Saturday, April 8, 2017

Cozy Mystery Week ~ Cynthia Hickey on The Love Of A Mystery

I've brought in some of the best cozy authors out there to share their secrets and their insights about the booming genre of Cozy Mysteries.

by Cynthia Hickey

Since I opened my first Nancy Drew mystery at the age of nine, I’ve been hooked. What is more fun than trying to figure out a clever crime along with a beloved character? Writing a mystery runs a very close second.

The challenge of laying subtle clues, depositing red herrings like bread crumbs in a forest, provides as much fun for a mystery author as it does for the reader. The challenge comes when the author is successful at keeping the culprit’s identity a secret at the very end, yet leaving the reader satisfied that they weren’t cheated when they think back and realize how the clues led them down a cleverly placed trail. Then, the reader closes the book, smiles, and feels satisfied.

Add a quirky character the reader can relate to, and you’ve got a successful cozy mystery. Not an easy task for the writer. Most mystery authors are not seat-of-the-pants writers. Instead, writing a cozy mystery involves days, if not weeks, of planning and note-taking. A lot of hard work and a lot of fun. Especially when the reader leaves positive feedback.

The items needed for a good mystery are:

*A quirky character
*Well-placed red herrings
*A supportive cast of secondary characters
*Humorous happenings
*A clever crook
*A satisfying ending

In my Summer Meadows mysteries, the main character Summer Meadows doesn’t start out with the intentions to take up sleuthing, but when she finds diamonds, a rusty can full of cash, and a bloody gardening glove, what’s a girl to do?

In my latest mystery series, Stormi Nelson is a reclusive author who is told by her agent to get out more. Her first night out as president of the local Neighborhood Watch program results in a murder and a mystery that changes her life.

Please check out the first book in my brand new series, Beware the Orchids, book one in the Shady Acres mysteries.

Ditched at the altar, Shelby Hart tosses down her bouquet, quits her job, and accepts a position as gardener and event coordinator at an upscale retirement community. Her first day on the job results with a dead body in the greenhouse under the orchids and with her as the prime suspect!

Toss in a handsome handyman, quirky characters, and a flirtatious grandma and the fun never stops.


Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. 

Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She had several historical romances release through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold close to a million copies of her works since 2013. 

She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. She is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. 

She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”.

Find Cynthia:


  1. Hi Cynthia, Thanks for sharing your six items for a Cozy. It's so true—I love it when a book leaves me with a smile on myself and a happy feeling.

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    1. Hi Cynthia, I think laying subtle, key word, subtle is the hardest thing to do. Usually I see smack-you-in-the-face clues, or Deus Ex Machina type clues.

      Thank you for being with us today. Wow, our final guest. I'm sorry to see the week end.


    2. It was a fun week :) Thank you for stopping by

  3. Hi Cynthia. The first mysteries I read were Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I've always loved a good mystery. That's a good list for a writer to remember when writing a mystery. this has been a fun week! Thanks for having us L.A.!

    1. Loved Nancy Drew. Read every book!

    2. Me, too! Maybe that was the precursor for some of us.

  4. Cynthia, I love your post - and your list of cozy elements. Each of your series sounds fantastic - more to buy and read for me!

    Thanks for rounding out the week. Lois was the only author I kinda, sorta knew, so it's been a pleasure to "meet" all of you and learn about your books!


  5. Hey Cynthia,
    How much love story/romance do you think should be in a cozy? Does that affect your reading/enjoyment?

    1. I do have a romance in my series, but it carries through the whole series. I think a cozy should focus more on the mystery with romance sprinkled in like sugar :)

  6. Cynthia, thanks for the info on what makes a cozy. The point you make about leaving your reader content and satisfied when done with the read is not only a service to them, it leads to a following. It seems that's why a series is so successful. Excited to read your new release. Cheers

  7. LA, what a fun week. This blog has been so successful. Thanks to all the authors making the daily check onto the site so worthwhile. LA, you've done a bang up job. Cheers

    1. Thanks, Marilyn. It truly was fun. A huge job, I won't lie, but I loved every minute of it.