Reading the Cozy Mystery: Critical Essays on an Underappreciated Subgenre (Paperback)
With their intimate settings, subdued action and likeable characters, cozy mysteries are rarely seen as anything more than light entertainment. The cozy, a subgenre of crime fiction, has been historically misunderstood and often overlooked as the subject of serious study. This anthology brings together a groundbreaking collection of essays that examine the cozy mystery from a range of critical viewpoints. The authors engage with the standard classification of a cozy, the characters who appear in its pages, the environment where the crime occurs and how these elements reveal the cozy story's complexity in surprising ways. Essays analyze cozy mysteries to argue that Agatha Christie is actually not a cozy writer; that Columbo fits the mold of the cozy detective; and that the stories' portrayals of settings like the quaint English village reveal a more complicated society than meets the eye.
Phyllis M. Betz is an associate professor of English at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has written four books examining genre fiction written by lesbians. She lives in Burlington, New Jersey.