Wednesday, February 06, 2008

"What is a Cozy Mystery?"

Lately, some have asked the definition of "cozy mystery" -- especially as differentiated from other kinds of mysteries. The folks who host the annual Malice Domestic convention define the subgenre as "mysteries which contain no explicit sex or excessive gore or violence; and usually (but are not limited to) featuring an amateur detective, a confined setting, and characters who know one another."

According to the writers guidelines for Heartsong Presents -- Mysteries!, cozy mysteries are "a maze to be navigated by the protagonist or solver. Typically, in a mystery, the protagonist sets out to solve a crime that has already been committed. On the other hand ... a Suspense is best represented as a coil that tightens in around the protagonist. In other words, the protagonist is in a race against time to avoid being the victim of a crime."

Classic authors include G.K. Chesterton, John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers. The long-running TV series Murder She Wrote is also a popular example.

Related links:
Meet the authors of HPMysteries
MURDER, SHE WROTE still going strong
FREE mystery story!
Heartsong Mysteries! Book Club
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Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction


A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at Watch the trailer on YouTube.