Published since the 1990s, the Lucy Stone Mystery Series is (mostly) a holiday-themed crime series written by Leslie Meier.
The story revolves around Lucy Stone, mother of four, a newspaper reporter in (fictional) Tinker’s Cove, Maine. When she is not baking, taking care of her children’s problems, helping her friends, or doing her journalistic work, she’s solving murders!
How to read the Lucy Stone Series in Order?
Every entry in the Lucy Stone book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Mistletoe Murder – As if baking holiday cookies, knitting a sweater for her husband’s gift, and making her daughter’s angel costume for the church pageant weren’t enough things for Lucy Stone’s busy Christmas schedule, she’s also working nights at the famous mail-order company Country Cousins. But when she discovers Sam Miller, its very wealthy founder, dead in his car from an apparent suicide, the sleuth in her knows something just doesn’t smell right.
- Tippy Toe Murder – With three kids underfoot, a fourth on the way, and an oppressive heat wave bearing down, Lucy Stone is hardly enjoying an idyllic summer. But her preoccupation with swelling ankles, Bavarian creme doughnut cravings, and sewing endless sequins on ballet recital tutus gives way to dread when Lucy learns that her waistline isn’t the only thing that’s recently vanished from Tinker’s Cove…
- Trick or Treat Murder – It’s October in Maine, and everyone in Tinker’s Cove is preparing for the annual Halloween festival. While Lucy Stone is whipping up orange-frosted cupcakes, recycling tutus for her daughters’ Halloween costumes, helping her son with his pre-teen rebellion, and breast-feeding her brand-new bay, an arsonist is loose in Tinker’s Cove. When the latest fire claims the life of the owner of the town’s oldest house, arson turns into murder…
- Back to School Murder – A bomb goes off with the noon lunch bell, but not before all the kids are safely evacuated, and Carol Crane, the new assistant principal, is hailed as a hero. But days later, Carol is found murdered and everyone is stunned when the most popular teacher at the school is arrested for the crime. However, not everyone is buying the open-and-shut case, including Lucy Stone, who senses there’s more to things than meets the eye.
- Valentine Murder – It’s Valentine’s Day in Tinker’s Cove. And while the cupcakes Lucy Stone is baking for her children will have pink frosting and candy hearts, Lucy’s thoughts aren’t centered on sugary sentiments. She’s barely arrived at her first board meeting of the newly-renovated library when Bitsy Howell, the new librarian, is found dead in the basement, shot only minutes before story hour was to start. The agitated board members assume that Bitsy was killed by an outsider, until Detective Lt. Horowitz arrives on the scene and announces that the killer is among them.
- Christmas Cookie Murder – Petty rivalries and feuds that have long been simmering finally come to a boil, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many guests, including Lee Cummings who accuses Tucker Whitney of stealing her recipe for low-fat, sugar-free cookies. But the icing on the cake is when Tucker is found strangled in her apartment the following morning.
- Turkey Day Murder – Tinker’s Cove has a long history of Thanksgiving festivities. But this year, someone has added murder to the menu, and Lucy Stone intends to discover who left Metinnicut Indian activist Curt Nolan deader than the proverbial Thanksgiving turkey–with an ancient war club next to his head.
- Wedding Day Murder – Already juggling four kids’ hectic schedules, a rambunctious dog, an attention-craving husband, and a full-time reporter job, Lucy Stone can’t possibly squeeze in another responsibility…or can she? When Sue Finch asks for help planning her daughter Sidra’s wedding to Internet millionaire Ron Davitz, loyal pal Lucy willingly dives into the world of white lace, roses, and chair rentals. What could be more perfect than a backyard Summer wedding in the Stones’ newly built gazebo? Yet when the groom’s body is found floating beside his yacht, Lucy isn’t convinced it was an accidental drowning.
- Birthday Party Murder – The whole town of Tinker’s Cove is looking forward to the celebration marking former librarian Julia Ward Howe Tilley’s ninetieth birthday. Lucy Stone, Miss Tilley’s closest friend, dreamed up the party idea–until she realizes her daughter’s fourteenth birthday bash, a coed sleepover, may turn her hair white overnight. What was she thinking when she agreed to let Sara have the party? Obviously, she wasn’t thinking about the hormonal rampages of young teens. On her mind, instead, was the shocking death of Sherman Cobb, the town’s oldest attorney, an apparent suicide. His law partner, however, thinks Sherman was murdered.
- Father’s Day Murder – When her part-time reporting gig gives Lucy the opportunity to attend a Boston newspaper conference, she looks forward to the vacation from domestic bliss. And in between libel workshops and panel discussions, Lucy takes a guilt trip. She feels terrible that she won’t be home to help her husband celebrate Father’s Day. But when Luther Read–head of a nearly bankrupt newspaper dynasty–suddenly drops dead, Lucy has other things to think about.
- Star Spangled Murder – Lucy Stone is in the doghouse with her crabby next-door neighbor Mrs. Pratt. It seems that the Stones’ misbehaving mutt has developed a taste for Mrs. Pratt’s blue-ribbon-winning chickens. As if that’s not enough, a group of naturists is skinny-dipping in the pond bordering Mrs. Pratt’s property, and the local lobstermen suspect her husband and son of poaching. Then Mrs. Pratt is the victim of a hit-and-run, and Lucy and her family are among the suspects.
- New Year’s Eve Murder – After the annual parade of Christmas presents in Tinker’s Cove has ended, Lucy Stone and her daughter Elizabeth are ready to ring in the new year in style. Elizabeth has won mother/daughter winter makeovers in Manhattan from Jolie magazine! But the all-expenses-paid trip is bound to have some hidden costs… After finally arriving at the offices of Jolie, things turn downright ugly when self-absorbed fashion editor Nadine Nelson falls mysteriously ill and then dies…
- Bake Sale Murder – Ever since local developer Fred Stanton and his wife, Mimi, built five modular homes next door to Lucy Stone’s farmhouse, life just hasn’t been the same. With Mimi complaining about everything from the state of Lucy’s lawn to another neighbor’s lovable dog, quaint Tinker’s Cove, Maine, is now entangled in cul-de-sac politics and backstabbing. And when Mimi doesn’t show up for her shift at The Hat and Mitten Fund bake sale, the scent of burnt sugar leads Lucy to a shocking discovery: Mimi, face down on her kitchen floor–with a knife in her back.
- Candy Cane Murder (short story) – Lucy Stone must learn the mystery of a glass candy cane that was found smashed to bits by a corpse’s body to unlock the doors of Christmas past-and find a killer who got away with murder.
- St. Patrick’s Day Murder – Not many people in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, knew Old Dan Malone. The grizzled barkeep’s social circle was limited to the rough-hewn lobstermen and other assorted toughs that frequented his bar. But when his body is found bobbing in the town’s icy harbor, Lucy Stone makes getting to know more about Old Dan a priority.
- Mother’s Day Murder – At least Lucy Stone gets to kick back and enjoy a fancy Mother’s Day brunch with her brood–that is, before the festivities are interrupted by a nasty scene courtesy of Barbara Hume and Tina Nowak. Opposites in every way, the only thing these mean moms have in common is the need to best each other at every turn. Even after witnessing the women’s claw sharpening rituals, Lucy never expects to see actual blood spilled–until Tina is shot dead on the public tennis court.
- Wicked Witch Murder – When the bewitching Diana Ravenscroft comes to quiet Tinker’s Cove and opens Solstice, a quaint little shop offering everything from jewelry to psychic readings, Lucy Stone writes her off as eccentric but harmless. Even after Diana gives her a disturbingly accurate reading, Lucy can’t help but befriend the newcomer. But not everyone in town is so enchanted. And when Lucy stumbles upon a dead body near her home, she can’t shake the feeling that something sinister is lurking in the crisp October air…
- Gingerbread Cookie Murder (short story) – When Lucy Stone discovers the body of Rick Juergens, whose five-year-old son Nemo disappeared, she senses foul play. Crumbs from a gingerbread cookie Lucy gave to Nemo are found in the back seat of Rick’s car. With the hours quickly ticking till Christmas, Lucy races against the clock to find a killer before he strikes again.
- English Tea Murder – Between a busy family and her duties as a reporter for the Tinker’s Cove Pennysaver, Lucy Stone could use a break. So when a friend tells her about a trip to England sponsored by Winchester College, she jumps at the chance for a girls getaway. But when tour leader Professor George Temple dies mid-flight after an asthma attack, Lucy’s glad she packed her sleuthing skills…
- Chocolate Covered Murder – Lucy Stone is asked to write an article about a new local business, Chanticleer’s Chocolates. But, as is so often the case with Lucy, it turns out not to be your usual run-of-the mill assignment… A local fisherman drowns suspiciously and then Chanticleer’s sultry store manager turns up dead and covered in chocolate. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, Lucy gets on the case.
- The Christmas Thief (short story) – Elizabeth Stone is ready for a white Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine-until a fancy Yule ball at the Florida hotel where she works dumps snow on her plans. The sponsor’s jewels have gone missing and the police are asking about her ties to a cute mystery guest. Good thing Elizabeth’s mother, Lucy Stone, flew down to surprise her. ʼTis the season for a little investigating…
- Easter Bunny Murder – With a harsh Maine winter finally over, Lucy Stone is excited to cover the annual Easter egg hunt for the Tinker’s Cove Pennysaver. Hosted by elderly socialite Vivian Van Vorst at her oceanfront estate, it’s a swanky event where the eggs are as likely to contain savings bonds as jelly beans. But when Lucy arrives at Pine Point, the gates are locked, and a man dressed as the Easter Bunny emerges only to drop dead moments later…
- Christmas Carol Murder – Lucy normally loves planning for the holidays, but this year Tinker’s Cove has fallen on hard times. With so many residents struggling to make ends meet, Christmas festivities are a luxury some can’t afford. But the story’s not so bleak at Downeast Mortgage, whose tight-fisted owners, Jake Marlowe and Ben Scribner, are raking in profits from everyone’s misfortune. Half the town is in their debt, so when the miserly Marlowe is murdered, the mourners are few and the suspects are many…
- French Pastry Murder – Lucy always dreamed of visiting Paris, but when renowned pastry chef Larry Bruneau is discovered on death’s doorstep and Lucy and her friends are detained for questioning, she’s worried she’ll be trading in her luxury accommodations for a sojourn in the Bastille. Now, if she’s going to enjoy her vacation, she’ll have to unpack her sleuthing skills and clear her name…
- Candy Corn Murder – Lucy’s getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found…until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge, revealing a deceased Evan… Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide, so Lucy knows she’s got some serious sleuthing to do.
- British Manor Murder – Although the earl of the house and his sister are surprisingly accommodating to their jetlagged guests, Lucy feels uneasy after a fallen portrait sparks talk of a deadly family omen. The bad vibes come in quickly-snobby Aunt Millicent and her handmaiden Harrison unexpectedly drop by for the exhibition, and meals with the family are consistently tense. But real trouble begins when a body, bludgeoned by the chapel’s gold-plated reliquary, is found in a hidden, sealed off room. Stranger still, the corpse is identified as Harrison’s son, Cyril.
- Eggnog Murder (short story) – When a gift-wrapped bottle of eggnog-allegedly from the Real Beard Santa Club-proves to be a killer concoction for a Tinker’s Cove local, all Lucy Stone wants for Christmas is to find the murdering mixologist who’s stirring up trouble.
- Turkey Trot Murder – Besides the annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving Day, Lucy expects the approaching holiday to be a relatively uneventful one-until she finds beautiful Alison Franklin dead and frozen in Blueberry Pond. No one knows much about Alison, except that she was the daughter of wealthy investor Ed Franklin and struggled quietly with drug addiction. Police blame her death on an accidental overdose, but Lucy can’t understand what terrible forces could lead a privileged woman to watery ruin…
- Silver Anniversary Murder – As Tinker’s Cove, Maine, buzzes over a town-wide silver wedding anniversary bash, Lucy is reminded of her nuptials and ponders the whereabouts of Beth Gerard, her strong-willed maid of honor. Lucy never would have made it down the aisle without Beth’s help, and although the two friends lost touch over the years, she decides to reach out. It only takes one phone call for Lucy to realize that a reunion will happen sooner than later-at Beth’s funeral.
- Yule Log Murder (short story) – Lucy Stone is thrilled to be cast as an extra in a festive period film-until the set becomes a murder scene. Returning to her role as sleuth, Lucy dashes to restore peace to Tinker’s Cove, unwrap a cold-hearted criminal’s MO-and reveal how one ornate Yule log cake could possibly cause so much drama.
- Haunted House Murder (short story) – Newcomers to Tinker’s Cove, Ty, and Heather Moon have moved into a dilapidated house reputed to be a haven for ghosts. Now strange noises and flickering lights erupt from the house at all hours and neighborly relations are on edge. And when a local boy goes missing near the house, it’s up to Lucy Stone to unravel the mystery of the eccentric couple and their increasingly frightful behavior.
- Invitation Only Murder – Lucy doesn’t know what to expect as she arrives on a private Maine island owned by eccentric billionaire Scott Newman, only that the exclusive experience should make for a very intriguing feature story. An avid environmentalist, Scott has stripped the isolated property of modern conveniences in favor of an extreme eco-friendly lifestyle. A trip to Holiday Island is like traveling back to the nineteenth century, and it turns out other residents aren’t exactly enthusiastic about living without cell service and electricity…
- Christmas Card Murder (short story) – In the midst of holiday home renovations, Lucy Stone unwraps a murder mystery decades in the making when she discovers an old Christmas card with a nasty message inside. The case may be colder than a New England Christmas, but Lucy’s determined to sort it out before Santa comes to town.
- Irish Parade Murder – After returning from her father-in-law’s funeral in Florida, Lucy can almost hear the death knell of her part-time reporter job the instant she meets new hire Rob Callahan. He’s young, ambitious, and positioning himself to become the Pennysaver’s next star reporter. Adding insult to injury, Lucy only gets assigned the local St. Patrick’s Day parade once Rob passes on the story. But before beer flows and bagpipes sound, Rob becomes suspected of destroying more than other people’s careers . . .
- Easter Bonnet Murder – Known for its cheerful staff and elaborate annual Easter Bonnet Contest, the Heritage House senior center regularly attracts new residents and positive press. But once the town’s retired librarian, Miss Julia Tilley, checks in to recover from an illness, Lucy sees a side of the facility that isn’t quite so perfect and pristine. And the place may soon be making headlines for different reasons following an unexplained disappearance…
- Mother of the Bride Murder – When Lucy Stone arrives at a sprawling French chateau with the whole family, it should be the trip of a lifetime-especially because she’s about to watch her oldest daughter, Elizabeth, marry the handsome, successful man of her dreams. But while navigating the vast countryside estate owned by her impenetrably wealthy in-laws-to-be, the jet-lagged mother of the bride has a creeping feeling that Elizabeth’s fairytale nuptials to Jean-Luc Schoen-Rene are destined to become a nightmare . . .
If you like the Lucy Stone reading order, you may also want to check out The Hanna Swensen Series or Jenn McKinlay’s Books. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.