On a much happier note . . .

I’ve fallen for a mystery genre known as “cozy mysteries.” Think Hallmark mystery movies without the lite music score.

In case you are not up to speed, from Wikipedia: “Cozies (as they are also known) are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. Cozies thus stand in contrast to hardboiled fiction, which features violence and sexuality more explicitly and centrally to the plot.”

There are hundreds if not thousands of cozy mysteries by myriad authors.

It started for me with a search on google books for an audiobook. I had never actually listened to one before. I thought I would give my eyes a break, considering I read and edit for a living as well as read a fair bit in my spare time. I was looking for a freebie and sampled a few books. I quickly learned that the quality of the narration is just as important as the quality of the book, and that some narrators just turned me off.

But I found a wonderful British narrator going by the name of Mary Sarah for the first book in a series by Fiona Grace called the Lacey Doyle Cozy Mysteries. I downloaded the audiobook (free) — Murder in the Manor — and listened to it over a few days. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if there was a minor plot hole or two. Unfortunately, Mary is not the narrator for the second book in the series, and the new narrator just wasn’t a good fit for me. So I went with the ebook edition — and paid about $2 for it after activating a $3 discount coupon.

I will probably purchase the whole Lacey Doyle ebook series (about $5 each before discounts) and slip off into the fictional town of Wilfordshire in England from time to time this winter. I’m enjoying the character developments; it feels like I’ve welcomed some new friends into my life. Which is how cozy mysteries are supposed to make you feel, of course. They make me smile — and that feels good right about now.

Cozy mysteries are a nice antidote to the stress of these pandemic times for me and, no doubt, many others.

How about you? Have you been cozying up with any good mystery novels?

— Jillian

P.S. Fiona Grace has written, and is still writing, five different series of cozy mysteries. The Lacey Doyle series is her first. For more info, click here.