Cozy Mysteries

When I saw the Cozy Mystery Challenge I wondered just would could possibly be ‘”cozy” about murder, after all “cosy” (as I prefer to spell it) means snug, warm and comfortable – a teacosy is meant to keep the teapot warm, a cosy cottage is small and welcoming. “Cozy” is not really the right word then for crime fiction.

Nevertheless there is a category of crime fiction with that label and I rather like reading them every now and then, along with police procedurals and historical crime fiction. As I found on the Cozy Mystery website cozy mysteries are those without  rough language, sex scenes, or gruesome details about the killing, and where the main character is normally an amateur detective. I like the puzzle-solving elements of that type of crime fiction rather than the noir realism of murder.

Sometimes I like to use reading challenges  to find new authors to read, but for this one I’m aiming to stick to books I already own and have been saving to read (in other words my to-be-read piles). The following are all on my shelves:

  1. Faithful Unto Death by Caroline Graham (Midsomer Murders)
  2. Asimov’s Mysteries
  3. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
  4. An Agatha Christie – I have a few to choose from
  5. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
  6. The Private Patient by P D James
  7. A Ruth Rendell – also a few to choose from

But then again, I shall be going to the library over the next six months (the period of this challenge) and could easily find other books to read.

I think I’ll start with Azimov’s Mysteries.

Is there a category of crime fiction labelled science fiction mysteries? I expect there is. Years ago my husband and I both read a number of science fiction books – Frank Herbert’s Dune series and E E ‘Doc’ Smith’s Lensmen  and Skylark books for example. And hidden amongst them on the shelves I came across one I haven’t read –  Asimov’sMysteries, which I think fits into this category and may very well be a cozy mystery too. It is described on the back cover as:

… thirteen fiendishly ingenious stories of crime, murder, puzzlement and detection in the far reaches of space and centuries in the future … a superb showcase of Dr Asimov’s brilliant storytelling talent.

6 thoughts on “Cozy Mysteries

  1. Margaret – You’ve chosen some very nice cozies : ). Asimov, too, was a great writer. He did a series featuring homicide detective Elijah Bailey. The first of that series is Caves of Steel. Another is Currents of Space. If you’re interested in sci-fi crime fiction, you might be interested.

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  2. I, too have wondered at the term “cozy” describing mysteries, but that hasn’t kept me from enjoying them. I’m familiar with several of the authors but not the books in your list. Checking out the Amazon descriptions, both My Cousin Rachel and One Good Turn sound like titles I should add to my “to-read” list.

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  3. It is weird to think of “cozies” as being mysteries, but sometimes there is something cozy about the rest of the story (minus the murder). This sounds like a fun challenge, and I like your list. I didn’t realize the Midsomer Murders were books (I’ve just seen the BBC series!!). I should have known better…

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  4. Traditional mystery is another name for cozies. I think the term “cozy” stuck as a way of separating the genre from thriller type mysteries. Cozies keep the gore off the page, which is why I love them . . . and write them.
    Great topic.

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