Saturday, September 22, 2012

On the Cozy Bandwagon

The Cozy Chicks are pleased to have the very talented Lucy Burdette visiting us! She's talking about cozy mysteries--and we all know how much we enjoy those. Cozy up, grab your cup of coffee (or tea) and read Lucy's theory on why these books are so popular. But be sure to tell us why YOU think cozies are so popular, too.

When I had my first mystery published back in 2002 (Six Strokes Under, written as Roberta Isleib), cozies were doing fine, but certainly not threatening to clog the bestseller list. Now I’ve just published my tenth (DEATH IN FOUR COURSES) and it seems to me that cozies are experiencing a delightful resurgence. A bunch of my pals have hit the New York Times bestseller list (yay Denise Swanson! Julie Hyzy! Krista Davis! Sheila Connolly! Maggie Sefton! Lorraine Bartlett! Kate Collins! Leann Sweeney! Jenn McKinlay! Ellery Adams!)—and tons of new series are announced every month. Why does it feel like now everything is all cozy, all the time?

I have a theory. The world is a scary place lately—really scary. The news is almost always bad coming out of the Middle East. Even our less “foreign” neighbors, the Europeans, are struggling. Closer to home than that in our own country, people find themselves in danger in their hometown movie theatres or their places of worship or in college classrooms. And so is it any wonder that readers want to get away to a simpler place and time, where the bad guys get what’s coming? Period?

Of course, there are murders in cozy mysteries. But the damage is contained and the bad guys are punished and order is restored by intrepid amateur sleuths who help the law enforcement guys see what was right in front of them. And while all that is happening, readers are introduced to life in a small town and they get to meet the sleuth’s friends and neighbors along the way.

All that said, the next time your stomach turns when you’re partway through a newspaper or the evening news or whatever, pick up a cozy. In the Key West food critic mysteries, I promise you no uncertain outcomes. And the food is divine. And you might just fall in love with funky, foodie Key West and Hayley Snow, the way I have. Which oh, by the way, is another way to keep your mind off current events—sign on to write a series of cozies! I swear you’ll start to think that new world you’ve created is real….

"Anyone who's ever overpaid for a pretentious restaurant meal will relish this witty cozy." Publishers Weekly on Death in Four Courses

Lucy Burdette is the author of DEATH IN FOUR COURSES and AN APPETITE FOR MURDER published by NAL/Obsidian. You can read more about her food critic mysteries at her website (, or “like” her on facebook (, or follow her on Twitter ( She also blogs with the fine writers at Jungle Red Writers ( and Mystery Lovers Kitchen (