Amateur Detectives and Cozies

Meeting: Thursday, Dec 8, 2011, 10am

An amateur detective is not a professional (policeman, forensic scientist, private detective, lawyer, etc.). They tend to stumble upon their mysteries, but have a tendency to be the one who finds the body. A cozy mystery is a more gentle mystery, where the murder usually takes place off-stage, and there is little or no sex or violence. Murder She Wrote with Jessica Fletcher is an example of a cozy mystery with an amateur detective. Novelist defines it as, “Cozy mysteries are the ‘gentle reads’ of the mystery genre, containing very little explicit sex or violence. Originally British, with a village setting, and featuring unlikely detectives, the genre has since expanded. They are now set just about anywhere and in any time period.”

Our benchmark book for this subgenre is Agatha Christie’s The Murder at the Vicarage, the first in the Miss Marple series. You will also need to read a second book in the amateur detective and/or cozy genre. Some resources to find a amateur detective/cozy mystery include:

Forbes Library Cozy Mysteries

Novelist – Getting Cozy
Cozy Mysteries-Crafts and Hobbies
Cozy Mysteries-Food and Drink
If You Like Amateur Sleuths – Female (Hennepin County Library, MN)
Amateur Detectives (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh)

There are many more lists of amateur sleuths and cozies — let me know if you want help finding something to read.

If we all read different books for our 2nd titles, we will learn about more books. When you have chosen which book you would like to read, please name it in a comment on this post, so we can avoid overlap.



18 Responses to Amateur Detectives and Cozies

  1. Molly M. says:

    My 2nd book will be Agatha Raisin and the quiche of death by M.C. Beaton

  2. Susana V. says:

    I have requested On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle as my second book. Found it in Food and Drink cozies and it looks interesting.

  3. Jason M. says:

    My 2nd book will be “The Thin Man” by Dashiell Hammett. I’m a big fan of the film series, but have never read the book. Exciting!!!

  4. Susan S. says:

    FYI. My second book will be Rhys Bowen’s “Her Royal Spyness”.

  5. Faith K. says:

    I’m reading Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr.

  6. Benjamin K. says:

    My second book will be Murder With Puffins by Donna Andrews.

  7. Paula E says:

    My second book will be Murder runs in the Family by Anne George

  8. Janet Moulding says:

    My second book is Dead Man’s Island by Carolyn Hart. I chose it because the heroine, Henrie O, was called the American Miss Marple. Other than the fact that the detective was a woman and an amateur, I saw little resemblance. Henrie O didn’t solve the mystery using her intellect and perception, she “flushed out” the murderer by most unMarple like means involving physical exertion, guns, and rather violent action. The plot was only so-so and the characters not very interesting.

  9. Lisa says:

    I’m going to read either One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly (a cozy by a local author with a local setting) or The Body In the Bouillon by Katherine Hall Page (early book in the Faith Fairchild mystery series). I’ll let you know how it goes.

  10. Daniele says:

    For my second book I will be reading “The cat who could read backwards” by Lilian Jackson Braun

  11. Erica says:

    My second book is “Absolution by Murder” by Peter Tremayne.

  12. Steven S says:

    Her Forbidden Knight, by Rex Stout. It’s a Nero Wolf mystery. He’s an obese fella what never leaves his house, and solves crimes nevertheless. Ha! Pretty cozy.

  13. Tex says:

    The “Mobile Library Mysteries” by Ian Sansom

  14. Julie says:

    I am reading Killer Pancake by Diane Mott Davidson–culinary mystery series with a chef married to a cop.

  15. Andy Grant says:

    I thought I’d read Eye Sleuth and Eye Wit, the first two installations in a series about the adventures of Dr. Yoko Kamimura, the world’s first crime-solving behavioral optometrist by Hazel Dawkins, a local self-published mystery writer (

  16. Dylan says:

    My selection is Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers

  17. Faith K says:

    Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr
    (Amateur detective)
    Park Ranger Anna Pigeon is suspicious about the “accidental” death of another ranger in her area. National Park Service hierarchy denies there is anything wrong, and Anna follows her instincts into dangerous situations and eventually uncovers the plot that killed her colleague. There’s a lot of detail about the geography of the Southwest and outdoor life.

  18. Lisa says:

    One Bad Apple by Sheila Connelly
    Set locally, this book centers around a high powered banker from Boston who relocates to a rural community to renovate an old farmhouse with hopes of selling quick at a profit. In the process a dead body is found on her property and it turns out to be her old boyfriend and she is a prime suspect. Land use issues, small town politics and lots of talk about apples make this an appealing read.

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