The “cozy mystery,” a gentler form of murder fiction, is helping some readers get through a dizzying period of pandemic and polarization. Readers who are consuming this particular style of novel say a gently told tale of murder and mayhem whittles the sharp edges of reality to a manageable, smooth surface. The style’s parameters are few: no swearing, no sex, and little to no gore. Just what the pandemic-era doctor ordered. As one writer of such mysteries puts it, there’s a lot of appeal right now in escaping into a world where justice prevails, and having a safety net along the way.