What is a Cozy Mystery you ask? I too have wondered what criteria was used to classify a book as a Cozy Mystery. So I did a bit of research, googling, and reading to figure it out, and there seems to be a few distinct parameters that tend to make up a Cozy Mystery novel.
First and foremost a CM almost always has a woman as the main character in the story. The leading lady is nearly always educated, very likeable and kind, and lives in a small or scenic town where everyone knows everyone. The lead character is an amateur sleuth or detective and has some quirky or homey profession such as a florist, psychic intuitive, antique dealer, shop owner, or housewife. This allows the character a bit more freedom when it comes to her sleuthing and amateur detective work. It also makes it easier for her to get out of prior obligations, skirt working duties, or take time away to follow up on details without employers getting too upset. Many times they own their own small business so an employer isn’t a problem anyway.
Another component to CM is that the husband, best friend, or significant other of the leading lady tend to be employed as a detective, police officer, or private investigator. This allows the lead to glean details and inside information about the particulars of the case or mystery she is trying to solve. They are viewed as non-threatening and are therefore able to ferret out vital information that can help piece together the mystery.
Cozy Mysteries also tend to be pretty light on the sex and cursing. While there may be some intimate moments shared between the lead and her significant other, sex is usually only hinted at or implied. There is often no full disclosure or explicit love scene. There is also very little cursing. Many remain more on the clean side or only utilize swear words every now and again. Now like everything there are always exceptions to the rules. Some authors, in an effort to stay modern or keep with the times, do incorporate explicit love scenes or profanity.
Many Cozy Mysteries usually has a plot that moves fast with a whole lot of twists, turns, and aha moments. The lead is usually constantly targeted and always on the brink or edge of danger. She sometimes makes rash and impulsive decisions that may draw her closer to solving the mystery, but usually always lands her in trouble or danger. Also, many Cozy Mystery books are apart of a series. So if you happen to pick up a CM, you might want to check and see if the author has written any previous books that belong to the series. If you’re like me you won’t want to read them out of order.
So to review the key components of a Cozy Mystery are as follows:
- Lead is usually a woman
- She is an amateur sleuth
- She’s kind and well liked, educated, with a flexible job
- Usually set in a small town or village
- Community is tight knit and close
- Husband, Boyfriend, Best-Friend, or S/O is usually a cop, detective, or investigator
- Usually light on the sex and profanity
- Plot includes many twists
- Lead is almost always in danger
- Many are a part of a series
So that’s it. I hope this helps some better understand what a Cozy Mystery is all about and that you all go out and start enjoying some. A few of my favorites include the Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye series by Victoria Laurie, The Valentine series by Heather Webber, and the Witchcraft Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell. If you’re looking for a good Cozy Mystery series, I’d start with one of those.
Filed in: Anatomy Post, Cozy Mystery, Mystery Tags: Anatomy Post, Cozy Mystery