I first discovered this author's books sometime in my teens, but I still enjoy sitting down with one on a snowy day. They're fairly short, and usually don't take much more than an hour or so to breeze through, so they're a perfect weekend/evening indulgence - like chocolate!
Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart
Stewart has a deft hand with a plot, and her heroines aren't milksops. Most of her books have a sort of modern Gothic feel to them - if you like Barbara Michaels (a.k.a Elizabeth Peters), chances are you'll find Stewart to your liking.Chance results in Vanessa March spotting her husband where he patently isn't supposed to be. Sick at heart that he's lied to her, she sets out to locate her errant spouse in the Austrian Alps.
Accompanied at the last moment by an engaging teenage companion, the pair are the only witnesses to an aging circus horse performing airs above the ground, or specialized actions only one of the famed Spanish Lipizzaners would be trained for. As with any good circus act, there's a lot more going on than what's showing on the surface.
Missing jewels, missing persons, espionage, and a truly hair-raising conclusion make this one of my absolute favorite of Stewart's novels.
This is, as far as I know, one of only two novels Stewart wrote that has horses central to the plot, but her level of detail is quite good. (The other title is The Ivy Tree, which revolves around a family squabble, a case of mistaken identity, an inheritance, a nefarious plot to claim said inheritance, and of course a bit of romance. In that case, the heroine's talent with horses is... no, but that's telling! :) But I will say there's a mad horseback dash across country to prevent murder. Wonderfully suspenseful!)
So there you have it. Not quite a true British "cozy" for your February viewing pleasure, but a nice treat to curl up with nonetheless.