What's a Cozy?

Basic Definition:

Cozy mysteries are a subgenre of crime fiction in which explicitness and graphic violence are downplayed. In other words, cozy mysteries are truly cozy. Gore is completely avoided, and major characteristics include warmth and humor.

Features of Cozy Mysteries:

  • Cozy mysteries usually involve murders. 
  • Cozy mysteries often take place in a small, homey town where gossip runs wild and the citizens usually know each other well. However, this isn't a given. It depends on the mystery.
  • Most cozies are parts of "themed" series. Examples include: cozies on knitting, birdwatching, solving puzzles, baking, cooking, gardening, soapmaking, crafting, budgeting, etc. There are several different possibilities for cozy readers to look into, and often, at the end of a cozy, something extra related to theme has been written by the author. For example: a cooking mystery may have a few recipes at the end of the book.
  • The sleuths are usually amateurs. Mysteries with policemen as the protagonists are a different genre: police procedurals, or, depending on the suspense, thrillers.

Writing Cozy Mysteries:

Cozy mysteries are engaging, humorous reads that are lighthearted with a huge emphasis on character development as well as the plot. When writing a cozy mystery, it's helpful to learn about how to create multi-dimensional characters, plant good clues, leave red herrings to keep the reader guessing, learn the art of unpredictability, and know the very basics of sleuthing and realistic police procedures after a murder. 

For more information on writing cozy mysteries, the blog posts here are all aimed towards writing these stories, and other great writing blogs such as Elizabeth Spann Craig's Mystery Writing is Murder are a huge help also.

Reading Cozy Mysteries:

A great site to visit for cozy mystery recommendations is Cozy Mystery. For personalized recommendations based on your interests and hobbies, head here:


  1. Very helpful! Amy sent me here, and so glad she did! This is an amazing blog ans thanks to Amy what a wondeful blog she brought to me! Amanda and Amy, thank you both, and Amanda, keep writing!

    1. Thank you, I am honored as you mention my name several times. I hope Amanda keeps writing as well as you do.


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