This series perfectly embodies the current definition of a cozy. Which is, a female amateur sleuth that casually overhears vital clues, has some sort of hobby/career that takes a lot of her focus, and is fairly likable. The story is fast paced and puts an emphasis on plot and character development. Every cozy I’ve read from Jenn McKinlay is like this and I really enjoy them, though, I prefer the Library Lover’s Mystery series.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned from the series so far:
First, hobbies or an interesting/crafty career are pretty big in cozies. I’d noticed this before but I started doing more research and Amazon has cozies divided up into three categories: Animals, Crafts & Hobbies, and Culinary. This series hits two of those. I’ve yet to read an animal driven cozy, but that’s probably because the idea seems kind of weird to me. I’ve seen a few and read the blurbs, but an animal as a main character in a non-fantasy book is just not my cup of tea.
Second, once again characters are really key. This series has a nice supporting cast, though not as well fleshed out as the In Death series; it’s more than likely only because she’s about thirty books behind J.D. Robb. They’re quirky and even have their own love triangle.
Third, a nemesis might be a good idea. Throughout the series Mel has feuded with another rival cupcake bakery owner to the point where we’ve reached the ridiculous. The other owner is over the top crazy competitive and Mel doesn’t always react in the best way. Maybe I should have a nemesis that doesn’t have anything to do with the murder but pushes my character’s buttons? It’s an interesting idea and it lightens the whole somebody was killed mood.
I haven’t read this entire series, but I definitely plan on it. For now I’m going to move on to broaden my experience with the genre.