by Stephen P. Rogers
A cozy is a mystery which includes a bloodless crime and contains very little violence, sex, or coarse language. By the end of the story, the criminal is punished and order is restored to the community.
The character solving the crime is often an amateur sleuth who becomes involved because of personal reasons but it is also possible for the character to be a professional: police officer, medical examiner, or private detective.
Many cozies invite the reader to solve the crime first. In those instances, clues should be evident and fair. Red herrings (apparent clues which distract the reader) may be included and all the suspects might appear guilty along the way but these falsehoods should be explained by the end. The missing candlestick was taken by a child for a school project; the averted glance which suggested guilt actually represented guilt for snacking at midnight.
The novels of Agatha Christie and the mystery stories in Woman's World are examples of cozies.
Interesting the various concepts of what makes up a 'cozy'. I find USA 'so called' cozies unappealing and rather twee. I think the true home of the cozy is England and from what I've observed there appears to be a certain lack of interest by many US readers to read English literature of any kind. I can say that as I'm Australian. :-)
My books are classed as 'cozy' but I don't believe that is really the case. The settings so far have been in England, a village, other larger towns, and in each case the murder revolves around an historical event or artefact of some importance. I wouldn't describe the murders as bloodless by any means; I just don't dwell on them. They occur, are violent but are not exploited. The sleuths are amateur, and I make no apologies for that. There is a plethora of police detective work available, both in books and on television. Some are excellent, some not. I feel happier writing - and reading - crime novels that are pure entertainment rather than dealing in books with issues that, to be frank, are on the daily news programmes. Escapist? yes. And why not?
and from what I've observed there appears to be a certain lack of interest by many US readers to read English literature
Well, I may be in the minority, (or not) but without English literature, we wouldn't have had much of anything else---in America anyway. :) (I'm talking about influence). Actually, the people who lack interest in reading English literature probably don't take much interest in true "literature" of any kind, including American. Much less Australian. You've got a few greats, too---like Patrick White and Christina Stead. Both of whom I am proud to say I have read! And very much liked.
What's "twee?" :) It sounds like a useful term, if only I knew what it means!
"Twee" - means precious or excessively sentimental, over sweet or pretty. It's a corruption of 19th century 'tweet', which was an affected way of saying 'sweet'. As for lack of interest in literature, I suppose much the same claim can be made against Australians, although in the US at grass roots level, I do perceive a certain lack of interest or awareness in international matters. A regional thing? Possibly the East Coast is more susceptible to other cultures. One would think Australia being far removed from the cultural activities of the North could be accused of ignorance, but by and large this is probably not so. A number of reasons, one being the high intake of immigrants from Europe over the past fifty years or so plus the fact that since the end of WWII it has been a right of passage for young Australians to spend time in Europe and UK. The motherland so to speak. Prior to that, Australians were always great travelers, spurred on by the isolation they probably felt before the advent of air and cheap travel. And of course Australia had strong ties to England. Brave you, for reading Patrick White! :-)
although in the US at grass roots level, I do perceive a certain lack of interest or awareness in international matters. A regional thing? Possibly the East Coast is more susceptible to other cultures
You perceive correctly, Brian. There's a kind of rampant nationalism....provincialism might even be a better word. Some people, it seems, are actually proud of being ignorant. Don't tell me, I don't want to know. I'm happier if I don't. That sort of attitude. On some days I can almost sympathize! I don't like to hear, for instance, that London has become a "mean place." If London gets mean, what hope is there for the rest of us!
"Twee." I love that! Now I have a new word to add to my vocabulary. :) Can't wait to find a way to use it. Now I know what you mean about a certain type of cozy. But there is a LOT in this culture that is "twee."
And of course Australia had strong ties to England.
As does America! Where all the Anglophiles live! :)
I think the best cozies reveal the potential for savagery under the civilized veneer,
Albert, that's a very good point! Very good! That's why cozies were so popular for so long, of course.
That series, "Midsomer Murders," which was certainly an amusing series to watch on TV, did that quite successfully---although it was really black humor disguised as murder mystery, I thought. Satire, which I don't really like in my mysteries, cozy or not. I have not read the books, so don't know if they were cute or not, or if I'd even have liked them. But I got hooked right away with the TV productions. Here's what the English Village has become: an upscale haven for corrupt rich people many of whom enjoy kinky sex , like spanking each other with branches, the way Basil Fawlty whipped his car when it wouldn't go, and committing outlandishly improbably murders with weapons like crossbows, or serving poisoned punch at the village fair. (There were a lot of fairs!) The detective, who was so down to earth and real, made it work, and I watched every single one of them, even after Cully turned from a sweet, loving young daughter into a contentious bitch! :) I was amused by the constant poking at Joyce's lack of cooking skills.
Have to confess Caroline, that I quite liked MM's as well. Did you ever see John Nettles in 'Bergerac'? Perhaps you are a little young for that series. It ran on BBC1 from 1981 – 1991, he was a little bit dashing in Bergerac, as corny as, however highly entertaining.
I didn't! But I am definitely not too young---I'm a baby boomer, actually. I just missed it for whatever reason. Was that the one about a detective on some island? I looked for it on Netflix, but I couldn't find it. I would have ordered it up straightaway.
I found Nettles very appealing. He seemed to "ground" the series, give it what sense of reality it had. At times, it was almost surreal! But easy to watch. And the countryside---my word!