Blog by Karen Shughart, Author, Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery
What is it About Cozies?
Merriam Webster’s definition of the word “cozy”:
Enjoying or affording warmth and ease; marked by or providing contentment or comfort; marked by the intimacy of the family or a close group.
When I decided to write my first mystery, Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery, there was no question that it would be a Cozy. I had no idea what the market was for this type of book even though my own reading preferences lean heavily to the genre, and then I learned how large the market is. There are bloggers, private and public Facebook groups, book groups that support Cozy authors and books, and of course thousands and thousands of readers.
So, what is it about Cozies that people like? I can’t speak for everyone, but here’s my observation: Many of us like Cozies because they transport us to a gentler and more peaceful world where the characters are polite, courtesy and civility reign, there are no explicit adult scenes, violence or gratuitous language, and the sleuth always solves the crime. And there’s typically a diverse and close-knit community of quirky and interesting characters who get together for meals, and for family and community gatherings.
Many of us Cozy fans either grew up when life was a bit more orderly or, if we didn’t, we long for a time that is. We are overwhelmed by the constant stream of news about a violent and unstable world where something disastrous occurs every day. Cozies help us escape from the realities of the world and transport us to a time and place where certainly there’s good and evil, but good always prevails.
I’ve heard that Cozies are a women’s genre, that many men aren’t interested in them because they don’t feature macho sleuths who frequently sacrifice personal relationships to get the job done. In contrast, comfortable, companionable relationships abound in Cozies. What I’ve learned is that many men do like Cozies, once they are introduced to the genre. My husband, brothers, male relatives and even friends who work in the field of criminal justice as sheriffs, commanders, and deputies read Cozies, but what they expect is a plot that makes sense, well-developed characters, and a somewhat realistic investigation. Don’t we all?
I’ve been struck by something else. Since writing the novel I’ve met many avid Cozy readers in person and online. Despite the size of this group, it’s a close-knit community of unfailing kind women and men who not only enjoy reading the genre but seem to live their own lives treating others as they would like to be treated.
A new online friend, a Cozy lover and blogger, recently was the victim of an astonishingly cruel incident of unprovoked verbal abuse at a local shopping center. This lovely and beautiful woman posted about her experience to her community of Cozy readers and within seconds received messages of support, encouragement and love that continued for several days. While haunted and sickened by what my friend had been subjected to, I was incredibly grateful for the kind messages she received from the Cozy community, which hopefully helped her recover from the disturbing and hateful attack. I’m getting the picture that Cozy readers are cozy people, by and large.
So, what is it about Cozies that draw me and so many others to the genre? Just about everything- good writing, intriguing plot, great characters, for sure- but also because Cozies expose us to a world that many of us prefer and appreciate, a world where people are kind, good prevails, and we’re not constantly assaulted with one disaster after another. Escapism? Maybe. But what’s so bad about that?
Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery
by Karen Shughart
About the Book
Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery
1st in Series
Cozy Cat Press (February 13, 2018)
Paperback: 266 pages
Digital ASIN: B07CF74JHQ
Early one gray November morning, retired Lighthouse Cove, NY police chief, Edmund DeCleryk, finds Emily Bradford’s body on the beach at the base of the bluff where the local museum and historical society stands. At the same time, a break-in has been reported at the museum, and Emily’s coat and purse are found hanging on a peg in the museum’s gift shop where she worked. Was her death the result of a burglary gone bad or something more sinister?
When the police chief is called out of town for a family emergency, he hires Ed, now working as a criminal consultant, to assist deputy police chief, Carrie Ramos, with the murder investigation. After several leads don’t pan out, the chief, now back in Lighthouse Cove, decides to close the case. Confident that with more time the murder can be solved, Ed is determined to continue investigating on his own, with encouragement from his wife, Annie the museum’s executive director.
One morning while in the basement of the museum, the couple discovers a copy of a map dated 1785, and Ed’s instincts tell him it may be connected to Emily’s death. On a hunch, he and Annie travel to Toronto, Canada, where he learns of the original map and a manuscript written in 1847 that were unearthed during an archaeological dig. The manuscript contains information about a ship that capsized during a fierce storm on Lake Ontario — in 1785. Now Ed has clues as to why the murder occurred, but he still doesn’t know who committed the crime. Or does he?
About the Author
Karen Shughart received a B.A. in Comprehensive Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and completed graduate courses in English at Shippensburg University.
She is the author of two non-fiction books and has worked as an editor, publicist, photographer, journalist, teacher and non-profit executive. A Murder in the Museum: An Edmund DeCleryk Mystery is her first work of fiction.
Before moving to a small village on the shores of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, she and her husband resided in south central Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, PA. For more information, visit her website: www.karenshughart.com.
Hometown Reads/Rochester Reads: https://hometownreads.com/books/murder-in-the-museum
Purchase Link – Amazon
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