Can you raise your hand if you love a good cozy mystery? I’m a part of several cozy mystery book clubs and book clubs both in person and on Facebook. It’s so fun to read alongside fellow cozy mystery enthusiasts as we discuss the standards of a good crime story or an unexpected plot twist that we didn’t see coming from the main character. Often our bookish discussions get repetitive though, so we are always on the lookout for great book discussion points. Here is a discussion guide of the most asked questions we’ve come across when reading in the cozy mystery genre that will hopefully help your cozy mystery book club have a lively discussion:
Questions About the Characters from Cozy mystery books:
- How does the cast of characters further the storyline?
- Was there anything they did that stuck out to you?
- Which personalities did you like or not like?
- Is there a main character we like? Why do we like them?
- Were the Characters well-developed?
- Did you enjoy their characteristics? Was there something that annoyed you about them?
- Did they have dimensions or were they flat?
- How did you like the main character’s best friend/sidekick?
- Did they have a good dynamic?
- Were they believable friends?
- Were these characters amateur detectives, real detectives, or is there another way you would categorize them?
- Did the characters live in a fictional town? Or did the author base it on a real place?
- Were there any romantic subplots between the characters?
- What were the characters’ professions?
- Do any of you hold those jobs?
- If not, would you want to do those jobs?
- If so, were their job descriptions accurate?
- Was there a small business involved?
- What was the first step that led the main character/characters down the right path of solving the mystery?
- Was it realistic? Or a bit of a stretch?
- How did they put it all together? Was it gradual or did they have an ah-ha moment?
- How did you relate to the characters in this book? Were their emotions easy to follow?
- Were they realistic or far out and unbelievable?
- Were any of the characters what you would consider quirky characters? i.e., there for comedic relief?
- Do the characters remind you of anyone you know in real life?
When we think of what makes a great book there are two things that quickly come to mind: The Plot and The Characters. Without these good starting blocks, you won’t have a very good story. That’s why our questions often refer back to these main topics. As they cause us to reflect on what went right with the story.
Cozy Mystery Story-specific questions:
- Did we enjoy the red herrings (false clues) in this story? Was there something we thought could have been done differently?
- What loose ends did you notice in this story? Do you think the author did it on purpose as a lead-in for the next book in the series? Or was it left up to our imagination and interpretation?
- What were the major plot points in this story? How did they add to our overall experience?
- Did the opening lines capture your interest, or did it take a bit for you to get involved with the storyline?
- Did this story have a good ending in your opinion? Why or why not? What could have been done better for the book’s ending?
- Does anyone notice similarities between this book and another?
- What books?
- What makes them similar? Is it the characters? The plot? A place that is mentioned?
- How do you think the author got inspired to write this storyline?
- Did this storyline make you relaxed or did it make you ask questions?
- At any point did you guess what would happen before the author revealed it?
- What plot twists and turns did you enjoy in this story?
- Were they needed?
- Were they confusing?
- Did you suspect that was going to happen?
- Was there a specific passage, chapter, or page that stuck with you?
- Do you think the author did a good job explaining the mystery without telling you everything?
- How many books do you think will be in this series?
Often everyone’s most memorable thing from a book is something that happened in the story; it’s what they go on to remember long after the characters’ names have faded from memory. They remember some interesting twist a book took or an exotic place the author described.
Questions about the sub-genre of cozy mysteries:
- What is the difference between a Cozy mystery and a Suspense Thriller?
- What makes them unique? List the different attributes of them.
- Do you think the covers help distinguish cozy mysteries from other mystery genres?
- Do you like amateur detective stories?
- How do you define amateur detectives? is it the same as an amateur sleuth?
- Is there any book/author that immediately comes to mind when you hear amateur detective?
- Have you ever read a coffee shop mystery?
- If so, what are your favorites?
- What made you enjoy them?
- Have you read a crime fiction cozy mystery?
- Have you noticed the trend of law enforcement in cozy mysteries?
- Do you think violent crimes belong in cozy mysteries?
- What are some tenants of a classic cozy mystery novel?
- Is there anything you can think of that should never be in a cozy mystery?
- What is one thing you think MUST be in a book before it qualifies as a cozy mystery?
- What is your favorite cozy mystery Sub-genre and why is it your favorite?
- How many cozy mystery sub-genres can you name?
- Have you ever read a cozy mystery with a one-dimensional character?
- How many cozy mysteries do you think are based on unsolved crimes?
- Has anyone read an Agatha Christie mystery?
- If so, which one is their favorite?
Overall, cozy mysteries can lead to so many conversations. Each sub-genre is a plethora of knowledge, and they bring people together in ways many other genres can’t. They touch on real life, with deep topics, usually a murder mystery, however, they are usually laced with a sense of humor that makes you feel invested in the characters’ lives. Mystery writers do have quite the challenge though of keeping us on our toes!
If you are in a book group and know of some discussion questions we should add to this list let us know! We always like adding to our list. Or you can check out our thriller book club discussion questions from JC Gatlin! If you are looking for more general book discussion questions I recommend checking out Book Riot.