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What is a cozy mystery and why you should be reading them!

I recently attended a book festival. It was my very first author appearance. I was so nervous, but it turned out to be so much fun. The festival was for authors and readers of all types of mysteries. When readers came to my booth, I would ask them, "Are you a cozy mystery fan." To my surprise, I learned that not everyone knows what a cozy mystery is.

Characteristics of a cozy mystery

Lightbulb moment! Maybe I should write a blog about this.

If you're reading this, also asking, "Courtney, what is a cozy mystery?" Let's get into it.

There are a few characteristics that make a cozy mystery a cozy. We're going to talk about 5 of them today.


1. The crime happens off the page

Though you will see death in a cozy mystery, the crime is what I like to call PG. It's not going to include any gore. The crime itself happens off script, behind the camera, off the page, however, you want to word it. And when your sleuth comes upon the scene, you won't have to cringe because it's not going to be a gruesome crime.


2. There are no intimate relations

Yes, by no intimate relations, I mean you will not find any s-e-x in a cozy mystery. There can be romance. My cozy mysteries do have romance in them. Hint hint: Handsome Detective Grant. But, the budding romance will not be the main focal point of the story. It will be more of an underlying storyline.


3. Cozy Mysteries are set in small towns

Another characteristic of cozy mysteries is that they are set in small towns, not large cities. The benefit of small-town cozy mysteries is that they are well-known to have more than one book in a series. For instance, Joanne Fluke, a very popular culinary cozy mystery author, has 30 books in her Hannah Swensen series.

A lot of the characters in a cozy mystery are carried throughout each novel and small towns make it easier to continue to bring these beloved characters back time and time again. You could pass them in the street or see them in line at the coffee shop. In a large city, it's a bit harder for random run-ins like that to happen.

And if you think about it, crimes keep happening in these towns. If you're in a big city, how likely are you to get the same detective each time? Or, how coincidental that your sleuth just so happens to be in the right place at the right time? It’s more likely to happen in a small-town setting where you only have 1 or 2 detectives, and the main character always happens to be around.


4. Your crime solver is an amateur sleuth

The main character of a cozy mystery, AKA the super nosy person who is trying to solve the case, is an amateur sleuth. They are not a detective or a police officer. They are just like you and me.

My main character in the Blue Haven cozy mystery series is Veronica. She is a dog walker by day and a food blogger by night. In book 1 of the series, she was on her way to pick up her paycheck from a dog-walking client when she came upon the very first mystery of the series.


5. Quirky characters make the story

The characters in a cozy mystery are one-of-a-kind. They are extremely quirky and you cannot help but love them. In the Blue Haven series, you have Peaches Cafe owner, Suzy Atwater, who is constantly in a feud with French Toastery owner, Dotty Fitzgerald. You have a group of women from the crochet club gossiping about town and of course, there is George, Veronica's neighbor, who takes on a grandparent role for her.

With all the different types of personalities, there is always something interesting going on in town!

And there you have it!

5 characteristics of a cozy mystery! These are also what makes the genre so popular. Even in the middle of a mystery, you get a fun, light-hearted story that makes you laugh.

If you want to learn more about Veronica's adventures, you can check out the Blue Haven cozy mysteries here!


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