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  • Writer's pictureSusannah Shannon

What makes a book "cozy" anyway?





I discovered the term while learning about the industry to write my first mystery. A "cozy" is a mystery where the murder happens sort of bloodlessly and not in front of us. The mystery is solved, not by police procedures or forensic evidence, but by the detective's (always an amateur) knowledge of human foibles.

Of course, Miss Marple is the quintessential cozy sleuth.

St Mary's Mead is the perfect spot for her to wield her intellect. It is a village, after all. People know each other, and except for the murderers(admittedly St. Mary's Mead is only second to Cabot Cove for homicide), people mean well. It's "cozy" because the setting seems familiar, amiable, and safe. When the villain is discovered and dispatched, all return to comfort.

I'm writing a new book that will be a "cozy fantasy mystery." It's a fantasy so there is magic and mythical beasts. It's cozy, so Margy Guildwitch is a bakery witch, not a battle wizard. I wonder if many of us who grew up reading fantasy aren't at a different part of our lives. Epic quests are great, but I want to know how things are affected back at the shire. Rape and attempted rape as plot points, leave me cold(looking at you GoT and Outlander.) I am not alone, it seems to be a burgeoning genre-

In looking for a cozy fantasy to read, I've rediscovered some Neil Gaimon and Terry Pratchett. I think this is a growing genre.

Let's begin a reading list- I'll start

The Wyrd Sisters- Terry Pratchett

Stardust- Neil Gamon

The Weary Dragon Inn series- S. Usher Evans

I'm interested in adding to this list, so jump in, recommend some books, and tell me why these warmer fantasy tales feed your soul this cold Spring season.

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