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Terrie Farley Moran's good definition of Cozy Mystery

If you are a loyal mystery fan, tired of reading books dripping with blood and gore, full of violence and vulgarity, then cozy novels are probably your cup of tea. Can't you just picture yourself curled up by the fire, an afghan carelessly tossed into your lap? Maybe there's a kitten on the chair or a puppy at your feet. You pick up the book from the side table and within a page or two you're in the light and airy world of the cosy novel, where each story focuses on the mystery aspect or who did it, rather than the salacious details of the murder itself.

Keep calm and read a cozy mystery
A good definition of Cozy Mystery

A good definition of Cozy Mystery

The crime solver is an amateur detective, usually a woman, who is immersed in the aftermath of the murder. She or a friend may discover the body; perhaps a relative or dear friend is accused of the murder; or the victim is someone the amateur sleuth knows and the circumstances of the murder pique her curiosity, which is another key element of the cozy mystery.

Imbued with an innate curiosity, the amateur sleuth doesn't hesitate to poke around and actively seek out gossip for any little clue she can provide. She's always asking questions she has no business asking, and usually won't stop until she gets an answer.

The protagonist often has an occupation or hobby that provides interesting information for the reader. Many cozy mysteries involve cooking or baking and include recipes. Other cozy detectives have a variety of occupations/activities, including: gardening, interior decorating, needlework, and expertise in crafts of all kinds. Each of these activities provides the reader with recipes, patterns and useful tips.

Since the detective is not a cop, sheriff, coroner or prosecutor with access to information about the murder, she often has a friend or relative who works in one of these professions and will share information, although it may take some nagging by the amateur detective to get the information out.

Finally, we come to what always brings me back to cozy mysteries: the setting. Although some cozies are set in large cities or towns, most are set in villages or hamlets where people know their neighbours and individual eccentricities are not only accepted but often celebrated.

The classic forerunner of the cosy mystery is Agatha Christie's Miss Jane Marple, a spinster who sees and hears everything that goes on around her and very often solves a murder or two without ever missing a stitch. The Marple stories meet (or set) all the standards of the cozy mysteries mentioned here. Apart from knitting, Miss Marple is the most amateur of amateur sleuths. And most of the murders take place in the small village of St Mary Mead or similar places.


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