The One Where I Blog About What A Cozy Mystery Is

I thought I’d start off 2024 by actually talking about what cozy mysteries actually are and why I like them.

Now this post might be a little redundant if you’re already a cozy mystery reader, but in case you’re not and you’ve stumbled onto my website for the first time, let me talk a little bit about cozy mysteries and why I enjoy them.

Most people know what a mystery is. Whether it’s a murder, theft, disappearance, or any other thing that leaves onlookers a little stumped, mystery stories are practically weaved through almost all stories. In the very first Star Wars, there’s the mystery of who Darth Vader is, what Luke Skywalker’s family lineage is, even who Obi-Wan Kenobi is.

Harry Potter has the more obvious mystery in those books, starting with the Philosopher’s Stone and who’s behind trying to get to it and for what purposes.

Stories that don’t even revolve around a major mystery still have elements of mystery. Romance stories have the must “will they, won’t they” mystery that romance fans love and wait with bated breath to find out if the couple ends up together.

But we’re talking about actual mysteries. What differentiates cozy mysteries from regular mysteries is that while mysteries have an initial crime of some sort that the protagonist must solve, in cozies the gory details of the actual crime are tempered down greatly. Also, coarse language is usually limited a great deal. Blood and guts and f-bombs aren’t to be found in a cozy mystery.

Another thing that most cozy mysteries have is that the main detective isn’t actually a detective. They are in the sense that they are on the case and are trying to solve the mystery, but usually the detective in a cozy is an amateur sleuth of sorts. This isn’t always the case, but more often than not you’re going to find the main protagonist as someone who has to solve the case, for one reason or another, even though they aren’t part of law enforcement.

Sidenote: Monk is obviously an exception to the detective rule of cozy mysteries (as are a few others), but in Monk’s case it kind of still applies. While he was a professional detective with the police department, he has since become a “consultant” which gives Monk an amateur sleuth-type feel because he technically isn’t a part of the police department.

Okay, so we don’t have blood and guts, we don’t have characters using bad words, and we technically don’t even have a professional detective. If we don’t have all those things that many mystery fans like about their mystery stories, why in the world is cozy mystery so popular and why do I like them?

To me the answer is simple: The characters.

Every reader is different, and one reader might like a cozy mystery for one reason while another reader likes it because of something completely different. For me, though, the characters in the cozy mysteries are some of the best parts of the stories. That’s why I like writing them, too, because I like to craft characters.

It’s not just the main protagonist either. It’s where the cozy mystery takes place, which a lot of the times is a small town. You learn about the bumbling sheriff, or the nosey librarian, or in my case in the Rosie Reynolds series, the old vampire couple who run a B&B. The town itself becomes a character in the story.

The fact that the main character isn’t a professional also adds a little something extra to the story. Your “detective” can’t just access a police database. They can’t snoop around a crime scene or question witnesses as a member of some sort of professional organization. The detective in a cozy mystery has to find other ways around the legal rules to figure out whodunit while still not breaking any laws themselves. Well, not any major ones.

That’s another fun thing about our main character, they can skirt the rules a little. Bend but don’t break. Because they aren’t a police officer or detective. They are a concerned citizen trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, while others involved sometimes don’t even think there is a mystery to be solved.

All of this and I haven’t even mentioned the sub-genres of cozy mysteries. There are culinary cozies, where the main character is a chef or baker. There are animal cozies where an animal is the main crime-solving detective. There are paranormal cozies where the surrounding town is filled with witches and shifters and vampires. I have a special affinity for paranormal cozies, as that’s what I’m currently writing.

And don’t even get me started on the cozy mysteries featuring a pet. Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, or some other furry friend, that’s just another element to add to the fun of the mystery.

I know using the term “fun” sounds like a misnomer when you’re talking about a mystery book, especially one that probably has to deal with a murder. But that’s the appeal of a cozy mystery. You get the mystery and the job of trying to piece together the puzzle of whodunit, while not having to worry about graphic descriptions of the murder or sex scenes between two possible love interests.

That might not sound like something some readers want. They want gory details. They want to see the love interests’ passionate embrace. They want to hear the police chief scream at the detective and tell him off and where he can go.

Cozy mystery readers want a murder mystery that’s light-hearted and fun. At least, that’s what I want.

That’s why I like cozy mysteries. Granted I’m a little late to the genre. I haven’t read the classics by Agatha Christie, but what I have read I thoroughly enjoyed, and it made me want to write more cozy mysteries than what I was writing before. I like that I can write about a murder without having to graphically describe the way a person died. I can write about a possible love interest without having to focus on the relationship. Maybe most importantly to me, I can write fun characters trying to solve a mystery and all the quirkiness that revolves around them with other characters, pets, and the town itself.


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *