Within the larger genre of Mystery Fiction, is a sub-genre known as “cozy mysteries” or “armchair mysteries.” What’s so cozy about a mystery novel you say? We aren’t talking about warm or feel-good books here. Instead we are talking about a style of fiction.
The Cozy Mystery Plot Line
The plot line always seem to center around a murder that happened within a small circle of suspects. The detective or amateur sleuth gets involved with the cast of characters to sort through the clues.
The cozy name was applied due to the close relationship that the suspects had with each other. They usually are within an extended family or circle of friends. In other words, they all tend to know each other. Murder close to home.
The History of Cozy Mysteries
This sub-genre was popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The stories are usually set in a small English village, or a manor house with weekend guests. Some even work nicely in a resort or on a train. The point is that all the suspects are gathered in one place and stay there until the murder is solved.
Agatha Christie, with her Miss Marple and Hecule Poirot series is the best example of cozy mysteries. Dorothy L. Sayers is also a good example and a popular author of this style.
The term “armchair mysteries” was added later. It refers to the ease with which one can read these novels. The stories are not extensive, the plot development and character development are not extensive, either. So, one can read these novels in a single sitting. You have a couple of hours free so you grab a mystery, plop into your armchair and read the whole thing through.
Modern Cozy Mysteries
Many mystery authors today write cozy mysteries. Cozy or armchair mysteries are just as popular for readers today as they have been through the years. We still love working with the amateur or professional sleuth to figure out the clues and get to the solution. We still love having that limited number of suspects. And we still love the setting of cozy mysteries.
So next time you have a couple of hours free, grab a copy of a cozy mystery and plop into your favorite armchair to have an enjoyable time solving the mystery.