You Need to Read This Cozy Murder Mystery Series

Woodland creatures. Deadly secrets. The perfect winter read.

“Woodland creatures with murder.” That’s how local author Sharon Nagel describes Shady Hollow, a book series for adults she co-writes with Jocelyn Koehler under the pen name Juneau Black. Set in the titular hollow, the murder mysteries follow Vera Vixen, a fox and journalist, as she uncovers deadly secrets lurking beneath the community of woodland creatures. “It’s just a very cozy place to spend time,” Koehler says. 


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The cute critter-filled series may never have existed if not for Boswell Book Co., where Nagel and Koehler both worked. “[Owner Daniel Goldin] asked us to price some finger puppets that were woodland creatures,” Nagel says. “We created names and occupations for the animals.” From there, they spent National Novel Writing Month (November) co-writing a book about their animal characters, which they got published in 2015. “[Goldin] would sell it to anyone who would stand still long enough – and still does,” Nagel says. 

Fast forward seven years, and they have three novels in the series, plus a wintry holiday novella Evergreen Chase. A fourth book from the series arrives next year. 

Find the books at or Boswell Book Co. (2559 N. Downer Ave.).


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s December issue.

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Brianna Schubert is the associate digital editor and writes about art, culture and more at Milwaukee Magazine. When she’s not writing/editing, she’s likely reading (follow her book reviews on Instagram at @read_with_bee), cooking or listening to Taylor Swift.