I was brimming with excitement to tell my friends and family that I sold a three book cozy series to Kensington Publishing. Imagine my surprise when they asked, “What’s a cozy mystery?”
Here’s my summary of the popular genre:
- Small Town, Amateur Sleuth
A cozy mystery is almost always set in a small town with an amateur sleuth. The best example is Jessica Fletcher from the television series, Murder She Wrote. I’ll never tire of reruns! My amateur sleuth, Lucy Berberian, believes she’s on her way to making partner at her big city law firm, until she’s passed over for a male associate. Tired of the glass ceiling, Lucy quits, packs her bags, and heads home to the small town of Ocean Crest at the Jersey shore and her family’s Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen.
- One Smart Lady
The amateur sleuth is “usually” a lady. I say usually, because there’s always an exception. The sleuth is also intelligent. She may make mistakes, but she uses her brains, not her brawn, to solve the murder.
- A Unique Hook
It can be an occupation, hobby, or location. In my series, Lucy returns to her hometown, Ocean Crest, a small South Jersey shore town, and to her family’s Mediterranean restaurant, Kebab Kitchen. Two unique hooks. Who doesn’t love food and the beach?
- A Bit of a Romantic Interest
You bet! Lucy has two. Her former ex-boyfriend who broke her heart and is back in her life as a chef, and the hot motorcycle riding Italian owner of the bicycle shop next door to Kebab Kitchen. Lucy’s torn between the two.
- The sleuth must have a compelling reason to solve the murder
How about the victim is the town’s health inspector and Lucy’s longtime rival? Throw in the fact that Lucy’s the prime suspect in the murder. That’s a compelling reason for sure.
- A Dose of Red Herrings
Lots of them, of course!
Hope this helps define a cozy mystery. I also hope you like “Hummus and Homicide” when it’s released!