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Cozy Mysteries

Do you love a good mystery but need a break from the gruesome details? Try the Cozy Mystery genre where you can settle in with an amateur sleuth in a homey setting such as a charming Irish village or a Chinese restaurant in Ohio. 

What is a cozy mystery?

“The cozy mystery (sometimes simply called a cozy) is a subgenre of crime fiction that gives readers a chance to delight in vicariously solving a murder—without graphic violence or sex. Protagonists are typically amateur (and usually female) sleuths solving small-town crimes with old-fashioned detective work rather than forensics. These unlikely heroes are often small-business owners who find themselves drawn into detection by crimes impacting their work; sometimes their investigative efforts are aided by a significant other with police connections.” From Writer’s Digest 12/3/20.

When did the cozy mystery genre become popular?

Agatha Christie is usually credited with being the (unintentional) mother of the cozy mystery genre with her Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series. The term “cozy” was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Cozies as we know them today “frequently hang on a hobby or activity “hook” such as knitting, scrapbooking, cooking, etc.  It’s a marketing ploy that enables publishers to refer to “the Mall Cop mysteries” or “the Dead-End Job series.” This style became popular in the 1980’s and continues today.
Info from

How are they different?

Cozies stand in contrast to hardboiled fiction, which features violence and sexuality; violence and sex occur ‘off stage’ in the cozy mystery genre. Cozies are books that people read when they want to feel cozy, there is a sense of balance in the world being restored, of righting a wrong, always concluding with triumph of the amateur sleuth over evil (the murderer). The sleuth always figures it out (with the help of her family and friends and usually with a knitting needle or spatula at the ready) and the murderer gets what’s coming to him or her. They include clues and red herrings (clues that lead you down the wrong path) and are the perfect books for readers who are smart and enjoy trying to work out ‘who done it’ and why. Info from

What are some notable cozy mystery titles?

New Cozy Mysteries

Check Out a Cozy Title from This Featured Series

Featured Cozy Mystery Authors

Find out more about a popular author! Search the library catalog, check out their series page on Fantastic Fiction, or learn more on the author’s website.

MC Beaton was a popular Scottish author. As well as the bestselling Agatha Raisin series, she is the author of the acclaimed Hamish Macbeth mysteries.

Search the Library Catalog for MC Beaton.

Check out MC Beaton’s series page on Fantastic Fiction.

Check Out a Featured Cozy Mystery Series

Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery Series by A L Herbert

Welcome to Mahalia’s Sweet Tea—the finest soul food restaurant in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes so creamy “they’ll make you want to slap your Momma,” owner Halia Watkins is about to dip her spoon into a grisly mystery.

Meg Langslow Mystery Series by Donna Andrews

Meg Langslow is a successful decorative blacksmith and an exceptional amateur sleuth. The series is set in Yorktown, Virginia. Murder with Peacocks, won the St. Martin’s Minotaur Best First Traditional Mystery contest, the Agatha, Anthony, Barry, and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice awards for best first novel, and the Lefty award for funniest mystery.

Noodle Shop Mystery Series by Vivien Chien

The series stars Lana Lee, a twenty-something woman whose parents own Ho-Lee Noodle House, who finds herself working in the restaurant after her personal life implodes! She’s drawn into mystery after mystery involving the restaurant scene and the community of shop owners and patrons at Asia Village, a shopping plaza in East Cleveland. Description from 12/3/2020

Mansfield/Richland County Public Library subject guides are assembled by our reference team. Please contact the reference department at 419.521.3110 if you would like more help with this subject.
Last updated 08/11/2022