Discussion Forums - Mystery & Thrillers

Topic: What is a cozy?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: What is a cozy?
Date Posted: 8/11/2007 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2007
Posts: 945
Back To Top

I have seen this term used for mysteries, but I am not sure what it means.  Help? 

Thanks, Lisa

Last Edited on: 3/21/08 8:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 8/12/2007 4:39 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,131
Back To Top

Cozy mysteries, I love them.  Until I came to PBS though, I didn't know what that description meant either.  A cozy mystery is one in which you see the following:

1.  The main character is generally an "amateur sleuth", and more often than not, a woman.

2.  There is no description revealing the murderer actually doing violence on his/her victim.

3.  Therefore the victim is always found after the deed is done, and there is very little specific information about what the body looks like, how much blood is flowing, or what the actual wounds look like.

4.  They are often written with humor, and the stories are frequently in series.  The main character often has a job that includes food, like catering, owning a cookie shop, a restaurant, a candy shop, that type of thing.  Or they could be business owners like owning a tea shop, bed & breakfast, craft shop, etc.  Also cozy mysteries also often include some kind of pet, generally a dog or cat or both, who are often involved in some way with helping solve the crime.

5.  There are no graphic sexual scenes, little profanity, and no graphic violence.  Generally you could rate these books PG if they were TV shows or movies.

I notice that you are reading Stephanie Plum.  This would not be classified as a cozy mystery.  I don't know what other books you have read, I should have checked your book list to see if I could find a good comparison.   If you have read any of Lilian Jackson Braun's "The Cat Who..." series, Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson series, JoAnna Carl's Chocoholic Mysteries or even Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear Series - these would be classified as cozies.  There are tons of them out there, I've found so many since I have been a member of PBS my TBR pile has grown so much I'm going to have to add on a new room to store them all. :)

Cozies are just great fun to read.  I hope this description helps, Lisa!  You may have read many cozies and didn't even know it!



Date Posted: 8/12/2007 4:44 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 7,131
Back To Top

Lisa, I just checked your book list.  Most of the mysteries you have listed are not cozies.  I did find two that I would classify though,  Carol Higgins Clark's Regan Reilly books, (you have posted Decked), and Joan Hess's Claire Malloy series.

Happy Reading!


Date Posted: 8/12/2007 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2007
Posts: 945
Back To Top

Joy -

Thank you for such a thorough description!!  The mystery authors I have mostly read are Stuart Woods, Jonathan Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, and Richard North Patterson.  I have read everything in each of their series.  I have also read Steve Martini, Nelson Demille, starting Janet Evanovich...I don't think anyof these classify.

But I am definitely looking for new stuff!!


Date Posted: 8/12/2007 11:59 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
Back To Top

If you're familiar with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, this is the quintessential "cozy".

There are several series out, and you can get southern, northern, western, British, paranormal etc. all in "cozy" style.

Date Posted: 8/13/2007 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
Back To Top

 I just read a very nice, very gently, mystery that sounds like it may have been a cozy--"Water LIke A Stone", or maybe is was "Stone Colored Water"??? (you can see the problem...)

  Anyway, it was a woman writer, set in England and she wrote like a Brit, except she is from the US and lived there for years.

  Does that ring a bell with anyone?

Date Posted: 8/14/2007 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2006
Posts: 53
Back To Top

Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy series which starts with Murphy's Law are cozies.  They are set in 1901 New York City.

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2006
Posts: 53
Back To Top

Try anything by Charlotte MacLeod (also wrote as Alisa Craig). Her Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series is a delight. Sarah is from a kookie 'old rich' family; she tries, but seldom succeeds, to distance herself from them. Max is a tracer of stolen art. It's best, but not totally necessary, to read these in order, since the family relationships are an ongoing thing.

My favorite is her Peter Shandy series. Peter is a professor at Balaclava Agricultural College and gets into hilarious escapades, usually involving his odd, kooky, scholarly friends. You'd gain somewhat by reading these in order, but less so than the Kelling books.  My favorite is 'Curse of the Giant Hogweed, which takes Peter and his buddies to Wales on an adventure reminiscent of Twain's 'Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.'

All MacLeod books are loaded with witty dialogue, puns, plays on words, laughable situations and kookie but lovable characters.


Unpostables available with an order from my shelf!  All are paperbacks, complete and readable, but with damaged covers.  PM me the title you ordered *and* which freebie you would like!  

Denim & Lace - Patricia Rice. 0451406885. Romance.   

Assignment Nuclear Nude - Edward S. Aarons. 44902815095. Mystery.   

Exceptional Clearance - William J. Caunitz. 0553296604. Thriller.   

A Time to Kill - John Grisham. 0440211727. Courtroom drama.  Front cover missing.  

Slaughter-House Five - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 0440180295.

The Godmakers - Frank Herbert. 0425093271. SciFi.

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 8:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2007
Posts: 945
Back To Top

Wow...I didn't even realize this post was still hanging around!!  I have read so many great cozy series since the original post.

Thanks everyone!!

Subject: thanks
Date Posted: 3/22/2008 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
Back To Top


Thanks for asking this question! I had thought of it but not asked.

And thanks to everyone who replied.

Now I have a whole list of new authors to try.

Marla Maye

ps - I think The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCallSmith might qualify as a cozy, I am not sure. They are mysteries whereby the detective solves cases by womanly intuition. They are short on graphic violence and long on humor. 

Last Edited on: 3/22/08 3:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: an alphabetical listing of the authors mentioned so far
Date Posted: 3/22/2008 11:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
Back To Top

By last name first. If I made any mistakes, please PM me. Thanks.      

Babson, Marion - Canapes For Kitties

Beaton, M. C. - Hamish MacBeth (series) and Agatha Raisin (series)

Bowen, Rhys - Molly Murphy series - begins with Murphy's Law

Braun, Lillian Jackson - The Cat Who... (series)

Carl, JoAnn - Chocoholic series

Christie, Agatha - Miss Marple (series)

Clark, Carol Higgins - Regan Rielly (series)

Conant, Susan - dog lover (series)

Craig, Alisa - see MacCleod, Charlotte below

Davidson, Diane Mott - Goldy Bear series

Fluke, Joanne - Hannah Swenson series

Gillman, Dorothy - Mrs Pollifax series

Hess, Joan - Claire Malloy series

Lutz, Lisa - The Spellman Files

MacCleod, Charlotte (she also wrote as Alisa Craig) - Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn series

                                                                                                             or her Peter Shandy series 

McCallSmith, Alexander - The Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency (first in the series)

 Waldman, Ayelet - the Mommy track mysteries

Please forgive my list making, it helps me keep track of which authors I want to order. I figure I might as well post it for others to use, if I am going to make it for myself.

Happy Reading,

Marla Maye



Last Edited on: 4/12/08 2:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 3/28/2008 10:14 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 1,610
Back To Top

Should probably add Susan Conant's Dog Lovers Mysteries to that list of cozies....

Date Posted: 3/28/2008 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2005
Posts: 953
Back To Top

and Dorthy Gillman's Mrs. Pollifax series

Subject: will add
Date Posted: 3/29/2008 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
Back To Top

I knew about Mrs. Pollifax.

Susan Conant I had not heard about, until now.

I have added both to the list above.

Keep the suggestions coming, folks. I will trust you to know whether they are cozys or not.

If you know the name of the first book, the name of the main character, and wether or not it is a series, please include that information in your below posts and I will add it to the list above.

It may, occasionally, take me one or two days to get to the list. I work two days a week at my real job. On my days off, I live on PBS.


Marla Maye

Last Edited on: 3/29/08 9:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2008 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2007
Posts: 6
Back To Top

Let's not forget M.C.Beaton for the Hamish Macbeth & Agatha Raisin series. Although, after reading your description of a cozy, I do have to say that there is a bit of real sex in the Raisin series. But Agatha(or however it is)  is usually even doing something funny while having it....

Subject: this post has been very helpful
Date Posted: 4/4/2008 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2008
Posts: 352
Back To Top

I love mysteries and thrillers but  I dislike anything graphic at all. I love Miss Marple!!!! I just got The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz...I hope there is no sex in these. I ordered it before I even asked because of the humor in it, I have a book on my shelf in need of a good home called Canapes for Kitties by Marion Babson that I am sure qualifies as a cozy. Loved it and laughed out loud a lot!


Date Posted: 4/7/2008 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
Back To Top

Last Edited on: 1/21/09 6:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/7/2008 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 5,105
Back To Top

The description sounds like it also fits the Mommy track Mysteries by Ayelet Waldman.

Date Posted: 4/7/2008 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2006
Posts: 11,985
Back To Top

Those would be considered cozies Sheryl

Date Posted: 4/11/2008 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2006
Posts: 2,346
Back To Top


a very helpful website-- lots of info on "cozy mystery" series

I always refer to this site to read books in chronilogical order

Subject: list updated
Date Posted: 4/12/2008 3:03 AM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
Back To Top

I am keeping track of the list of cozies submitted here, although if you go to the website listed by Sue P. above you would probably get more. I don't know, I haven't been to that website myself.

I just updated a list I started on 03/22 which lies in about the middle of this thread.

Marla Maye