As an indie author one of the things I do to connect with readers is to send out a newsletter. (You can sign up for it, and grab a free book while you're at it, here). It’s incredible to hear back from people from all over the world. We often chat about books, and in particular, cozy mysteries (because that’s what I write). Over the years I have been surprised by a pattern that's emerged.
Multiple times I’ve had readers reach out to say that though they’ve been reading for years, they’ve only recently discovered that cozy mysteries exist. Wow! This really surprised me. It might be because I read my first Agatha Christie book when I was about thirteen while in the back of a hatchback Toyota Tercel while my dad drove the family from Vermont to Florida.
That road trip really flew by. While we passed through the wildflowers of North Carolina and the paper-factory smells of Georgia, I was solving a crime along with Miss Marple. Even before this I grew up on kid-versions of cozy mysteries, but it was probably Miss Marple's ability to crack cases that really solidified my addiction to this type of story.
So, I’ve known about cozies since my earliest years of reading full-length, adult novels. However, now that I’m in contact with so many wonderful readers, I know that is not the case for everyone.
Before I go on, let me back up for a minute. Maybe you’re wondering “what, exactly, is a cozy mystery?”
The answers here will differ according to your source. I’ll give you my opinion as an author who has written over twenty books in this subgenre. A cozy mystery is, at the heart, a ‘whodunit.’ This means that there some sort of crime or misdeed that happens, and the main character must get to the bottom of it and find the culprit. The violence is not graphic and often happens off the page entirely. The mystery focuses on puzzling clues that must be pieced together one by one. The language is clean, and the story has a warm tone. (The name cozy mystery fits perfectly, in my opinion.)
There are common tropes in cozy mysteries that may or may not come into play. Here are a few:
A cozy mystery might feature one or a couple of these themes.
When I hear from readers who have stumbled upon cozy mysteries for the first time, I feel so excited.
If you're in that same boat, I'm happy for you! You have hours and hours of delight straight ahead. It’s sort of like you’ve found a vein of gold and now you can follow along and reap the rewards.
Once you know that you enjoy this category of books, you have lots of options for finding them. One of the best ways to find new cozies to read is to engage with a community of readers. For example, I am part of a few Facebook groups where fans of this niche gather to discuss books.
I’m honored to be an admin in the Sleuthing Women… Read, sleuth, solve, repeat group. In this group I can see when my favorite authors publish new books and I also get the scoop on cozies that other readers are loving. I sometimes hear about new authors or book series in this way. We’re a private group, and we’d love to have you. Join here.
You could also talk to your local librarian or book store staff member, obviously, or dig into your favorite ebook store. As far as self published ebooks go, it's a common practice for authors to include "Cozy Mystery" in the subtitle, so they're easy to identify.
Once you’ve tapped into this subgenre there are so many fantastic books you can explore. So, if you’ve recently discovered cozies for the very first time, congratulations! There are good times ahead:) When did you start reading cozy mysteries? Leave a comment below.
Amorette Anderson writes warm-hearted cozy mysteries that star witchy characters. She lives in Colorado with her husband and furbabies, pups Marley and Teddy. When she’s not writing or reading she’s dreaming up ways to make life a little more magical.