March 11, 2020

Looking Into Cozy Mystery Writing

Susan Reichert   @SouthrnWritrMag
Editor-in-Chief Southern Writers
Amanda Flower a bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author wrote on May 18, 2018An amateur sleuth, an unsuspecting victim, a quirky supporting cast, and trail of clues and red herrings are the main ingredients of a cozy mystery”. Check out this link to the article.

In July 22, 2014 in Writers Digest guest column in The Writer’s Dig  an article titled 4 Things You Should Know About Writing a Cozy Mystery Novel said, “Virtually all cozy mysteries published today are part of a series with recurring characters . . . Creating a series that’s anchored around a hobby or craft is a great way to break in: recent popular series include the Book Collector Mysteries by Victoria Abbott, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries by Victoria Hamilton and the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries by Kylie Logan. Click here.

I like to think one of the best things about cozy’s is the main character is an amateur sleuth. That’s probably why I liked Nancy Drew growing up. She was strong and seem to have a knack for falling into mysteries and played an independent female who was strong in character.

If you go back and read the books you will find where they used everyday people and created characters out of them for the different books. We could always relate to the characters.

Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon are the pseudonyms under which many ghostwriters penned the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, respectively. Both series were created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm, in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

Stratemeyer's daughter, Harriet, and syndicate writer Mildred Wirt Benson were the two people primarily responsible for bringing the iconic character of Nancy Drew to life in the minds and hearts of millions of readers around the world.

In January, 2020 they released Hidden Pictures (Nancy Drew Diaries Book 19).

Of course, as time changes the cozy mystery books change too regarding the types of characters they pull into their story.

There should be several red herrings as you go along. 

Misdirection is a must. I love puzzles whether jigsaw or word so piecing together a cozy was lots of fun for me when I was growing up.

If you could create a strong protagonist, it is possible you can have a cozy mystery that the publisher will want to make into a series.

Remember, cozy mystery is a subgenre of crime fiction without graphic violence and sex and the reader gets the opportunity to solve the murder, vicariously of course.

Some of the cozy mysteries you may want to check out would be the ones by Tonya Kappes. She has written more than fifty southern cozy mysteries, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists. Best known for stories charged with southern charm, emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters.

Hope Callaghan is an American author who loves to write Christian Cozy Mysteries she has written more than 50 Christian books in 5 mystery series since 2014.

Laura Childs specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are: The Tea Shop Mysteries, the Scrapbook Mysteries, and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. .

There is a website called Cozy Mystery List which has a great deal of information for you about cozy mysteries.

Then you should check out where you will find more information and books.

If you are interested in learning to write cozy mysteries check out this link: you will find it has some basics that can help you.

Cozy Mysteries need a word count of about 65,000 to 75,000 according to a few different articles I’ve read.

If you love to read cozy mystery books, then maybe you will enjoy writing one!

Susan Reichert is the Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazne.
Her company promotes authors and their books and have been doing this for nine years. Promotions now are on the Gallery of Stars and Suite T, seasonal catalogs and special editions.


  1. I grew up on Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and The Bobsey Twins mysteries. And one of my favorite cozy writers is Ramona Richards. Murder in the Family is a great one!

    1. Hi Ane. Yes it was great reading the cozy books growing up. You are right. Thanks for giving us Ramona's book title. Will get it.

  2. Thanks for this great information on cozies, Susan!

    Everybody loves a mystery and I really like the way cozies are written to focus on the characters and the puzzle without graphic violence or explicit sexual content. They can be read by any age group.

    1. I agree Kay. I too love the way the focus is on the characters
      and doesn't have the sex conten and graphic violence. I love the cozy's where I have to follow the clues to see if I can detect who the culprit is.

  3. I've always wanted to write a cozy, but never seem to have the time! Maybe soon. There are so many good stories out there.

    1. I so agreet Patricia. I love the cozy mystery books and like you I would love to try my hand at writing one...maybe someday.