Monday, February 22, 2021

Mystery Monday: What is a Cozy Mystery?

  Welcome to a brand new feature series here on Eastern Sunset Reads!

In the mess that was 2020, one exciting thing that came about is my discovery of Cozy Mysteries.  Yes, I knew they existed before but I never had a desire to pick one up but last year I ended up reading 17 of them! Clearly they have become a regular thing for me to pick up and it is such a vast genre that I can't wait to dive into more of them.  So Mystery Monday has become a thing and will be a (at least somewhat) regular thing here.  So stop by on Mondays to see my reviews of new books I have picked up, new releases, chat about sub-genres and lots more.

So today I thought I would talk a bit about what a Cozy Mystery actually is.  Now I am no expert on this genre and am in fact a newbie to it within the past year. In that time though I have really started exploring the genre, trying out a variety of authors and tropes/subgenres. I have read a variety of blogs, articles and watched a lot of Booktube videos, through all of that I have started to come to an understanding about what to look for in the Cozy Mystery realm.

Most places define a Cozy Mystery as a light mystery, nothing too dark, gruesome or explicit, with an amateur sleuth in a small town setting with a cast of unique and quirky characters.  The main character is the amateur sleuth and pulled into solving the mystery puzzle either because of their access to information or connection to the victim/victim's friends & family.  They often have a great support system of friends, family and co-workers.  You find out tidbits and clues as the character does and piece together the puzzle the mystery presents throughout the story. 

Cozy Mysteries also generally have a specific niche to go along with the interesting cast of characters and small town setting. They can take place around a specific location (ie: library, coffee shop, bed & breakfast, bakery, etc) or include a specific hoppy (ie: knitting, food preservation, writing, tea, etc.). These features help create sub-genres within the Cozy Mystery genre.  There really is a book for everyone!

As far as the who-dun-it, the villain is often not an evil person, they are usually people who are pushed so far they felt they had no other choice. They make bad choices and take things to an extreme measure of murder.  This plays into the theme in Cozy Mysteries of right and wrong, good and bad choices. 

So to wrap this up, Cozy Mysteries are a great way to branch out from other genres, it holds similar themes to literary fiction and often romance as well. The lack of the truly brutal crimes and intense official detective investigations make Cozy Mysteries a little easier to digest for readers from other genres. A great way to start is to go on a bookseller site and search for Cozy Mystery-your favorite hobby/interest. Some of my favorites so far have revolved around libraries and food, but search using your favorite hobby, be it quilting or writing, breweries or dog walking.  I will have another post in the future highlighting the wide variety of sub-genres/tropes.

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