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Posted By Susan Bernhardt
Cozy mysteries, often called cozies, are a subgenre of crime 
fiction. Most people have already read cozy mysteries or watched 
them on television and don't even realize it. Agatha Christie 
mysteries are probably the most well known cozies. Others cozy 
authors and television shows include:, Alexander McCall Smith, 
M.C. Beaton, Brother Cadfael – a medieval cozy, Rosemary and 
Thyme, Murder, She Wrote, to name a few. 

The detectives in cozies are amateurs, usually well-educated, 
well-liked, intuitive women, often holding jobs. In my book, The 
Ginseng Conspiracy, the protagonist, Kay Driscoll is a retired 
public health nurse, who volunteers at her local free clinic. She 
has recently moved to the insular town of Sudbury Falls in 
Northern Wisconsin. The characters, their relationships, and the 
setting are as important as plot, in a cozy mystery. The 
protagonist keeps in constant contact with the residents of 
usually a small, intimate community. In The Ginseng Conspiracy, 
Sudbury Falls is located in an area, where 95% of American ginseng 
is grown in the United States. True Fact.

Cozies are intended to entertain the reader and be "light-
hearted". The secondary characters are often used for comic 
relief. In my novel, the free-spirited herbalist, Deirdre and the 
untamed modern woman, Elizabeth discuss clues over tea and 
pastries at Sweet Marissa's Patisserie. They add much to the 
character of the book. Food often plays a part in cozies.

The Ginseng Conspiracy, a more complex cozy, is a fresh approach 
to the subgenre. It combines descriptions of culinary delight with 
art, music, and a flair for solving mysteries. Murders in cozies 
are non-graphic; they shy away from violence, suspense, and take 
place off stage. Multiple murders occur in The Ginseng Conspiracy, 
and all are suspenseful. 

The murderers in cozies are generally members of the community, 
highly articulate, and are able to hide in plain sight. In The 
Ginseng Conspiracy, some of the more prominent members of society 
are involved in the murders.

Next blog, the role, a small town plays in a cozy. Small 
communities hide some wickedly entertaining secrets.


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Susan Bernhardt


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