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allofthehamms
01-18-2007, 10:09 AM
I keep seeing mention of a "Cozy Mystery". Is this a sub category under mystery? From what I can tell, it appears to be a mystery where the heroine is a woman (not young like chick lit), in her 30s or 40s? It also seems to have a somewhat negative connotation. Can anyone clear it up for me? Thanks.

Linda Adams
01-18-2007, 03:25 PM
Cozy is one of the most popular of the mysteries. This is a definition of a cozy: http://www.writing-world.com/mystery/cozy.shtml

It's not limited to women characters; rather the market has recognized that women readers are a huge audience and has been doing stories that appeal to them. However, according to Publishers Weekly, cozies are disposable books--they're only meant to be read once, so they're paperbacks.

Jamesaritchie
01-18-2007, 06:02 PM
Cozy is one of the most popular of the mysteries. This is a definition of a cozy: http://www.writing-world.com/mystery/cozy.shtml

It's not limited to women characters; rather the market has recognized that women readers are a huge audience and has been doing stories that appeal to them. However, according to Publishers Weekly, cozies are disposable books--they're only meant to be read once, so they're paperbacks.

Where in the world did Publishers Weekly come up with that? Cozies have been around a long, long time, and the best ones never go out of print, and are read over and over and over.

The Miss Marple novels were as cozy as you can get, and they're among the most reread books out there. Just about all of Agatha Christie's novels were cozies, and they're all read over and over.

allofthehamms
01-18-2007, 07:45 PM
Thanks for the info and website. No doubt, my mystery novel indeed fits into the Cozy catagory. My novel is complete at 52,000 words. I know...a bit short for a novel, too long for a magazine and o.k. for a short cozy?? I am working on the query now. Do you recommend putting the "cozy" definition into the query letter, or just let it be understood by reading the definition?

JDCrayne
01-19-2007, 07:15 AM
Think of a cosy mystery as the one you would give to your maiden aunt -- the aunt who was thinking of becoming a nun...

I write cosies, except that my detective is a small town homicide officer instead of an amateur sleuth.

Linda Adams
01-19-2007, 03:23 PM
The Miss Marple novels were as cozy as you can get, and they're among the most reread books out there. Just about all of Agatha Christie's novels were cozies, and they're all read over and over.

But that's Agatha Christie. She's in a class by herself.

Linda Adams
01-19-2007, 03:25 PM
Also a reminder about the St. Martin's contest (which should be coming up in a few months) through Malice Domestic: http://www.malicedomestic.com/stmartins.htm

I remember looking at the contest to see if I could enter anything and seeing a "no violence" requirement, and that ended that.

JDCrayne
01-20-2007, 07:11 AM
I remember looking at the contest to see if I could enter anything and seeing a "no violence" requirement, and that ended that.

I think that the reason my current WIP is so full of gore and mayhem is that I'm making up for all of the off-stage death and the gentle character interactions in the cozies. Heck, my characters don't even say "damn" except under severe stress. (Personally, I swear like a trooper.)

There IS a good-sized market for the gentle, unviolent, sexless mysteries -- especially among the more religious readers. The women, especially, like finding books that they can give to their young adults without any worries.

BardSkye
02-02-2007, 12:56 AM
How violent is "non-violent'? I have a scene where the villain is chasing my hero through a stable, trying to stab him with a pitchfork. The hero hits him with a whip he picks up then other circumstances end the confrontation.

My characters in this one don't swear, there's a love interest but no sex, and it takes place with a small group of characters in a large area. (Sports people and the arenas where they play against each other.)

JDCrayne
02-02-2007, 04:08 AM
I'd say that chasing someone around with a pitchfork is okay. (Leave out the part where the villain catches him, jabs him, and winds his guts around the fork like spaghetti.) The hero can certainly clip him with the whip, but leave out the gruesome details of the way his bleeding flesh peels back like the rind of a blood orange.

I've just gone back to a cosy that I started a couple of months ago and had to put aside. In this one, a young couple have bought an old house which they wish to turn into a B&B. When they drive up to take possession, they find a corpse in the old barn. No blood, no overt violence, and when the male protagonist swears he does it under his breath in gentlemanly fashion. That's cosy for you! The next corpse will be found batted on the head in an upstairs bedroom. There will be a pool of blood, but all very tastefully absorbed by a persian carpet. *grin*

stormie
02-02-2007, 04:35 AM
Another cozy mystery writer is MC Beaton (her Agatha Raisin character is a hoot). Sharyn McCrumb's books also are what I'd call cozies. Look them up on Amazon, and read a few pages. Not a lot of gore or violence up front, but it's there, in the background. Joan Hess's books also.

davids
02-02-2007, 04:48 AM
It is sitting in an armchair that is not quite comfy with a lovely fire-a good glass of brandy a dog at the old feet and a good book

BardSkye
02-02-2007, 07:05 AM
There's really no gore in my WIP. Only one murder, which takes place about 3 months before the story begins and is mentioned as an accident on about the third page. The MC begins to suspect it was a murder when he starts being targeted for 'accidents.' Nobody believes him; they just think it's his imagination.

Most of the clues the reader will need to solve the mystery along with the MC are in the first chapter. It's my first crack at writing a mystery and is turning out to be a lot of fun.

JDCrayne
02-03-2007, 08:54 AM
There's really no gore in my WIP. Only one murder, which takes place about 3 months before the story begins and is mentioned as an accident on about the third page. The MC begins to suspect it was a murder when he starts being targeted for 'accidents.' Nobody believes him; they just think it's his imagination.

Most of the clues the reader will need to solve the mystery along with the MC are in the first chapter. It's my first crack at writing a mystery and is turning out to be a lot of fun.


It sounds fine to me. You should be able to find a sale for it in the cosy market.

Kentuk
02-03-2007, 09:04 PM
A cozy mystery is a bed time book, compatible with chocolate icecream and not so scary that if the icecream gets on the sheets you don't freak and think its blood. (Actually happened to my Mother)

BardSkye
02-03-2007, 09:23 PM
A related question here. When does it stop being a mystery and become a thriller? I'm thinking of two favourite authors, Alastair Maclean and Dick Francis, both shelved in the same section. Some books don't have the villain revealed until the last few pages, which I would consider mystery. Others reveal the villain earlier then have an exciting time escaping/bringing the villain to justice, which I would think of as a thriller. Are there nuances or criteria that differentiate the genres?

ETA: I put the pitchfork scene up in SYW if anyone wants to have a look at it.