When I think of the word, “cozy”, I conjure up images of sitting by the fireplace on a cold and rainy day curled up with a book and a cup of hot tea. To make the scene extra heartwarming, I picture myself reading my favorite cozy mystery.
During these pandemic times, a cozy mystery is just what you need to soothe your soul and fill your mind with optimism and hope that better days lie ahead. Let's take a closer look at the cozy mystery genre of books and what it offers.
What is a cozy mystery?
The cozy mystery is a subgenre of the crime fiction category. The plot of a cozy mystery typically features a crime or a murder which is usually solved by an amateur sleuth, a professional PI or a police detective. Also the sleuth or detective in the cozy mystery is more commonly depicted as a woman making the genre especially popular with women.
There are certain elements which are common to all cozy mysteries. First, the tone of a cozy mystery is generally light-hearted. While the plot may include a serious incident such as a murder, the story is written in such a way so as to not upset the reader.
A second element of the cozy mystery is the setting. Most of the mysteries may take place in picturesque, quaint, or cozy settings. Examples may include a cafe or coffee shop, a library, or a charming village or town.
A third element of the cozy mystery is that they are usually written as “clean” reads. There are absolutely no graphic depictions of sex or violence. If cozy mysteries were made into movies, they would either be rated G or PG and certainly nothing higher than PG-13.
While it may not appeal to everyone, the cozy mystery is a popular subgenre in the world of crime fiction and you just might want to consider including it as a part of your reading material. Additionally, cozy mysteries may be extra appealing to read during the pandemic.
We are all mostly stuck indoors and what better way to spend time than reading something that fills you with positivity and leaves you feeling uplifted. Here are some specific reasons why you should seriously consider reading a cozy mystery
Cozy mysteries can enrich your reading experience
If you were to perform a search on Amazon for cozy mysteries, you will see a dime a dozen cozy mystery books in the free or Kindle Unlimited section. While cozy mysteries may be found wall to wall, it doesn’t mean that your reading experience will become cheapened.
This is because some books in the cozy mystery genre are classics that belong in the category of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Such classics include the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie’s books featuring her famous protagonists Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Other famous authors who are a part of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction are Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers just to name a few.
Cozy mysteries focus on happiness
In addition to the classics of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, there are many more contemporary cozy mysteries. These cozy mysteries are like Hallmark movies. They leave you with sweetness and a feeling that everything is all right in the world. They convey a sense of optimism and hope when the villain or murderer is caught and the people affected by the crimes can finally move on with their lives.
Almost all cozy mysteries have happy endings. In addition, modern cozy mystery series are characterized by fun themes. These themes may be based on food, crafts and hobbies, books, and animals. Here are some of my favorite theme based cozy mystery series:
- Tea Shop Mystery series by Laura Childs. These mysteries are set around different kinds of teas and the protagonist is the owner of a teashop. The first book is called Death by Darjeeling. This is my favorite series because I love tea.
- Coffeehouse Mystery series by Cleo Coyle. These mysteries are set in a coffeehouse. The first book is called On What Grounds. These mysteries personally call out to me as I love drinking coffee and I enjoy the atmosphere of coffee houses and cafes.
- Dessert and food themed mystery series by Joanne Fluke. The title and plot of the books are based around desserts. The first book is called Chocolate Chip Murder. This is probably my second favorite series. In addition to murder, the books are full of mouth-watering recipes and who can resist desserts?
Cozy mysteries are relaxing
Studies have shown that reading before bed can help you sleep faster but your choice of bed-time reading material makes a difference. You want to avoid reading anything that is scary, violent or ultra depressing such as books in the horror or thriller genres. Also don't forget books that make you think about the pandemic. They can leave you feeling sleepless at night.
Cozy mysteries are not like thrillers. They don’t make your heart beat faster and they are not so gripping that you have to stay up all night to find out what happens next. In short, they are quite relaxing and needless to say some people may even find them boring which is why they make perfect bedtime and pandemic time reading material.
Cozy mysteries are family-friendly
Children love reading grown-up books but most adult books have mature themes that are unsuitable for children of any age. Cozy mysteries can be appropriate reading material for older children. Along with murder, they are also chockful of stories of family, friendship, loyalty and romance.
It is also worth noting that many cozy mysteries may feature the protagonist as a single woman sleuth. Who can forget Agatha Christie’s elderly sleuth Miss Marple? Then there are the Jessica Fletcher Murder She Wrote books based on the old TV series from the 1980s.
In both these cases, the protagonist is an older sleuth who is also a single woman. She may or may not have romantic entanglements in her life but she is never treated with derision or scorn or made to look like a spinster or cat lady. She is too busy solving murders and gaining the respect of the people around her.
The cozy mystery genre may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is one genre that is uniquely poised to increase in popularity as more and more people favor reading what feels good in these difficult times. In the spirit of the cozy mystery, I leave you with a quote by Anthony Trollope “What on Earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?”