Happy Cozy Mystery Day! Also known as Agatha Christie’s birthday. Why has the cozy mystery community adopted Agatha Christie’s birthday for this celebration? I’m not sure. She was undoubtably the queen of the traditional mystery, but while close, the terms aren’t exactly interchangeable.
A traditional mystery is a work of fiction that takes the reader through the solving of a puzzling crime—usually a murder. So is a cozy. At their hearts, they’re both whodunits, but there are some distinctions. The sleuth in a traditional mystery can be either an amateur or a professional—a police officer, a private investigator, even a coroner—someone who’s job is it to solve crimes. In a cozy mystery, the sleuth must be an amateur.
There are a few other “musts” for the cozy that are optional for the traditional mystery. Generally, sex and violence happen off the page. That’s often true for traditional mysteries too, until you get to those considered “hard-boiled. Ms. Christie wrote those as well. The cozy mystery must take place in a socially intimate community. That’s often translated into “small town” but I think that’s too restricting. Mine take place in London, not a small town in anyone’s book. But they also take place among Victorian aristocratic society, which is a small group, and in London at that time it consisted of the neighborhoods of Mayfair, Belgravia, and Kensington, a pretty close grouping.
The most important aspect of a cozy is the victim and the murderer know each other, a situation that was once known as malice domestic. You won’t find any serial killers or contract killers in a cozy. What you will find are killers who are family members, co-workers, and friends. That puts a more chilling twist on the term cozy doesn’t it?
The bottom line is it’s Agatha Christie’s birthday so why not celebrate Cozy Mystery Day? And why not celebrate it with a giveaway? If you’d like to win a hardcover copy of A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (e-book if your address is outside of the US or Canada) just send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org saying you’d like to win a book. This drawing is for those who follow my blog and subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll run a separate drawing for followers of my author page so if you’d like a second chance to win, you can follow me there. https://www.facebook.com/DianneFreemanAuthor/ I’ll draw the winner Tuesday! Good luck and happy Cozy Mystery Day!