Sometimes, when I am on vacation, I wonder if the idyllic small town we are passing through needs a full time librarian. Sadly, I know that any such jobs are probably already occupied - by the main character in a cozy mystery series.
These hard working women serve the public in historic lighthouses and Victorian mansions retrofitted to be public libraries, or aging stone buildings that have existed since the town’s founding. They are in their early thirties, and wish they were as attractive as the flighty but stunningly beautiful library assistant who is their only friend in town.
I could never match most of them for qualifications - they have all headed departments in top tier universities in the United States or sometimes even the Bodleian Library at Oxford. But job dissatisfaction, a fight with their mother or a bust up with their boyfriend (who you will find, in the course of the book, was actually always a bit of a jerk) has caused them to flee to the town where they used to vacation as a child. Possibly they have an aunt there.
They live in an apartment, or lake house, or beach house that is tiny but perfect.
They are exceedingly amiable and well liked by seventy five percent of the town residents. The other twenty five, they must restrain themselves from eviscerating with their witty tongue. One of these people may be threatening the library or their job. If so, this person will probably be dead in twenty pages.
When suspicion falls on them, their only allies may be the two gorgeous men competing for their affections and the library cat. Or dog. Or ghost. Fortunately, even with that limited help, they will be able to solve the mystery and clear their name.
Perhaps, I think, as we drive away, librarianship in an idyllic small town isn’t for me after all.
There's a reason why so many cozy mystery series exist - a reason why so many of them have been adapted into television. The formula is a contract between the reader and the author. "The murder may be grisly, but I promise to give you a quaint library in a charming setting to make up for it." You know that every time the plucky librarian and their adorable cat will pull through and solve the mystery. The similarities and formulas make these works comfortable. "Cozy." Like your favorite set of pajamas. That's why, when I want to relax, this is a genre I turn to again and again, and not just the ones set in libraries.
Check out one of these library cozies: