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Topic: Cozy Books -- Why?

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Subject: Cozy Books -- Why?
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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Can anyone tell me why cozy books are cozy?  I see it used a lot for mysteries.  I see it less for other books, but I know they are out there.

I am trying to tag all the books on my bookshelf -- I haven't read all of them (my dad gives me his to trade here) so I really have no clue.  Pun intended.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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A cozy mystery is more of a light read than a hard boiled or police procedural. There is minimal violence and the violence is not graphic. Theres also minimal sex and the sex there is not graphic. Generally the main character is an ametuer detective but not always. They also sometimes have themes, like cats, dogs, catering, I think Ive seen some cross stitch ones and crossword puzzle ones as well.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
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I guess I can't tag anything as a cozy mystery unless I have read it (or the person giving it to me mentions it).  Without checking, I'd guess that the Monk books from the TV series would fit, even if he is working with the police and used to be a detective -- more focus on the OCD rather than violence and police procedure?

Does the same go for chick lit or romance?  Cozy if there is no overt description of sex or no sex at all?  Not all the books I have in romance are Christian Fiction and some could be cozy if I am understanding correctly.

Do the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich fall under cozy mystery?  I know I think they fall under "hysterical." 



Date Posted: 4/23/2008 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
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I don't think the Stephanie Plum books are cozy, but definitely fall in the hysterical category!

I wouldn't classify the Monk books as cozies either. 

some good examples of cozy authors are Maddy Hunter (travel guide for senior citizens), Elaine Viets (mystery shopper), Lee Charles Kelley (dog trainer), Linda O Johnston (pet sitter), Joanne Fluke (cookie baker), Kate Collins (florist)

and I'm sure there are some christian authors that write cozies, just don't know of any off the top of my head but I know I've read a few!

Last Edited on: 4/23/08 4:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 5:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
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You're right, Stephanie Plum probably has too many cars blown up to consider it minimal violence.  Not to mention burned down funeral parlors, and Lula & Grandma Mazur pulling out their guns all the time!

Maybe I need to start a hysterical or laugh-out-loud tag!

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
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that would be a good tag to start!

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
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You can try Cozy-Mystery.com for examples of cozy authors and subjects.

Last Edited on: 4/23/08 6:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
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I don't think I've seen cozy used to refer to any genre except mysteries. I've never heard of any kind of chic lit or romances being called cozy. Possible, but mysteries are the only thing I've seen in the definitions I've looked up.

Subject: cozy books
Date Posted: 4/24/2008 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Yes the Stephanie Plums are "Cozy" mysteries, everywhere I have bought them that is what they were listed under.

I thought "Cozy's" were the mysteries that were't gorey, and they are quick reads???   I might be wrong but I have read tons of them and they were labeled "Cozy's"...



Date Posted: 4/24/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2005
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Stores often throw many mysteries under cozies that aren't really cozies. I read hundreds of cozies a year and I'd never consider Stephanie Plum series a cozy. Most cozy swaps don't consider her a cozy either. Just my humble and unasked for opinion ;)

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
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Sherry, there are some christian mysteries that would probably qualify under the cozy category....I just can't name any right now! 

Mendy -
Date Posted: 4/24/2008 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2005
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Christian cozy mysteries - Mindy Starns Clark has 2 series(1st books in both are:A Penny for Your Thoughts (The Million Dollar Mysteries, 1) Author: Mindy Starns Clark AND .The Trouble With Tulip (Smart Chick Mystery) Author: Mindy Starns Clark)

Also Ginny Aiken (1st in the series - Design on a Crime (Deadly Decor) Author: Ginny Aiken.)

I don't consider Stephanie Plum cozy either. 

Here is a generic definition...

What is a cozy mystery?
Traditionally, the cozy was a British novel featuring sweet elderly women and other harmless protagonists. Now, however, cozies take place in every place and time. The genre is gradually broadening as popularity increases. Most cozies are written for women and are a series, probably appealing to women who once thrived on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden.

As the name suggests, cozies are light mysteries. They nearly always have an amateur detective, although there is often a police officer or detective in a supporting role, such as a boyfriend or best friend. The amateur cozy sleuth gathers clues by listening to gossip, and by paying attention to the activities around her. She relies on her understanding of human nature, her natural nosiness, and her personality to help her gather her clues. She is seldom taken seriously by the police, her boyfriend or spouse, or anyone else, although best friends are sometimes supportive. In this respect, she is more like Trixie Belden than Nancy Drew.

The cozy sleuth seems to attract murder the way storytellers attract an audience. What was once a quiet, peaceful town where no one locked his door suddenly becomes a target for murderers, with crimes happening at least once a year. Normally, two people die before the book ends, and the connections between the two victims are the secret to solving the case. The sleuth has access to a large number of people, often through her career. Caterers are very popular these days, but amateur sleuths are also decorators, bookstore owners, contractors, archaeologists and even homemakers who run a murderous PTA.

Most cozy murder mysteries are tamer than their hard-broiled counterparts. The first murder is usually committed before the book begins or offstage, and the second murder is also committed offstage. Descriptions of the crime scene are normally toned down to avoid upsetting the stomach of the reader, who is likely to be having lunch or rocking a baby as she reads. There is usually less graphic sex, although books are becoming, sadly, more graphic in recent times. They are seldom more than a PG-13 read, however, and some are even PG.

The cozy is an intellectual puzzle. The books generally have strong, quirky characters and the people are at least as interesting as the plot. They are a study in human nature, rather than a titillating look into the sex and violence of life.

A current trend is to make cozies educational and to provide bonus material. They may provide insights into a hobby, genealogy, a location, or an interesting career. Many now include a recipe. Another series has a needlepoint pattern in each book. A third includes a cross-word puzzle. The bonus material is always related to the theme of the mystery.

Cozy mysteries are delightful light reads and they are improving as they become more popular. The puzzles are becoming more sophisticated and the characters are achieving a greater variety, from the sweet to the sinister. 

Last Edited on: 4/24/08 2:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/24/2008 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I have to admit, I'm kind of giggling at "cozy chick lit" as a genre.

I do kind of like cozy mysteries, and I'm not a huge mystery fan.  For me, the plot of the story has to  override the mystery aspect, and cozies tend to be that way.

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
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Mindy Starns...that's one!  I've only read one of her books but it was pretty good

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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Stephanie Plum books are definitely NOT cozy mysteries.  As mentioned before, they are frequently miscategorized as cozies, but they aren't.  By definition, cozy mysteries are light on both violence AND sex.  And don't think anyone can say either about the Stephanie Plum books.

But they aren't really hard boiled mysteries, either.  Personally, I put them in the chick lit mystery category.

Date Posted: 4/26/2008 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
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Can cozies be suspenseful? Every time I think of picking up a cozy, like the Cat Who series, they just seem to light & fluffy for me - more like brain-twisters. I'd like a break from reading all  gore & graphic murder descriptions in the mysteries I read, but I NEED my suspense!!!

Are there books that fit both?

Date Posted: 4/27/2008 12:55 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
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Cozies are mysteries that you would feel comfortable recommending to your 80 year old grandmother who left the Quaker religion because it wasn't strict enough.  Trust me on this.  Currently, my father, one of my brothers, my other grandmother and myself are involved in the ongoing screening process for said 80 year old grandmother.  We've got this great system where there is usually one of us hunting for new authors while the rest of us are plowing through all the books written by one of our reject authors.  Honestly, we usually have to have 2 people agree that it's a cozy before we send it to Grandma.

As for Stephanie Plum...I actually blushed when my father asked me about these books for Grandma.  I told him flat out NO!  and I never EVER wanted to know if he read them.  EVER.  Though I did send a copy to my other grandmother because I knew she would LOL.   :) 

The mere thought of my straightlaced grandmother anywhere near a display of Stephanie Plum novels makes my skin crawl and I have to fight the desire to bleach my eyes.  :)


Date Posted: 4/27/2008 3:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Well when I asked in the forums about the Mrs Pollifax books the general consensus was that they are cozy mysteries. They are also very suspenseful books. Dorothy Gilman had a knack for packing tons of action and suspense into two hundred pages and it not be graphically violent.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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Leslie, someone beat me to the "laugh out loud funny" tag!  But I think I got as many Plum books as I could find under it!

I am thinking Murder, She Wrote (if it were a book) would be a cozy mystery.  That Angela Lansbury is a death magnet.  And I figured the Cat Who series were cozies.  I did read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries growing up so I will now think of Cozies as "wholesome" murders that I could give to Kerry's grandma.

Thanks, everyone!

Last Edited on: 4/28/08 3:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1