Off the Shelf: Cuddle up with a cozy mystery

On a cold and blustery day, there is nothing better than a comforting book, especially one labeled cozy. But what exactly is a cozy mystery?

This very popular genre is defined by the feelings it evokes in readers, namely warm, engrossed, and contented. The mystery element can be very strong or barely present, but it generally does not include graphic “adult” elements or intense action scenes. These elements more often take place off the page.

Typically the hero is an amateur sleuth, the setting is a small village or community of some kind and there is a whole series revolving around one or the other.

Overall, a cozy mystery is a gentle, feel-good book, perfect with a hot beverage and a snuggly blanket.

Think Agatha Christie writing about Miss Marple or Poirot, Ellis Peters with Cadfael, or Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey. If this type of British and/or historical setting is your cup of tea, try “Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death” by James Runcie, the first of the Grantchester books with an unconventional clergyman at the center.

“Her Royal Spyness” by Rhys Bowen features a penniless member of the extended royal family in 1930s London, while the titular character in “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear was a nurse in World War I who sets up as a private investigator after the war is over.

Another unique factor of the genre is that many series have a theme, such as knitting or coffee … or cats. There are many mystery-solving cats like Rita Brown’s Sneaky Pie Brown. But dog lovers can count on Chet, the lovable canine narrator of “Dog on It,” who solves crimes with his human private investigator companion. In “The Tale of Hill Top Farm” by Susan Albert Wittig there are talking woodland animals who solve mysteries that the bumbling humans can’t, in the lake district of England.

It is common for cozy mysteries to have a strong leading lady. “Crocodile on the Sandbank” by Elizabeth Peters has the heroine, a Victorian feminist, dashing around Egypt. “Cocaine Blues” by Kelly Greenwood follows the spitfire Miss Fisher as she leaves English society for Australia in the roaring 20s.

If you enjoyed the warmth of Precious Ramotswe in the beloved “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith, try one of his other series like “The Sunday Philosophy Club: an Isabel Dalhousie Mystery.”

For your cozy mystery fix, visit the Sequim Branch Library at 630 N. Sequim Ave., or get in touch with your friendly library staff by calling 360-683-1161, or sending an email to Discover@nols.org.

Library staff are available to help you find your next great read! And as always, the library is always open at www.nols.org.

Liz Duval is a Customer Service Specialist for the North Olympic Library System.

More in Life

Milestone: First Baptist Church boosts Habitat efforts

Habitat for Humanity of Clallam County partnered with First Baptist Church in… Continue reading

Get It Growing: Rhododendrons, true or false

Rhododendrons are beautiful plants, prolific and well suited for growing in the… Continue reading

Farm to Food Pantry Program kicks off third year

Bringing produce from local farms to low-income families and individuals, the Farm… Continue reading

Faith news — Sept. 19, 2018

TAIZE service set All are welcome to the ecumenical TAIZE service at… Continue reading

OTA calls for three-dimensional art to celebrate community’s talent

Olympic Theatre Arts is seeking donations of original works of art in… Continue reading

Parenting Matters: Setting limits for your toddler

There is no limit to the number of times each day when… Continue reading

Milestone: Soroptimist group picks Gleason for vocational award

Soroptimist International of Sequim announced recently that Elizabeth Gleason is the recipient… Continue reading

Clallam Conservation District’s offers fall natural landscaping course

Sign-ups are being accepted for Clallam Conservation District’s fall natural landscaping course.… Continue reading

‘Dazzling Dahlias’ at next Work to Learn Party

Locals can get their green thumbs going and learn some gardening tips… Continue reading

Most Read