Cozy Mysteries – The Good, The Bad, and the “Too-Stupid-to-Live” Protagonist

Cozy mysteries are a beloved genre by many, myself included. The charm of a small town, quirky characters, and a murder to solve – what’s not to love? But there are some tropes in cozy mysteries that are universally disliked by readers. Let’s take a look at some of the most hated tropes in cozy mysteries and why they can be frustrating.

First on the list is the “too-stupid-to-live” protagonist. You know the type – the amateur sleuth who makes irrational decisions or puts themselves in danger without a second thought. As a reader, it can be incredibly frustrating to watch a protagonist make one bad decision after another, especially when the danger is obvious. It’s okay to have a flawed protagonist, but when they consistently make the same mistakes, it can detract from the mystery and become tiresome.

Next up is the overused love triangle. While a romantic subplot can add depth to a cozy mystery, readers can find it contrived and unrealistic when the protagonist is torn between two love interests. It can take away from the main mystery plot and become a distraction. The same goes for the “instalove” subplot – when the protagonist falls in love with a character they barely know, it can be hard to believe and take away from the mystery.

One trope that some readers find hard to swallow is the “magical” pet. While pets are often beloved in cozy mysteries, when they possess magical abilities or solve mysteries themselves, it can be a step too far. It can take away from the realism of the story and make it hard for readers to suspend their disbelief.

Another trope that readers dislike is the “know-it-all” amateur detective. When the protagonist seems to have all the answers without any real investigation or explanation, it can be frustrating. It’s important to show the amateur sleuth doing the work and following the clues, rather than just stumbling upon the solution.

The “villain monologue” is another trope that can be a turn-off for readers. When the villain explains their entire plan or motive to the protagonist, it can seem unrealistic and detract from the suspense of the story. It’s important to find a balance between revealing enough information to solve the mystery, without giving away too much.

The “clueless” police is another trope that can be frustrating for readers. When the police are portrayed as bumbling or clueless, it can be hard to believe that they would be able to solve any crime. It’s important to portray the police realistically, as competent professionals who are also invested in solving the case.

The “perfect” protagonist is another trope that can be hard for readers to relate to. When the protagonist is too perfect or has no flaws, it can be difficult to invest in their character arc. Flawed characters are often more interesting and relatable.

A predictable plot can be a real disappointment for readers. When the mystery is too easy to solve or the plot is too predictable, readers can become bored and lose interest in the story. It’s important to keep readers guessing and engaged throughout the book.

Finally, the “copycat” storyline can be a real letdown for readers. When the same mystery plot is used repeatedly in different books, readers can become bored and feel like they’re reading the same story over and over again. It’s important to find fresh and unique storylines to keep readers engaged.

In conclusion, cozy mysteries can be a wonderful escape for readers, but there are some tropes that can be frustrating and detract from the reading experience. The “too-stupid-to-live” protagonist, overused love triangle, “magical” pet, “know-it-all” amateur detective, “villain monologue,” “clueless” police, “perfect” protagonist, predictable plot, and “copycat” storyline are all tropes that readers generally dislike. However, when done well, these tropes can add depth and charm to a cozy mystery. As with any genre, it’s all about finding the right balance and creating a story that keeps readers engaged and invested until the very end. Happy reading!


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