The series has a woman by the name of Norah Hemmings acting as an Expy for Oprah Winfrey, and yet Chocolate Covered Murder has Lucy compare herself to Oprah by name.
  • Christmas Episode: Christmas is easily the most recurring holiday in the series, being the theme for nine of the books, if counting the novellas.
  • Con Man: For all his bluster, Ron Davitz ultimately is this.
  • Cool Old Lady: Miss Tilley can be this at times.
  • Crooked Contractor: Ed Bumpus' motive for killing Bitsy Howell in Valentine Murder. He used shoddy materials when doing the library so that he could pocket the difference, and he was worried she would find out about it.
  • Darker and Edgier: Tippy Toe Murder deals with an effort to save a five year old child from her sexually abusive father. It and the murder of Morrill Slack are basically unconnected.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Max Fraser and Tamzin Graves and are found in odd poses when their bodies are found in Chocolate Covered Murder. Tamzin more so since she was stripped naked and covered in chocolate.
  • Death in the Clouds: A professor dies of an "asthma attack" while on Lucy's flight to England in English Tea Murder.
  • Dirty Cop: Christmas Cookie Murder has a police officer running an anti-drug program for Tinker's Cove. He's actually working with drug smugglers and is the killer.
  • Dirty Coward: Quentin Rea. Not only does he try to kill Lucy by strangling her from behind, he tries to save his own neck with a plea deal by ratting out the people he got to kill George Temple. Luckily, Lucy is able to convince DA Aucoin that Rea made the whole thing up from some literature he wrote, making sure the bastard's going to rot in jail.
  • Driven to Suicide: In Mistletoe Murder, Dave Davidson's wife Carol hangs herself due to her husband's affair.
  • Disposing of a Body: The sabotage of the Giant Pumpkin Fest in Candy Corn Murder (the underwater pumpkin carving contest in particular) is revealed to be so the killer would keep people from discovering the corpse of the woman his fsther murdered decades earlier and dumped in the lake.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first few books had some sort of caption for each chapter based on the book's theme, like catalog item descriptions for Mistletoe Murder, and instructions on a ballet pamphlet in Tippy Toe Murder. It was brought back for New Years Eve Murder in the form of article titles for Jolie Magazine.
  • Elder Abuse:
    • Miss Tilley is subject to this by Snake Henderson and her grand-niece Shirley in Birthday Party Murder.
    • Vivian Van Vorst is subject to this from her granddaughter, grandson-in-law, and their attorney in Easter Bunny Murder.
  • Everybody Did It: The tour group of English Tea Murder worked together to kill George Temple.
  • Faked Kidnapping: It turns out Nemo Anderson's kidnapping was this, to get $500,000 out of his mother's rich parents. The plan fails when the grandfather hires a private investigator and discovers the plot, refusing to play along by giving the ransom. Soon enough, Nemo's father arrives, kills Rick, and makes the kidnapping very real.
  • Foreshadowing: A few times, the books mention characters that appear in later books:
    • In Father's Day Murder, Lucy mentions her neighbor Prudence Pratt having trouble with Kudo eating her chickens. Prudence would become the victim of Star Spangled Murder.
    • In Wicked Witch Murder, Lucy takes a boy named Nemo Anderson back to his parent's place when they can't pick him up from a Halloween party. Nemo is kidnapped in the novella Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots.
  • The Ghost: Elfrida, Phyllis' cousin, is constantly mentioned, but never seen until Easter Bunny Murder.
  • Groin Attack: Lucy prevents Quentin Rea from killing her in English Tea Murder by squeezing his junk as hard as she can while he's strangling her.
  • Hidden Depths: Franny Smalls. Early in the series, she gets into business making jewelry out of little parts like nuts and bolts. Come Bake Sale Murder, the business has taken off so much that she travels to China quarterly to get new materials.
    • It's also revealed in Tippy-Toe Murder that Franny killed her abusive husband and got away with it.
  • High-Voltage Death: It turns out Van Duff from Easter Bunny Murder was killed this way, with wires hooked up to a portable generator wrapped around the large metal grille of the closed gate, and the Easter Bunny costume likely covered up signs of electrocution.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each main book and some of the novella stories starts with some sort of holiday (or a reference to something about said holiday) or day of celebration followed by the word "Murder". For example: Mistletoe Murder, Wedding Day Murder, Wicked Witch Murder.
    • Subverted with the first two novellas, since that format is how the Hannah Swensen books operate and would likely get confusing, and for The Christmas Thief, which doesn't involve murder at all.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Detective Horowitz of the Maine State Police.
    • This can also apply to Inspector John Neal from English Tea Murder.
  • It's Personal: In Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots, Lucy's boss Ted takes a vested interest in the kidnapping of Nemo Anderson, since his best friend in first grade disappeared as well, and he only learned when he was older that his naked body was found in a dumpster.
  • Karmic Death: Ed Bumpus used cheap materials to rebuild Tinker's Cove' library, then killed the librarian to keep her from finding out and killed another man to frame him for the murder. When he tries to fight Bill on the roof of the library, it caves in and kills him.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The motive behind the murder in Christmas Cookie Murder. The killer was afraid the victim had seen the drug smuggling happening on a path near her hiking trail.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Apparently, Ron Davitz isn't the first thief in his family, as his mother was accused of embezzlement in the 1970's.
  • Mama Bear: Lucy, when her kids are in danger.
    • Ocean Anderson from Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots. She was initially in on the fake kidnapping of her son. But when he's kidnapped for real by the boy's father, she gets an automatic and goes to the guy's place herself. Helps that her father sends some backup.
  • Meaningful Name: Lucy's grandson is named Patrick, due to being born on St. Patrick's day.
  • Naked People Are Funny: A sub-plot of Star Spangled Murder is the arrival of nudists to Tinker's Cove.
  • Never Suicide:
    • Sam Miller III of Mistletoe Murder is found in his car with a small hose put in his tailpipe to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. The story falls apart when the coroner finds he was hit on the back of the head.
    • Hayden Northcross of Valentine Murder supposedly shoots himself out of guilt for killing Bitsy Howell. It was actually Ed Bumpus, covering his tracks.
    • Sherman Cobb of Wedding Day Murder appears to have shot himself in his office. He was really murdered by Snake.
  • Non-Indicative Title: Despite having "Murder" in the title like the other books of the series outside of The Christmas Thief, Haunted House Murder does not feature a murder. Instead, it focuses on the disappearance of a child.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Ron Davitz's mother in Wedding Day Murder. Thankfully, Sidra Finch does not marry Ron (mostly due to him being dead), so that woman does not become her mother-in-law.
  • Offing the Offspring: The fate of Snake Henderson, courtesy of his mother Shirley.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Miss Tilley's full name is Julia Ward Howe Tilley, but only her closest friends would ever dare call her that.
    • Detective Horowitz could also qualify. Christmas Cookie Murder identifies his first name as "CJ".
    • Toby's full name is Tobias.
    • "Slash" Milley, the true villain of Gingerbread Cookies and Gunshots, hates going by his birth name, Sylvester.
  • Parental Incest: In Tippy Toe Murder, a particularly repugnant example happens in the book's main plot. The main story involves the disappearance of a retired dance instructor, with a few chapters revealing she's seemingly kidnapped a small child. It turns out the instructor's trying to help one of her former students by hiding her daughter from her father, who's been accused of sexually abusing the girl. Halfway through the book it's confirmed the father has indeed been molesting his child, and he even reminisces on the first time he did it. When she was a baby. Lucy takes it upon herself to hide the girl with her family after the father brutalizes the instructor when he can't find his daughter.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Morrill Slack calls his own daughter-in-law a dago, a slur primarily used against Italians and Italian-Americans.
  • Ponzi: George Temple, the victim of English Tea Murder, ran one of these while working as an investment advisor once he lost his job as a bank president.
  • Prequel: "Candy Canes of Christmas Past", released in 2007 but set before the first book (released in 1991), tells the story of Lucy, struggling to raise Toby and pregnant with Elizabeth, looking into the death of Miss Tilley's mother.
  • Private Military Contractors: Ocean Anderson's grandfather apparently has access to these via Wilberforce Industries. They help Ocean save Nemo from Slash Milley, killing the latter in the process if the fire didn't get him first.
  • Punny Name:
    • The head of the newspaper from Father's Day Murder was named Luther Read.
    • Prudence Pratt from Star Spangled Murder is a possible case of this. She's against the nudists coming to Tinker's Cove, rather prudish, and her Jerkass behavior makes her kind of a Pratt.
    • Jake Marlowe. Since the guy is the victim of a book called Christmas Carol Murder, worked as a moneylender, and his partner talks about seeing his ghost, take a wild guess who his name is based on...
  • The Scrooge:
    • Morrill Slack from Tippy Toe Murder is a tightfisted old man and a total asshole.
    • Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner from Christmas Carol Murder. Jake is a cheap man who runs Downeast Mortgage alongside Scribner, which has most of Tinker's Cove under its thumb. Like A Christmas Carol, the latter gets better as a person and the former dies.
  • Sinister Minister: Dave Davidson, the killer of Mistletoe Murder.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Some of the books begin from the perspective of the victims before they die.
    • Trick or Treat Murder begins with Monica Mayes heading to her family home after finding her husband in bed with her trainer and then going to sleep in the house...just before it gets burned down.
    • Valentine Murder follows librarian Bitsy Howell as she sets up at the library before the day's story time and before she gets shot.
    • Candy Corn Murder keeps jumping back and forth to the 1970s from the perspective of a woman in an abusive family life until she is murdered.
    • Christmas Carol Murder starts with victim Jake Marlowe going through his morning before he gets blown up with a mail bomb.
  • Sympathetic Murderer:
    • Franny Small is revealed to have killed her husband by tricking him into falling down their basement stairs in Tippy Toe Murder. But he was an abusive prick, so Lucy doesn't mind.
    • The tour group in English Tea Murder. All of their lives had been ruined in some way by George Temple's ponzi scheme, so they all got together to give the prick what he deserved. Note that this does not apply to the guy who planned the murder, Quentin Rea.
  • Tap on the Head:
    • Played straight in Star Spangled Murder, when Lucy gets knocked out with a chicken feed bucket.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink:
    • Luther Read of Father's Day Murder is killed when he is given a bottle of water laced with cyanide.
    • The victim of Eggnog Murder is killed by a bottle of poisoned, you guessed it, eggnog.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Lucy gets a crush on her professor Quentin Rea when she takes some classes in Back to School Murder. Downplayed, as while she does kiss him and let him feel one of her breasts, she comes to her senses and stops.
    • Quentin reappears in English Tea Murder, apparently still having a thing for Lucy. As the description of the book says:
      "In London, Professor Quentin Rea, a ladies' man and former flirt of Lucy's, arrives to take over the tour-and she finds that while his hairline has receded, his amorous intentions have not."
    • Quentin is in one of these with Autumn Mackie (or at least Autumn thinks they are) in that book. It ends poorly when she announces that she is pregnant, and he kills her when she plans to announce their relationship.
  • Theme Naming: The Anderson family in Tinker's Cove lives in a run down aquarium. The woman of the family is Ocean and the son's name is Nemo.
  • Vacation Episode: Three books in the series, two in England (English Tea and British Manor) and one in France (French Pastry Murder).
  • Wedding Episode: Wedding Day Murder, where an internet millionaire sets up his wedding to Sidra Finch, daughter of Lucy's best friend Sue. As it turns out, the millionaire is using the wedding and resulting honeymoon as his chance to flee the investors he scammed in his fake dot com.
  • Western Terrorists: The villains of New Year's Eve Murder turn out to be a terrorist group centered around both environmentalism and radical feminism.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole: Jake Marlowe, being the greedy scumbag he was and having most of Tinker's Cove trapped in mortgages, is basically despised by all of the town.
  • You Got Murder: Jake Marlowe is murdered by a mail bomb in Christmas Carol Murder.
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