What makes a cozy a cozy?
|See the resemblance?|
First, a cozy is usually a whodunnit. There’s a mystery or puzzle to solve, and the reader is invited to solve it along with the detective, generally an amateur and often a woman. (There are exceptions, like Father Dowling, for instance.) Probably the most relatable examples are Miss Marple, hiding behind her knitting while her keen eyes take in everything. Or Jessica Fletcher, from the 1980s staple Murder She Wrote.
Often the detective has a quirky personality, occupation and/or hobby, making her unlikely to be the one to solve the crime. Cozy detectives have run shops selling cheese, pickles, antiques, craft and scrapbooking supplies, and quilts. They’re caterers, bakers, housewives, iron workers, reporters, clergy members, interior decorators, bed and breakfast operators, house flippers, real estate agents, retirees, and sometimes even writers And often there’s a cat.
Since the typical reader of cozies is a woman with a little more…experience?...cozy readers are often open to older characters, although cozy detectives abound in all ages, from the Bobbsey Twins to Nancy Drew to chick-litty characters to retirees.
A crime is committed--usually a murder, but not always. (The Annie’s Attic series is one of those “not always” examples.) Even when there is a murder, cozies have little “on-screen” violence, blood or gore. They’re gentle reads. Serial killers need not apply, and children and animals may safely walk the street.
Little suspense is developed in a cozy. Rather enjoyment is derived from interesting characters, sometimes a long-running potential romance, often a splash of humor, and the challenge of solving the puzzle. But there is generally a final confrontation--often ill-advised--between the detective and the criminal near the end.
In the end, good prevails, peace is restored to the idyllic community, everybody gets to see how smart the detective is, and all the questions are explained. The criminal will be brought to some kind of justice. If there’s a romance, there’s usually a tiny step forward, letting the reader know for certain that there might be a possible romance sometime in the future. Maybe. And you have to read the next book to find out.
Letters in the Attic and The Key in the Attic are available exclusively from Annie’s Attic Mysteries. Their website is set up for a subscription to the series, but if you'd like to buy just Letters in the Atticor The Key in the Attic, you can contact Customer Service at (800)282-6643 (8 a.m. - 7 p.m. [CST] Mon. - Fri.) or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.