Amateur Sleuths

The main character and crime-solver in cozy mysteries is usually a woman who is an amateur sleuth. Her life’s experiences have provided her with certain skills that she will utilize in order to solve crimes.

These characters are typically well educated, intuitive, and hold jobs that bring them into constant contact with other residents of their community (i.e., caterer, innkeeper, librarian, teacher, dog trainer, shop owner, reporter). They also typically have a contact on the police force who can give them access to important information about the case at hand, but the contact is typically a spouse, friend, or family member rather than a former colleague.

Dismissed by the authorities in general as nosy busybodies, particularly if they are middle-aged or elderly women, the sleuths in cozy mysteries are thus left free to eavesdrop, gather clues, and use their native intelligence and intuitive “feel” for the social dynamics of the community to solve the crime.

The main characters should be likeable, flawed, or quirky in a way that inspires affection for them. The supporting cast should be entertaining and memorable. The supporting cast are often very broadly drawn and used as comic relief.

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