ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Cozy Murder Mystery?

Updated on November 20, 2015

♥ ~ * ♥ Comfy Cozy Chair ♥ * ~ ♥

Don't you wish you were sitting here right now? AND reading a cozy mystery novel? AND drinking a cup of tea? Could anything be more heavenly --- other than actual Heaven?
Don't you wish you were sitting here right now? AND reading a cozy mystery novel? AND drinking a cup of tea? Could anything be more heavenly --- other than actual Heaven?

Would a Cozy Be Your Cup of Tea?

Well, cozies have no violence or blood.

Or, do they?

If you read some of the resource material online (some links below) and off, you'll see that there's not exactly a complete consensus on this. Some commentators say that there's violence and blood, but it's "offscreen". Others say that there's violence and blood, but it isn't described in detail, so it doesn't gross us out. Either way, though ---- it's minimal.

Therefore, I always thought the preferred method for murder was poison. Or, maybe lethal gas. I think perhaps blunt instrument, also.

Poison and Gas and Blunt Instrument, Oh, My!!

Violent, but not bloody.

But, now, I'm not so sure about that, either.

One of the essayists on a page in the "Links" section, below, says that the murder weapon can be a silver letter opener. That's violent AND bloody. But, still ---- pretty refined.

Another thing cozies don't have is sex.

Or, do they?

Apparently they can have it, but just not "show" it much. Maybe a little romance here and there. (On the other hand, I've been seeing alleged "cozies" lately where they seem to break this rule, which I don't appreciate. I don't want to have to skip over something. I might miss a part of the story. Yet, I dislike reading about someone's intimate nonsense.)

If you're starting to think, "Hmm --- this cozy mystery business sounds like it would really appeal to old ladies," ---- Bingo!

Murder Ink- The Mystery Reader's Companion
Murder Ink- The Mystery Reader's Companion
Dilys Winn founded the first specialty bookseller of mystery books in the U.S.

*b - I - N - G - O* !

Tired of sex, but love a great puzzle, and don't want to clean up any nasty crime scenes

That's also Miss Marple --- who, as you know, is Agatha Christie's most famous detective, second only to Hercule Poirot himself. (But, Poirot is not an amateur.)

The Seattle Mystery Bookshop website says:

"In her entertaining 1977 book, Murder Ink, Dilys Winn described the cozy as 'a small village setting, a hero[ine] with faintly aristocratic family connections, a plethora of red herrings, and a tendency to commit homicide with sterling silver letter openers and poisons imported from Paraguay.' "

Cosy is as Cozy Does

Not so sure I agree with that definition, but one thing that seems very clear: Perhaps there's no consensus on the definition anyway.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that the word can be spelled various ways: cosy, cosey, cozey. Apparently "cosy" is preferred in the U.K.; "cozy" here in the U.S.

The OED also has an entry --- "A cosy little murder mystery," dating from 1958, published in The Observer.

Susan Oleksiw writes, in her article "Cozy Mystery" ---- link appears below:

A term first used in a review in the Observer 25 May 1958, "cozy" refers to a sub genre of the novel of detection defined by its light tone, element of fun, and closed world. A detective, amateur or professional, investigates the eruption of violence in an apparently tranquil world; the cast of characters is limited, and suspects are known to each other. The plot is often intricate, the story told with a sense of humor, the setting one of material comfort, and the emphasis on verbal jousting rather than physical violence. The quintessential cozy is a murder in a country house during a snowstorm as family and friends gather for a holiday, when no one can escape, or rescue the houseguests, from their opulent prison.

Chess Puzzle


Ok, Now We Know What Cozies DON'T Have, But What DO They Have?

Fair question.

I'm no expert --- although I do love cozies, and try to read them frequently. So, in my humble opinion, here's what they DO have:

1. Usually an amateur female sleuth. The "official" crime-fighters keep saying she should keep out of it.. The amateur sleuth turns out to be correct.

(I don't know if Poirot mysteries are considered cozies or not. Poirot is neither female nor amateur.)

2. A sleepy, quiet little town, village, or other municipality, where "nothing ever happens."

Or, does it?

3. A large list of characters who can be eliminated one by one when the amateur sleuth interviews them all.

Or, can they?

Special Relationship with the Officials

But, it does seem that the amateur frequently has some sort of a special relationship with the official crime-fighters.

Skye Denison is going to marry the local chief of police, Wally Boyd, in the Scumble River Mysteries.

Charlotte Adams, the amateur sleuth and full-time organizer in the series by Mary Jane Maffini, went to high-school with Nick and Pepper Monaghan, two cops who are now married to each other --- perhaps not too happily.

Angelina Amalfi, the food critic in Cooking Most Deadly --- which I refer to in my Hub entitled, "Mystery Log" --- is dating Paavo Smith, also a cop. Paavo has asked Angelina to marry him.

Jean, the main character in Fatal Flip is the mom-in-law of a police officer. The mom and the daughter --- the cop's wife (also Jean)--- both solve crimes against the advice of the local police department. There are some awkward moments with mom and daughter solving mysteries while talking on the phone, doing the household chores and taking care of the baby, all the while the cop husband of Jean (younger) is sitting right at the table, eating.

Claire Cosi (!), the coffeehouse manager and amateur sleuth of the Coffeehouse Mysteries, is dating Detective Mike Quinn, of the (first?) precinct. Detective Quinn is first cousin to Michael Quinn, of the New York Fire Department.

Victim who Victimized Others?

I have noticed that sometimes the victim in the cozy mystery novel is a villainous character who does not elicit sympathy from the readers.

Maybe that happens in other kinds of mysteries, as well?

When the murder victim is a villain, the murderers become like avengers who mete out justice. --- At least in some ways.

Of course, it's still not okay.

Homicide is always a crime.

Or, is it?

I'm thinking especially of Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie.

Or of The Adventure of Black Peter, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

More about Scumble River

Pop Cozy Quiz

view quiz statistics

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)