A while back, I got an idea for a cozy mystery series. It goes like this:
Ice cream + dragons
When I was a kid, fantasy books for kids were pretty much limited to Narnia and oddball outliers like The Dark Is Rising. So I read animal books and mysteries. I lived and breathed clues, suspects, missing diamonds, poison–and wolves, horses, dogs, and every other animal that was ever featured by Walter Farley, Walt Morey, or Jim Kjelegaard.
I worked my way through the mystery series books in the library kids’ section (ahh, the Three Investigators!). Harry Potter hit the spot because it’s mysteries in a wizard school. Rock on.
As a young adult, I discovered the YA section, which lives and breathes fantasy. I read adult fantasy. I found Tolkien and Diana Wynne Jones.
But that early foundation in the mystery genre persists, the way onions and garlic undergird taco seasoning.
So, this idea struck (people who turn into dragons! Selling ice cream! Having relationships and secrets! Urban fantasy, only cozier!) And I realized that I’d better read a bunch of cozies to learn the genre.
So here’s what I’ve read so far:
Thanks to Amazon’s Top Free Cozy Mystery list, I can pretty much read a brand-new book any time I want to. Of course, there’s a lot of drek on that list (I downloaded several books and deleted them because of the horrible writing/formatting), but eventually you find some good stuff.
So far, cozy mysteries seem to be:
With food or some other craft
There are shoes
The sleuth is usually female
The boyfriend is usually a cop
Sometimes it’s mostly a romance novel
There are lots of long scenes describing the venue, the food, and the oddball inhabitants of the area
The crime is usually murder
Poison is usually the weapon, because there’s no blood
In paranormal cozies, it’s always about ghosts or witches
There are often cats
Agatha Christie is invoked as the pinnacle of the genre
I’m halfway through a fourth one with a male protagonist, sort of a wacky Britcom, and I’m enjoying it.
Do you read cozies? Is there any key ingredient that I’ve overlooked? Would you be even vaguely interested in reading about dragons who solve mysteries?