Cozies rely strongly on the character of the detective–an outsider, an observer who can decipher the small world in which the mysteries and murders take place.
Each detective has many faces.
Each detective has an idiosyncratic quirk, hobby or outside interest. Cozy fans will identify their favorites from their hobbies. Knitting, baking. gardening, managing shops, cafes, restaurants, writing, painting–the list is endless.
When asked why Commander Adam Dalgleish was a poet, author PD James replied, “Because I like poetry.” But the police detective is such a well-rounded character that to his readers, he is now probably more real than the author herself.
Cozy mysteries are solved, however, not by police but by amateurs who have the time, the mobility, and the pressing necessity to involve themselves.
They must have an occupation that leaves them free to take off at odd times to follow clues. It must also give them a reason to be quizzing possible witnesses and suspects.
They must have ways of getting from A to B if needed.
They must have a real need to save themselves or someone/something important to them from being threatened.
The cozy world is awash with cupcakes and recipes, cute pets who do a bit of detecting themselves–you need real suspension of disbelief here–and artists and theatricals working everywhere from summer stock to the end of a British pier.
The detective, too, has as highly developed a dramatic sense as any actor. The traditional cozy ends with a grand finale in which all characters–unless dead–are assembled and the detective
accuses, then exonerates them one by one until ta-da the murderer is finally revealed.