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  • Writer's pictureIlena Alvarez

Murder, But Make it Cozy

Updated: Jan 28

Hi, everyone! I believe life is all about perspective. Since I teach, there are subjects that force me to remind my students that life is about pushing on. It gets tough out here, but that is our reality. I believe there’s great comfort in knowing we all suffer and should remind us to intentionally treat each with kindness. Counseling my students reminds me weekly.

But want to escape reality for a bit? I have got some cozy mystery recommendations. Now, I have always been a bit leery of these cozies. Why are they “cozy?” And to those unfamiliar, a cozy mystery is a subgenre of the universal “mystery” genre. The setting is generally a small town, where everyone knows everyone’s business. If a tragedy occurs, there are condolences followed by gossip. But if you need a helping hand, you’ll get it. Everyone goes to church on Sundays. A romance develops and if you’re from out of town, there’s always some townie with a dark or brooding backstory.

Each title in the series is given a punny name, such as Better off Read by Nora Page. Or Black Beans & Vice by J.B. Stanley. It’s so cute.

The first series I am recommending involves the Friends of the Library. Lindsey Norris, in “Books Can Be Deceiving” by Jenn McKinley, is a woman who arrives at Briar Creek to become the director of the library. In addition, she is also voted onto the Board of the Friends of the Library. There, she finds deep-rooted discord between the board members, and mystery ensues as someone is killed very early on and our protagonist quickly becomes an amateur sleuth (the other primary touchstone of a cozy). I am currently on the third book, and it’s fun one.

The second series I would recommend—which I haven’t read yet but plan to—is the Secrets of Blue Hill Library Mystery Series. Here, Anne Gibson is our sleuth, and she converts an old Victorian house into the town’s library. I love the covers because they have a creepy Stepford-Wives vibe.

Here are some others I have placed in my TBR (To-Be-Read) Pile:

How do you make murder mysteries cozy? The answer I found is that of course the murder is not supposed to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but the friendships, larger-than-life personalities, and the figuring out of one’s journey are the key players in inviting you to move along through the series.

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