My new book, In the Garden with the Pruning Shears, is described as a cozy mystery. There are many blogs exploring the definition of a cozy mystery. It is a mystery sub-genre of the crime novel genre that usually does not have explicit sex or violence or strong language. That is the simple explanation. The sleuths are clever, sometimes bumbling characters, but usually likeable, and usually manage to get into some sort of trouble while bringing the murderer to justice. There can be a hint of romance, but never sex. Blood is kept to a minimum. Many times the murder took place prior to the beginning of the book, so there is not a witness to the violent act, not even the reader sees it happen.
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When I think cozy mystery I visualize curling up on a winter day in a big chair, ideally in front of a fireplace, but at least in a warm and cozy spot. Perhaps in front of a sunny window, feeling like a cat, or wrapped in a snuggly throw or quilt with a cup of hot tea nearby. All is quiet and I have time to read my book without interruption. A cozy mystery can just as well be enjoyed on a summer day, perhaps in a lawn chair in a shady spot of the yard, substituting the hot tea for a tall glass of iced tea. Another image that comes to my mind is me at the beach on the porch of a little cottage with the sound of the surf in the background, a sea breeze whispering in my ear and laughing gulls swooping down to grab morsels up out of the ocean.
That’s what I think when I think cozy mystery. What about you, what’s your favorite cozy reading environment?