The Great Book Sort, Part 7: Cozy Crime

May 13, 2023 at 6:41 pm (Uncategorized)

Several years ago I realised I could actually sort the 700+ books on my kindle app.

That glorious multi-year quest is now complete.

pause for cheering

This is one last post along the way, and then I’ll post a super mega awesome post with short reviews of ALL of the “Favourites” list.

“Cozy Crime” is a bit of an oxymoron, except of course it isn’t—it is comforting and satisfying to read a truly gentle crime story with no gore or fatal on-screen violence. But it was cozy crime that brought me great pain due to that merciless real-life villain… Graham Norton.

That’s right folks. I have another arch-enemy (who doesn’t know I exist, and who is a real person so obviously don’t do anything BAD to them on my behalf okay? We all understand exaggeration, yes?)

That awful man promoted the book as utterly cozy, with nothing bad happened except the murder.

He lied. And I will never forgive him.


Pamela Hart (Pamela Freeman when she writes fantasy—which, incidentally, often involves sexual violence) has written the perfect cozy murder in “Digging up Dirt”. The only bad thing that happens is the murder, which happens to someone we don’t really care about.

There’s a gentle romance or two, and lots of fundamentally decent people. The main tension of the story is that the main character would really like to move into her house, but unfortunately it seems a murder was committed there. So she lives with her parents, who are imperfect but really very nice. There are some gentle discussions of religion that I, as a Christian, found very gentle indeed (most discussions of Christianity are not so gentle). It’s possible they could be triggering to someone with church-related trauma, but other than that the book is just a pleasant journey towards justice.

There’s another book with the same protagonist, and I can’t wait to read it.

Nope Nope Nope Nope Nope

Graham Norton wrote a book. It’s quite a good book, called “Holding”. I will never, ever read it again and I will warn off anyone who plans to read it.

It feels cozy, and is mostly very gentle and sweet (maybe a teensy bit fatphobic, if I remember correctly). Then there’s a detailed scene of a child getting raped.

So no, I won’t be rereading that one.

Here’s a weird one: Cozy Horror

The whole POINT of horror is to scare and disgust the audience. I almost never read horror (although I admire it from a safe distance) because I’m way too emotionally sensitive.

And then “Lockwood and Co” appeared on TV, and it’s SO FUNNY. And in the credits who should appear but Jonathan Stroud, an author who I’ve admired for years (oddly enough for his relatively-obscure “Heroes of the Valley” rather than his Bartimaeus series). So the TV series is based on the book series, that I am now devouring (currently on book 4 of 5 or 6).

And yeah, it’s horror. The very premise is awful: ghosts are rising all over the world, and since only (some) children can see them, it’s up to children to face them and restrain them. Youch.

So we have three teens as the main characters, working together in the world’s most terrifying yet necessary job, and nearly dying in utter terror a LOT. But it’s not truuuly horror… it’s a mystery. Why are the ghosts so dangerous at this moment in history when they didn’t kill people in the past? What kind of ghost are we dealing with today, and how do we stop it? What’s the deal with [spoilers]? Etc. So although it’s technically horror the feeling I get is extremely similar to the feeling I get when reading cozy crime. Except with more funny lines and situations eg the very uncoordinated George being a force to reckon with in a battle because no one has any idea where the items he’s throwing will end up—so they can’t dodge.

And there’s magic, which always makes a book better.

Season 1 is on Netflix, and the books are in all the usual places. But be warned—the TV series loves its cliffhangers way too much. And if you have teenagers attracted to boys, they will definitely fall for the charismatic, kind, heroic, clever, and oh so damaged Anthony Lockwood.


1 Comment

  1. 300+ Books That I Love to Read Over and Over Again | Felicity Banks said,

    […] Wonderful cozy murder mystery with a touch of archeology. More details here. […]

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