What are Cosy Murder Mysteries?

Cosy Murder Mysteries are a type of crime story you’ll find quite different from police procedurals or hard-boiled detective tales.

Your typical Cosy (or Cozy) will abide by many of the following conventions:

It will be set in a village or small community. This might be a physical community such as a picturesque village in the UK or a rural setting in the USA. Or it might be a community created by a shared interest or job such as book and craft groups, libraries, florists and bakeries.

There will often be an amateur sleuth. Rather than a Police Detective or Private Investigator at the centre of the story, the sleuth is often an amateur detective in the wrong place at the wrong time. Any police in the story are often uninterested in what the amateur has to offer. The sleuth may know someone official related to the case, who can provide them with information not available to the public.

The community will be full of eccentric or likeable characters. The amateur sleuth will have friends, enemies and eccentric acquaintances in the local community, in addition to characters who are suspects in the ongoing case. Successful cosy titles often become a series, and these community characters add to their continuing charm.

Little profanity, sex, or violence. This is where some of the cosy comes from in Cosy Murder Mysteries. There will be very little profanity from any of the characters, any sex will be left to the imagination, and murder methods are usually clever rather than violent.

Full of twists, turns and the unexpected. Cosies are more about solving the puzzle of the murder, rather than fast-paced action sequences. While the focus is more on character and plot, they can have drama and suspense too. The reader is trying to solve the murder right along with the sleuth, and the road to the solution is often filled with unexpected twists and turns.

No supernatural or last minute solutions.  The reader should have enough information throughout the story to solve the crime along with the sleuth. There should not be any last minute introduction of characters, unbelievable coincidences, or any supernatural involvement (unless you’re reading a supernatural cosy!).

All the threads will be tied up in a satisfying resolution. By the end of the book, all of the questions raised will be answered, and the “bad guy” will be brought to some form of justice. The reader will be satisfied through the solving of the puzzle, and the resolution of any outstanding personal aspects of the sleuths life.

What do you think makes a Cosy Murder Mystery cosy?

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