Look in the bookstore. Check out the mystery department. You’ll see them: the cozies. Murder encased in pastel colors and punny titles.
Since I don’t know much about cozies and didn’t want to spend money on something that I wasn’t sure I’d like to keep, I hit the library and picked out three cozy mysteries that caught my eye, and my punny bone:
1. Scrub-a-Dub Dead: A Charlotte La Rue Mystery by Barbara Colley–part of a series of cozy mystery novels about a woman who runs a maid service in New Orleans. So, cleaning = scrub-a-dub. (Other titles in this series: Maid for Murder, Death Tidies Up, Polished Off, etc.)
2. Murder Most Frothy: A Coffeehouse Mystery by Cleo Coyle–this series is about a barista from New York, the books include coffee recipes and tips. (Other titles included in this series: On What Grounds, Through the Grinder, Latte Trouble, etc.)
3. Santa Clawed: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown–probably the ulitmate example of coziness, this series is from the POV of the cat. You know Rita Mae Brown and her cat, so I don’t feel the need to list all of those titles here. This one caught my fancy because it’s also timely. Hello Christmas!
The success of a cozy mystery series, I would presume from the marketing evident in this sampling, is that a writer must have an original take on some kind of job (maid, barista, pet-owner), and that the title should play off of that occupation. Of course, the writer probably shouldn’t spend a whole lot of time worrying over the title. This genre, almost more than any other to me, seems to hinge on marketing–and we all know the publisher’s marketing department will have a lot more to say about the title in this case anyway.
But it also struck me that this would be a fun game too!
So feel free to come up with your own punny titles for the following occupations that could be in a cozy mystery:
1. a musician
2. a miner
3. a zoologist
4. a history teacher/professor
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.