As an author of cozies, I’m often asked what the difference is between a crime novel and a cozy. I imagine a cozy fitting perfectly in the hands of someone comfortably relaxed in front of a warm fireplace, wrapped up in a blanket while snow falls peacefully outside a bay window. However, a commuter heading to work might find a cozy a relaxing read while surrounded by noisy traveling companions.
So to answer the question, what’s the difference? The best way to consider the description of a cozy mystery is to think about the characters, not the crime. Of course, there’s always a mystery to unravel. But the sleuth is generally not a professional policeman or detective. Generally, they tend to be average members of society: an elderly couple, librarian, doctor, housewife, or obscure neighbor. Somehow the character(s) find themselves immersed in solving a misdeed and use instincts rather than training to work out the solution while at the same time finding themselves in unpredictable circumstances.
Cozy mysteries should include some humor. Since characters are not your typical crime professionals, they often find themselves in comical situations.
And of course, there’s always going to be a murder. Or two. It might not contain the gore and carnage of a full-fledged crime novel, but a cozy mystery still offers clues and puzzles to keep the reader wondering “who-done-it” to the very end.
Be sure to give cozy mysteries a try. You might find yourself turning more and more to the kooky but generally likable personalities that they offer. And, in the process, avoid the gore and carnage.