The fictional sleuths who solve crime are more fun when there’s an element of surprise about who they really are. What better surprise for a reader than to find out that the savvy sleuth in your new book is “not of this earthly realm?” A witch, a vampire, a ghost, or ghostly animal; all have had their time solving crime, while being true to who they really are.
A new series, Ghost Cat by Jessica Beck—New York Times Bestselling Author of the Donut Shop Mysteries and the Classic Diner Mysteries—features a ghostly feline named Midnight who helps his earthly owner solve murder mysteries. The first book was such a success that a second one quickly followed and a third is in the works. Paranormal cozy mystery books are written as a series because readers become emotionally involved and connected with the recurring characters. The reader is, in essence, revisiting a familiar place when reading each new book in the series. It’s not uncommon for fans of these mysteries to pre-order the next book before it is available for sale.
See also: Cozy Bookshelf Shopping List: May 2016
Witches are a popular theme in paranormal cozies. USA Today top-selling author Madison Johns created the popular Petunia Patterson series. Not only does she supply her readers with a spell-casting but friendly witch, she also gives them Petunia’s cat, Pansy, who didn’t start out life as a cat at all. The sweet cat was originally a man to whom Petunia gave a love potion. The effects of that hastily brewed potion, instead of doing the job it was intended to do, transformed him into a crime-solving cat that she keeps out of the goodness of her witchy heart.
There are some vampire sleuths, such as the Vampires of Transylvania Texas series by Piper Alexander, who seem to be creating their own reading cult. The mystery is there, and the heroines’ paranormal abilities add zest to the whodunits in their undead lives. Who better to find the killer than someone who is a bit strange, a bit psychic, and pretty powerful?
Those of us who read paranormal cozy mysteries know that in reading them, our own reality fades away and we become part of this paranormal world. Paranormal mysteries, with witches, vampires, ghosts, telepathic animals, and other-worldly “people,” bring a form of magic to our lives.
Though the characters in these books are not like anyone you know (unless you really do know a witch, ghost, or vampire in your own life), they’re relatable; you become invested in their lives, where they live, relationships, friends, and how they pay their bills. Another plus is that there are humorous secondary characters that help round out the stories with their own misadventures.
Everyone seems to love a mystery, and mystery novels featuring the paranormal have found their niche in the reading world. The books listed in this article are ones that readers have told me they find enjoyable and fun. There are so many more listed in any book venue online or in the traditional brick and mortar stores. All you have to do is look.
By the way, those brick and mortar bookstores? Very popular with the ghosts and witches who inhabit the pages of the cozy paranormal mystery book. You never know who you’ll find prowling the aisles. Enjoy the adventure!
Kristen Houghton is the author of nine top-selling novels, including the best-selling new series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation. She is hard at work on book 3 in the series.
She is also the author of two non-fiction books. Her short stories appear in many anthologies. Kristen is a former linguistics teacher.
Just started reading cozies and am surprised at how good they are. Some of the newer ones do include some gore and sex but as you wrote are milder than regular mysteries. The older cozies I felt were more geared to my 80 yr. iold grandm other. The newer ones/ So m uch better.
Some of the cozies I looked at were very old-ladyish, yes; I found a few series with strong “Christian” overtones also. Not my cup of tea, either, but I agree that there are more modern series out there. Adults enjoy normal intimacy and people use a bad word now and then. The sex tends to be offscreen and any violence is minor, but at least the books are geared toward adults. Paranormal stories are fun, and I’m a dog lover, so a canine is always a bonus.
Thank you for your comments, Kristen and Lacey. I have to admit I was skeptical of cozies myself until I read Carole Nelson Douglas. Her Midnight Louie series, about a cat who helps solve mysteries, is superb reading!
I love the idea of feeling like I am a part of a paranormal world. That would help me feel better about my college dorm for sure. I’ll look into some o these paranormal cosy mystery books and see which ones I like.