Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Common Cliches in Cozy Mysteries

Lightheartedness is not the only thing all cozy mysteries have in common! If you're a cozy mystery reader, you've no doubt noticed quite a few cliches that occur over and over again.

Now, cliches aren't necessarily a bad thing if they work in favor of your book and enhance the plot and characters. But these are some of the more well-worn characteristics of cozy mysteries:


  • A small town setting. This is often used in cozy mysteries because of how much easier it makes the sleuth to gather gossip and have a small pool of suspects--so it's understandable why authors use this, but it's also been used so many times that it's becoming a cliche now.
  • Working with the police. It makes sense that the amateur sleuth would be forced to work with the town police on the case if they want anything done--but the key to writing is thinking out-of-the-box, and in most cozy mysteries, sleuths do end up working with the police.
  • Amateur sleuths only. Of course, the book's only fun if the sleuth's an amateur--but there are a gazillion different possibilities with policemen and women also. 
  • Written in series. This is a completely understandable reason. Readers enjoy getting to know the same cast of characters and their quirks through a series of books, so most cozy mysteries are written in series.
  • Killing off another character. Often, a second murder will happen when the middle of the book really starts to sag, just to pick things up, and it is undeniably linked to the first murder. Always.
  • Killing the people no one likes. It takes quite the courageous cozy mystery author to kill off a beloved character! Readers usually delve into cozy mysteries for the charm and warmth, not for being saddened over a great character's death, so this cliche makes sense.
  • Having a special theme, hobby, interest, or shop. This is probably the most understandable of the cliches on here. All cozy mystery readers enjoy a bonus perk related to the sleuth's hobby in the book also, so it makes perfect sense for authors to add that, and it enhances the book too.

What are your thoughts on cliches in cozy mysteries? Which ones enhance the book and which ones have been used too many times to be considered original anymore? 

5 comments:

  1. This really helped me as I was writing. I got all my problem, solution, etc. from your blog. This is very inspiring and you have helped much!

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  2. I think we all expect these in a cozy so would probably be disappointed if they weren't in there. A cozy also needs a confined setting unlike hard boiled mysteries that take place in a city. Good post.
    Ann

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    1. I agree with you on that wholeheartedly, Ann. I do expect these from cozies, so it matters to me whether or not they are in there. And you're very right about the confined setting. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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