When I tell people “I write cozy mysteries,” about half of the people say, “Wow. That’s cool.” Pause while they think about that. “What the heck is a cozy mystery?” The other half say, “Wow. That’s cool.” Then they pull out their i-phones and Google the term. Well, some Google it. Most just continue on through life never really knowing.
So let’s take a moment to talk about everything you’ve always wanted to know about cozy mysteries, but were afraid to ask. First stop, Merriam Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. Mystery: a piece of fiction dealing usu. with the solution of a mysterious crime. Cozy: Enjoying or affording warmth and ease. Snug. So “cozy mystery” is an oxymoron, of sorts, but it is a term used to define a sub-genre of mystery that has a warm fuzzy feeling about it. Think Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Or Murder, She Wrote’s Jessica Fletcher. Or the intrepid Girl Detective, Nancy Drew. Yes, there’s a distasteful criminal element involved, but the sleuth is so charming and clever that the reader thinks of them as a friend and enjoys tagging along on the adventure. It’s the kind of book you want to grab a cup of tea and a fleece blanket then curl up by a nice crackling fire to enjoy. A “cozy” scenario, you’ll agree, and hence the term.
Copyright © Jayne Ormerod, Cozy Mystery Writer