Murder, But Gentler: ‘Cozy’ Mysteries A Pandemic-Era Balm

Kelly Vaiman poses for a photo in her living room where she sometimes likes to sit and read, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Boynton Beach, Fla. Vaiman is an avid cozy mystery reader. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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.


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