As the temperature continues to creep closer to freezing and the frigid winter winds begin to blow, the more tempted we are to stay inside our heated homes — cozied up with warm blankets, hot beverages and mind-twisting mysteries.
At the library, we’re offering a special program to encourage winter-time reading. From now until January 31, participate in our Fall Into Winter Reading challenge and enter to win one of our grand prize drawings. Grab a Bingo card from your local branch or download one.
For adults, one space on the Bingo card is “Read a Cozy Mystery” and this blog can help you can cross off that square. So, what is a cozy mystery and what makes a mystery cozy? There are several elements that make a cozy mystery stand out in the mystery genre.
The first element of cozy mysteries is that violence is typically downplayed. Sure, there is typically a murder victim or two as the story progresses, and sometimes there is a big climax scene where the protagonist is put in danger. However, the violence is considerably less prominent compared to hardboiled crime novels. Murders typically happen off-stage without the protagonist being present, though the detective is usually the first one to stumble across the crime-scene. If a murder does happen in front of the protagonist, the crimes are done in non-violent ways, such as poisonings. Crimes such as theft and fraud are also more common in cozy mysteries.
The second element is that cozy mysteries are usually set in small, tight-knit communities. This makes cozy English hamlets, small Southern towns and quiet seaside villages perfect for one crime scene after another. The protagonists typically play a strong role in their small communities in addition to their crime-solving escapades and often own businesses — everything from bakeries, quilting shops, antique stores, bookstores and cat cafes. Our favorite cozy mystery protagonists are also librarians.
The third element of a cozy mystery is that the protagonists are amateur — and sometimes reluctant — detectives. Often, they team up with police, bonus points if one of the officers happens to be dashingly, handsome and somehow single. Other times, protagonists are picking up the slack where the overconfident police detectives are proving that they got their training through a mail-order kit. Either way, the protagonists sort of always save the day and restore peace of mind to their friends and neighbors. At least, until the next time the crime scene tape is brought out. Oddly enough, the protagonist will be nearby …
There is a lot of variety in cozy mysteries and there’s one to catch the interest of every reader. Do you like historical fiction? Then, here are a few cozy mystery series to help you time travel.
Do you love animals? Here’s some cozies that feature furred and feathered friends.
Want a book that has descriptions of food that makes your mouth water and even deliver the recipes? Then, these cozy mysteries are for you.
Are you a crafter? These cozies are sew much fun.
Then, of course, there are the book and library lovers of the world, for whom these cozy mysteries are made for.