One of the pretty consistent staples of a cozy mystery is that the amateur sleuth also has a day job. By that, I mean their detective work is pretty much a hobby. It’s not even a side hustle, since they don’t get paid after they solve the mysteries. Which is a bit disheartening if you think about it. I mean, here they are, risking their lives and helping the lead detective out. They sometimes even do all the work for them and no one can cut them a check?
Sorry, I got sidetracked there.
Now for the most part, these jobs tend to be the same across a variety of series and authors. They’re either booksellers or librarians. They’re baristas or chefs. I would say the possibilities are endless but really, it’s a small job pool when one actually looks at cozies as a whole.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. As the saying goes if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it. But there is also something to be said whenever a book comes along where the amateur-and-not–getting-financially-compensated-for-it detective has a different 9 to 5 than what we’re used to. Hence the reason for this list!
Now, I will admit that some of these may seem like they’re splitting hairs, and that’s fair. However, there’s something specific about the job in each listed book that makes it still stand out.
Mayhem & Mass by Olivia Matthews
Sister Lou is expecting some feathers to be ruffled when she invites her friend Maurice Jordan to speak, as he is known to be very controversial in his views. What she didn’t expect was to find him dead in his hotel room. While the Sheriff focuses on congregation members as possible suspects, Sister Lou teams up with a local reporter to find out more about her friend to find out who could have ended his life prematurely.
The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams
When one of Nora’s potential clients for bibliotherapy is found dead on train tracks, she is shocked since he seemed to really be looking forward to her help. Together with the other members of the bookish Society, they work together to find out what really happened to this stranger to stop the killer before they strike again.
While Nora does own a bookstore, people come to her due to her being known as a bibliotherapist. Hence the reason it’s on this list.
Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon
Job: Classical Musician/Music Teacher
Stranded in Ireland, classical musician Gethsemane is left with little choice but to take the position of music teacher at a local school and caretaker of a local cottage. This cottage is also haunted by the ghost local composer Eamon, who was wrongly accused of murder and convinces Gethsemane to help clear his name posthumously.
Live, Local, and Dead by Nikki Knight
Job: Radio DJ
When local DJ Jaye fires a gun at a snowman, the corpse of recently fired radio talk show host Edwin Anger falls out. And his fans are sure that since Jaye is the one who fired him, she is also the one who killed him. Jaye knows it’s up to her to find out who really did the crime to avoid ending up being the DJ for prison radio or having her own corpse hidden in an icy prison.
A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna
Job: Tea House Owner
Gemma has decided to return home to Oxford and open up a traditional tearoom. All goes relatively well until one day she opens shop and finds a dead American tourist, seemingly done in by one of her scones. It goes without saying that murder is not good publicity, so she sets out to find the real killer before she has to hang up a “going out of business” sign.
This is one of the ones that may be splitting hairs since there are tons of coffee cozies. However, there is a difference between coffee and tea. So, I felt it deserved its own place on the list.
This Pen For Hire by Laura Levine
Job: Freelance Writer
When one of Jaine’s most recent clients is accused of murder, she can’t believe it. After all she helped him to write the love letters to his would-be paramour so she doubts he did her in and sets out to find out who really wielded the deadly Thigh Master.
Other cozies that involve a writer are ones where they are already established in a craft and genre. Freelance writing is just that; you’ll write almost anything to pay the bills. And that is fair because we all have those. Hence the reason for this job having its place here on the list.
The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu
Eager to escape an arranged marriage, aspiring journalist Su Lin takes on the role of governess to the daughter of Singapore’s Acting Governor. When another murder takes place Su Lin teams up the Chief Inspector to find out who has it in for the Governor.
The role of governess is different from a teacher since they also give lessons in etiquette and the like. And while that position runs rampant in romances, it isn’t seen as much in this genre.
Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely
A bounced check, courtesy of a terrible ex-employer, causes Blanche to go on the run and take a new position with a wealthy family to hide out until things cool off. When she is wrongfully accused of murder, she has to utilize all of her wit, and her network connection of other domestic workers, to help clear her name.
And there you have it! Just a few of the cozy mysteries that I was able to find that featured unique jobs. There is nothing wrong with loving cozies about bakers, librarians, or booksellers. But if you ever want to read against the grain a bit, then these may be just the ticket for you. Until we meet again, happy reading and stay warm and hydrated.