Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Fives - Five Things that I Don't Like in a Cozy Mystery

I'm taking a bit of a break from my usual Friday Linkups to try something a little different.  Michelle over at Because Reading is Better Than Real Life   used to do a Five on Fridays that I always enjoyed and I've seen a few other variations on the theme.  As well I'm in a list making kind of mood so I thought I'd give start making random five lists.  Sometimes they'll be bookish other weeks not so much. I'm also going to start linking up with Kathryn over at Book Date for her Connect Five.   A few weeks ago I did a Top Ten post about why I love cozy mysteries (find that here) but not everything in a cozy mystery is a win so here are a few things that will take a book down a star or 2.

1.  Too Many Characters - Cozy mysteries have a lot of characters.  You need a decent cast to really give that feeling of small town community that most are set in and the amateur sleuth normally comes with a built in a group.  But sometimes I come across a cozy where everyone who ever existed in this series makes an appearance and it can get a bit confusing.  I mean just because your BFF's grandmother's second cousin's boss's son was a prominent character in book 2 does not mean he needs to show up for tea in book 5 unless once again his character to the plot.

2.  The To Stupid To Live Character - One could argue that any amateur sleuth investigating falls into the TSTL category but occasionally they really go all out.  A number of years ago I read a cozy where the sleuth took her toddler to confront someone she knew was a murder at night alone.  To make it even more fun the confrontation took place on a catwalk over a vat of turpentine type chemicals.  Did I mention there was a toddler in this whole mess?  It was just a bit too much.

3.  A Big Coincidence - I hate when the mystery is solved due to a big coincidence like the sleuth walking in at just the right time to hear someone saying just the right time.  Or they just happen to stumble on just the stranger they need to find at the grocery store or something random.  I'm okay if a random discovery leads to some investigation but if it closes the whole case it feels like cheating.

4.  An Unlikable Sleuth - I don't need to be best friends with every amateur sleuth in every cozy I read but I have at least find the person I'm spending time with somewhat likable or at least interesting.  My last straw with a series I had been reading for awhile was when the sleuth went over to her quasi-boyfriend's house after she'd had a really rough day.  He went to the effort of making her a tuna casserole from his mother's recipe because he thought she needed comfort food.  From her reaction you would have thought he was sacrificing kittens when she walked through the door.  I dislike tuna casserole with the burning fury of 1000 suns but it seemed like sweet gesture and was well intentioned.  

5.  Constantly Being Framed for Murder - In any long running cozy series the main character will end up being suspected of murder at least once or twice.  As will various close friends and family.  But when the entire series is based off a main character being not only questioned but actually arrested and charged it gets a bit exhausting.


  1. I like them all especially No.1. It confuses the plot and the mind and everything else!

  2. I am so there with #4! I also hate when the murder doesn't even have part or is only mentioned liked once. I mean how am I suppose to figure it out if the killer isn't even really in the book till the sleuth figures it out!

  3. I agree with all of these. Just because a mystery is "cozy" doesn't mean it shouldn't be well written. I'm picky about which ones I read because a lot of the reasons you mention in this list.


  4. Yes I hate a too stupid to live character in any genre. One thing that always puts me off cozies is that the MC or a friend or family member is always blamed for a death by dumb local cops!

  5. Oh, my yes, number 5 drives me INSANE! I have broken up with TV shows and books over that very thing. And a character really took her toddler with her to confront a killer? In an industrial plant? Please tell me another character reported her for child endangerment.

  6. Yes some of those would be annoying. I hate too many characters in any book, and any sleuth who takes a child to confront a would be/might be murderer is downright dumb!

  7. I am so with you on all of these! One of the books I read recently had a plethora of characters, and it was the first in a new series, so there was no one I already knew. I enjoyed the book, but I ended up going back to the beginning and making myself a "cast of characters" list as each character was introduced, just so I could keep track.

    And omigosh, #5! You would think eventually the police would figure out that it's never this person even when all the evidence points to them.

  8. My sister loves cozies. I tried, but I just couldn't get into them. The Cat Who books are cozies, too, right? My mother loves those. 👍✨