Sunday, March 22, 2020
Guest Post: Cozies and Me by mystery author Benni Chisholm
I meet Benni Chisholm through the Crime Writers of Canada and it is my pleasure to introduce her to you today. Take it away, Benni...
COZIES AND ME
A cozy is a specific type of mystery novel. The term is not well known, so here is a simple definition—a cozy is a true Who-Dun-It mystery.
In Agatha Christie fashion, cozies give the reader a chance to match wits with the author. The reader and the protagonist—detective or amateur sleuth—make use of clues provided by the author to try and solve the puzzle. The solution comes when the red herrings are set aside and the real antagonist is unearthed.
Cozies avoid bad language, explicit sex, and hardcore violence. Good writing and proper grammar are the norm which makes a cozy easy to read and easy to understand. If violence or sadomasochism is part of the actual story, creepy things often occur off page.
Cozies contain Murder and Mayhem, but they also include a great deal about Family, Friendship, and Community.
The Me in the title of this article is Benni Chisholm, author of four cozies. The protagonist in my cozies is Philomela Nightingale. Her name is derived from a Greek myth in which two sisters commit a murder and are later turned by the gods into a nightingale and a swallow. My two sisters do not commit murder, in fact, Philomela helps solve them. A dubious psychic is a neighbour and two police officers appreciate Philomela’s keen observations and flashes of intuition.
So you see, the two sisters represent family. The neighbour epitomizes friendship. The police and other residents of the seaside town of Saltaire comprise community.
A narcissist, sociopath, or psychopath may dominate the action in a cozy, yet goodness prevails and justice is eventually served. Readers, after experiencing armchair fears and thrills, paradoxically finish each cozy with feelings of satisfied relief, optimistic hope, and perhaps even joy.