Happy Friday! So, if you read the Weekend Edition from Saturday, you'll know I intended to write something about reviews for both authors & reviewers. However, it’s been an emotionally heavy week – several people I love going through tough stuff - and I just needed to talk about something a little lighter.
So let’s talk about cozy mysteries! While I didn’t start reading cozy mysteries until 2015, I basically grew up on them in television form - thank you, Jessica Fletcher. And one of the things I (and countless thousands of readers) love about cozy mysteries is that they follow a certain formula. After the upheaval of the past year, a little predictability is like comfort food. We want to know that justice is served, that the good guys win, that friendships matter, and that there’s something we can count on to remain pretty much unchanged. (Obviously God is unchanged. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But I’m talking outside the spiritual realm for the moment)
Agatha Christie set the standard for cozies, when the first of her Miss Marple books released in the 1930s, and while cozies have definitely adapted to the modern age, much of what makes them so beloved has stood the test of time. Cozy mysteries (even most general market ones) are great for Christian fiction readers because a true cozy is free of explicit language/scenes. There are of course some authors who choose to write a grittier cozy, but the majority stay true to the genre and abstain from anything above a PG rating. I’m really happy to see cozy mysteries beginning to be written by Christian fiction authors too (again, even with a general market publisher) – more on that later.
Before I share some of my fave cozy mystery authors and some new/upcoming cozies to look forward to, I thought I'd have a little tongue-in-cheek fun with that predictability I mentioned earlier. If you've never read a cozy mystery, but you have watched at least one episode of Murder She Wrote, you'll still be able to follow along easily.
So without further ado (adieu?)...
TEN CLUES YOU ARE IN A COZY MYSTERYYou live in a quaint small town with its share of quirky characters and an inordinately high homicide rate.
*Usually coastal, in the south, or in the mountains. There are also a lot of festivals.
2. Homicide rate notwithstanding, there’s always someone new moving into town & starting a new business.
*This is usually the person who will either die next or be accused of the next murder so maybe don’t get too close to them just yet.
3. If person A (probably someone in your close circle) threatens person B (newcomer), person B has less than 24 hours to live.
*Now is the time to find person A a good attorney… except there really aren’t any because this is a cozy mystery, not a suspense.
4. You like to ‘help’ the local law enforcement solve these murders.
*After all, in a very meta twist, you read cozy mysteries in your free time and you always know whodunit before anyone else.
*One of them may even start dating you. Or your best friend.
6. You, your family, your friends, maybe even your pet, will all have your turn as the number one suspect in a murder investigation.
*You also usually find the body. Which doesn’t really help your defense.
7. The library or business or money-making hobby you own may only have 2 employees (including you) but it’s no problem at all for you to close up shop or leave your lone employee in charge indefinitely, at a moment’s notice, so you can chase down a lead.
*Don’t worry, your business still thrives, and all your regular customers understand & are happy to pitch in if needed. No charge.
*Usually a dog or a cat … but it could be a snake or a parakeet or an iguana. A pet rock is probably pushing it though.
9. You have at least one endearingly eccentric older relative who doubles as a fount of wisdom.
*Bonus if he/she has hilarious friends.
10. Someone in your inner circle is a baker or pastry chef or gourmet chef so you’re always eating yummy food.
*Recipes included at the back.
I have several favorite cozy mystery series, encompassing a range of authors and publishers. If I started naming my faves, we would be here a while and I would inevitably leave one or more out. However, you can peruse my cozy mystery archives on ReadingIsMySuperPower to get an idea of which ones I recommend.
I'm super excited to see more Christian authors branching out into the cozy mystery genre. This is not to say that their books are overtly Christian (though some are) but it makes me so happy to see Jesus followers writing great books in this genre too. Some older series by Christian authors include Vannetta Chapman's Amish Village Mysteries, A.H. Gabhart's Hidden Springs Mysteries, and Julianna Deering's Drew Farthering Mysteries (that last one is more of a British cozy / Agatha Christie-esque & therefore slightly different from the formula we've been talking about).
Some new books coming out that I'm excited about are Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink (Poisoned Pen Press), On Skein of Death by Allie Pleiter (Berkley), and Dogged by Death by Laura Scott (Crooked Lane Books), and Trouble Brewing by Heather Day Gilbert (Woodhaven Press). The first three I mentioned start new series, too! Ahem - I've used their covers throughout the post to pique your interest (full disclosure) :)
There are also two cozies of particular interest on Seekerville that recently released:
The Deeds of the Deceitful
(Hope Street Mysteries #6)
by Ellery Adams & Tina Radcliffe
Beyond the Page / November 2020
(Savannah Secrets #11)
by Ruth Logan Herne
I hope you give cozy mysteries a try, if you haven't already. It's a great way to pass a few hours, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and make your heart a little lighter. Reading a cozy mystery with a mug of your favorite hot beverage (lemonade substitutes nicely in the summer), a comfy corner, and a snuggly dog or cat if one is available.
Do you read cozy mysteries?
If so, who are some of your fave authors? What do you like most about this genre?
If you haven't read one yet, what intrigues you about this genre?