Hey-ho, it’s Rey today. We’re still reviewing mysteries and I won, er, got the cozy! For those not in the know, yet, a cozy is like a traditional mystery, with a few differences.
It’s a popular sub-genre (my new word) where, basically, an amateur sleuth solves a murder or puzzler in a pleasant setting while learning a whack of interesting stuff. These mysteries often comprise a series and there’s usually a theme or profession—such as the world of gardening, publishing/writing (think Jessica Fletcher), cooking or baking, catering, and even, yeah, possibly, a detective agency. Our sleuth is an everyday kind of person, like you or me, who possesses good judgment (common sense) that [eventually] enables him or her to figure out who the perp is.
Besides having said sleuth and a bona-fide mystery to solve, a cozy will generally contain the following:
♦ a “family” oriented approach, where swear words and sexual exploits are at a minimum, if at all
♦ a degree of wit and fun or eccentricity, be it through the characters, dialogue, or events
♦ a main character—the amateur sleuth—the reader can relate to or root for . . . an “everyday” someone (again like you and me) who, when faced with the challenges of the crime, accepts them and valiantly does his/her best to ensure the crime is solved
♦ clues, which are revealed to the reader, as well as a few red herrings to provide those fun twists and turns while we’re guessing who did it
♦ an unlikable victim, so we can’t really feel that remorseful that he or she gets axed, er, leaves this mortal coil
♦ a smart cookie of a villain/killer, so our amateur sleuth is challenged, but not outwitted
♦ murder committed behind the theater curtains, so to speak, so the reader doesn’t have to hear the nasty or gory details (or know who the murderer is)
♦ a small-town or rustic setting (back to Jessica and quaint Cabot Cove) that makes for a picturesque, tranquil location.
Lastly, what makes a cozy a cozy? The title. They’re “cute”. Given Jessica is so well-known, still, here are some titles, Murder She Wrote . . .
Gin and Daggers
A Palette for Murder
Martinis and Mayhem (love it)
Highland Fling Murders
Murder in a Minor Key
You get the idea. Cozy titles are fun, whimsical, playful . . . like me. <he-he>