Cozy Mysteries Aren’t Fluff

By Debbie De Louise

I think there’s a misconception in the book community that cozy mysteries are “fluff” reading because they don’t feature a lot of violence, blood-shed, explicit sex, or language. I disagree. While cozies don’t include these things, it leaves room for them to express deeper themes. For instance, the fourth book of my Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, Love on the Rocks, includes a kidnapping, parental issues in dealing with teenagers (a subject close to my heart because I have a 14-year old), and a mentally disturbed person. These tougher issues are balanced against the more lighthearted ones, the so-called “fluff” of the cozy, such as a new cat in town, a romance between the library director and a mysterious professor from California, and the quirky characters who work at the Cobble Cove Library and live in the town. Alicia, the main character is involved again solving a mystery with her pal from Long Island, Gillly, who has eloped with the town’s sheriff.

Here’s the blurb to my new release: Love on the Rocks:

“Alicia, come with me to the Reference Desk. I left a few more decorations there and can use a hand putting them up.”

Alicia followed Sheila back to the desk admiring the paper hearts and flowers hanging from the library’s ceilings and the red streamers that lay across the stacks. Two huge red hearts graced a banner strung across the entranceway over the turnstiles. In the center of each, handwritten in glittery purple script were the names of her best friend and new husband – Gilly and Ron. She knew Gilly would be glad they used her nickname but wasn’t sure the sheriff would approve of the use of his first name. Most of the town resident’s knew him as Ramsay.

Sheila ran around the desk pulling out drawers. She reminded Alicia of a hen tending her chickens. “Gilly and Ramsay are going to be so surprised.”

Alicia agreed. The idea for a combination wedding and Valentine’s Day party was hatched up by Sheila, and it was a great thought. The rest of the staff was busy upstairs where the party would be held arranging more decorations there and putting out all the home-cooked dishes they’d prepared along with the red, pink, and white sheet cake that would be served for dessert.

“What’s this?” Sheila paused in her tossing of decorations atop the desk.

Alicia came over to see what had grabbed the director’s attention. A velvet shaped heart box sat by one of the computer stations. As Alicia came closer, she could see a post-it attached to it with the words, “To Sheila from your secret admirer.”

Sheila smiled. “That Ryan. He knows I have a sweet tooth and am particularly fond of chocolates.” She opened the lid. “My favorites. I know I should wait for the party, but these are just too appealing.”

Alicia watched as Sheila took a few pieces and bit into them. Only a few seconds after she swallowed, her smile faded. She began to choke and clutched her throat.

“Sheila, are you okay?” Alicia rushed over afraid she wouldn’t recall how to do the Heimlich maneuver, but Sheila had already passed out on the floor. “Help!” Alicia called racing to the stairs. The romantic music playing above her drowned out her voice. Just as she grabbed her cell phone to dial 911, Ryan Anderson walked through the door, a huge bouquet of roses in his arms. He stopped short seeing Sheila on the ground. “What happened. Oh, My God!”

“I’m dialing 911 right now,” Alicia said. “She ate some of your chocolates and then passed out. I’m not sure if she choked on a piece.”

“My chocolates? I didn’t get her any chocolates. I was bringing her these flowers.” He dropped them on the desk and then knelt down and started administering CPR to Sheila’s unmoving body.

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There are a lot of cozy mystery lovers and many blogs and social media groups devoted to them. Those who enjoy this type of book say that they identify with the characters and enjoy being immersed in a small-town setting. Some of the books include recipes or special subjects such as gardening. Many feature pets, and there are subgenres of cozies that are historical, paranormal, or police procedural.

If you haven’t yet tried a cozy, don’t write them off as “fluff.” Pick one up and see for yourself  how meaningful yet entertaining a cozy mystery can be.

 Debbie De Louise is an award-winning author and a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters-in-Crime, the Long Island Authors Group, and the Cat Writer’s Association. She has a BA in English and an MLS in Library Science from Long Island University.

 

Debbie's novels include the three books of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series published by Solstice Publishing: A Stone's Throw, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Written in Stone. Debbie has also published a romantic comedy novella featuring a jewel heist caper, When Jack Trumps Ace, a paranormal romance, Cloudy Rainbow, and has written articles and short stories for several anthologies of various genres.

 

Debbie lives on Long Island with her husband Anthony, daughter Holly, and Cat Stripey. 

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