Alert
Close

Join the Drive to End Hunger! Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

Highlights

Open

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Miami skyline viewed through palm trees.

Enjoy fun in the sun during Life@50+, May 14-16, 2015

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

AARP TV

Watch episodes of AARP Live and other AARP broadcasts.

Most Popular

Viewed

Nothing has been viewed

Get 'Cozy' for a Good Read This Winter

Never hear of cozies? They're a crime fiction genre that's both tame and tantalizing

The temperature is dropping, the wind is kicking up and you have hot cocoa on the stove — an ideal time for tucking into a cozy.

Cozies are a genre of crime fiction, sometimes known as traditional mysteries, beloved by fans from 18 to 80. You, the reader, have a perch on the shoulder of the (usually) amateur, (often) female sleuth for a bird's-eye view of an intriguing murder and can solve the crime in lockstep or before. What you won't find are explicit blood and guts, or adult themes. Murder and sex (if anyone is having any) occur off the page. And as with many good mysteries, murder is merely an excuse to explore the reasons ordinary human beings do what they do.

Join AARP Today  Receive access to exclusive information, benefits and discounts.

Curl up with a cozy read.

Cozy mysteries are suspenseful and will keep you on the edge of you seat. — Amy White & Al Petteway/Getty Images

Think Agatha Christie's beloved spinster, Miss Marple.

Though cozies have been around in England since the early 1900s, modern cozies are creatively pushing the boundaries of the genre; you might even find — gasp! — a few curse words. Today's cozies tend to revolve around a popular theme or hobby. Among them are felines (cats help their retired owner solve mysteries in Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series), crafts (Maggie Sefton offers patterns that her sleuth knitter and her knitting group use), food and drink (Diane Mott Davidson includes recipes in her food-based series and Cleo Coyle sets her mysteries around a landmark coffee shop in Greenwich Village) and challenges (Parnell Hall makes her sleuth, aka The Puzzle Lady, and the reader solve crosswords, sudokus and KenKens in order to solve the crime).

A sleuth's profession or station in life may also provide a clever hook. Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe is Botswana's first and only female investigator; her work at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency illuminates human frailty as much as solves mysteries. The sleuth in Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series must communicate with her well-to-do niece to nab killers, since she, herself, is actually dead.

If you haven't picked up a good cozy since Christie's The Mirror Crack'd, consider these just-published page-turners for the chilly season:

Next: Inspector Gamache and other "cozy" characters you'll love. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Video Extra

If you love mysteries, then you know the name Mary Higgins Clark. She and daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, have written several mysteries together. The literary duo reflect on their writing careers.

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

AARP Bookstore

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save up to 20% on live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Movies Unlimited

Members save 10% on purchases of DVDs & Blu-ray discs from Movies Unlimited.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.