Cozy and Unashamed

My name is Vickie and I write (and read) cozy mysteries.

Not a shocking admission really, but enough to garner me a disparaging look or comment on occasion from some writers and readers of other genres.

Agatha_ChristieIn fact when I attended the Writers Police Academy in August, I sat next to a pleasant-looking lady at one of the sessions who asked me, “What kind of books do you write?” When I answered “cozy mysteries,” she replied, “Oh, I never read those!”

I know reading tastes are subjective, but she’s missing out on so many amazingly good books! Or at least it seems that way to me, as a die-hard cozy fan.

I first discovered Agatha Christie when I was about twelve. I imagined Miss Marple as my elderly aunt, whom I’d spent a few weeks visiting each summer in England. Her village life with its thatched roofs, roaring fire on the hearth and afternoon tea served in delicate china cups was a world away from my reality of asphalt shingles, rattling air-conditioning and a sweaty glass of iced tea.

For an awkward adolescent with her nose pressed firmly in a library book, sitting in Aunt Jane’s parlor and tagging along as she unraveled murder mysteries felt like the safest, most comforting place on earth—despite the fact that bodies were piling up in St. Mary Mead.

How does that make sense?

I believe it’s because before you read Page 1 of a traditional mystery—which vary greatly in their degrees of coziness— you have the assurance that the murderer will be caught and justice will prevail. That’s something we don’t always get in other categories of crime fiction—and seldom happens on the evening news.

I sometimes enjoy a good horror read, curled up on the sofa as the shadows on the wall grow darker and more ominous. Or having a thriller leave me breathless as our hero races across the globe, his life in peril as he tries to prevent an assassination or foil a terrorist plot.

But, I always come back home to the cozy, traditional murder mystery. It’s comfort food for the mind and spirit. It’s hot cocoa or mac ‘n’ cheese or chocolate cake. And cozies come in all flavors, from spicy and exotic to warm and familiar—romantic or humorous or paranormal, or maybe even all three at once.

My only complaint now that I’m writing cozy mystery novels is that I have far less time to read them.