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Crazy for Cozies: 03/21/16
For most of my life as a reader I've had a thing for mysteries, especially the cozies. As a child mystery series were my summer vacation go-to books, especially on those long road trips we took as a family. School, college, grad school, small children, and ironically, book blogging, all signaled breaks in my cozy reading.
After years of taking a hiatus from cozies because I didn't have the time to purchase back issues of lengthy series runs and my local libraries only had the first and most recent volumes with the books in between weeded, I discovered a marvelous thing: ebooks. Of course I've known about ebooks for years but beyond poorly formatted egalleys, they weren't really on my radar. That changed when I decided a year ago January to revisit the Needlecraft mystery series by Monica Ferris.
When I searched for Framed in Lace, lo and behold, it was offered as an ebook downloadable straight to my phone. Feeling reluctant about revisiting a series I had sampled eight years earlier I decided to give the ebook version a try. If I didn't like it I could just return it early to the library and delete it off my phone.
Exactly the opposite happened. I loved the book and found that the cozy genre was perfect for ebooks. They tend to be short and easy to read. The library doesn't have to keep dozens of old books on hand taking up precious shelf space but can still offer access to them. As the older books are frankly, old, there's very rarely a hold list for them meaning I can download them to my phone the instant I get the urge to read one.
The downside of reading so much on my phone is that in the case of the Monica Ferris books, I've run out of ebooks and now have to check out the hardbacks from the library. In fact I'm nearly caught up with the series. When that does happen, I suspect I'll start buying ebook copies of my own to read through iBooks.
So what is it about the cozy that keeps me coming back for more? Well for one thing it's the formula. The protagonist is usually a professional in some other field (though there is one series I've dabbled in where the main character is a housewife and volunteer) who happens to have a unique skill-set through that career that gives insight into solving the local crimes (usually murders, though not always). Most often (at least among the ones I've read) the main character is female, though not always. Of the 29 series I've read all or part of that I believe qualify as cozies (with some squinting), 24 of them feature female protagonists. Of the five featuring men, the one that is most definitely a cozy series is the Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun.
Usually along with the whodunnit fun of a Murder She Wrote type mystery, one can learn something about the main characters expertise. So if you like needlecraft, you get a pattern to try at the back of each of Monica Ferris's books. If you like cooking, you get recipes in Diane Mott Davidson's books. I like that even if I'm not going to try out the patter or the recipe. I just like these little asides that round out the books.
Mostly though I like being able to read the book in a few pages here and there. These books tend to be short, coming in around 250 pages. If I can't finish a chapter, I don't forget much before I can start it up again. If it's the weekend or I'm traveling, I can read one of these books in a day or two.
Here are the cozy sleuths I've been following with their authors and their occupations.
Comment #1: Monday, May 09, 2016 at 13:30:21
Nancy Lynn Jarvis
I see you don't have a Realtor/amateur sleuth listed. We must remedy that. I'd love you to review "A Neighborly Killing," book six in my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series.
We also have to get you connected to "Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes," a cookbook with bios and cozy connections that would knock your socks off!
Comment #2: Monday, May 09, 2016 at 13:40:00
Thank you for interest in my blog. I am not currently accepting review copies. Nor do I review cookbooks.