Author, Barbara Studham

Creator of memoir, fiction, and the children's picture book, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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What is a cozy mystery?

Well, for a start, a cozy mystery is a fiction genre.

I have to admit, not until someone who had read my book, The Bathing Beauty, said, “Barbara, I loved your cozy mystery” had I ever heard the word cozy used in relation to a book. As a writer, I should have known what a cozy was, but, too embarrassed to ask, I thanked her for the compliment then turned to the Internet for help.

“Cozy… cozy… hmm… let’s see,” I said as I googled—What is a cozy?

Fifteen million, eight hundred thousand results came up. Which means, that amount of people and probably more know what a cozy is. Pathetically, though I had written several, I was not one of them.

So, just what is a cozy mystery?

Well, according to the first few of those fifteen million, eight hundred thousand results, a cozy is a fiction genre, usually a mystery. Some of the stipulations for a cozy are:

  • A cozy mystery does NOT drip with gore, blood, violence, nor vulgarity.
  • The emphasis of a cozy is on the whodunit aspect of the story, not the sensationalism of the crime.
  • The crime solver is an amateur sleuth, usually a woman.
  • The victim is often someone the amateur sleuth knows.
  • Evidence arouses the sleuth’s curiosity.
  • The amateur sleuth is a bit snoopy and actively seeks out gossip for clues.
  • She generally doesn’t stop until she solves the crime.
  • The activity takes place in villages or hamlets, where people know their neighbors and individual quirkiness is not only accepted but also often celebrated.

Given all those points, I was thrilled to come to the conclusion that Milly Mullan, amateur sleuth in my Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, who actually is a bit of a snoop, though she would never admit it, falls into the cozy mystery genre. She is also featured in my next two books in the series: The Faring Foxglove, and, The Bathing Beauty. Right now I am editing the manuscripts for the next three in the series, titled, A Hint of Spring, The Spitting Image, and Mann Overboard, which will be available in 2017.

Under the Shanklin Sky, The Faring Foxglove, and, The Bathing Beauty, are available now at your Amazon store, or the following links, and many other ebook distributors:

Available in 2017 from your Amazon store:

A Hint of Spring

A Hint of Spring

A Hint of Spring: A Hint of Spring is the fourth in the, Under the Shanklin Sky, fiction series and a brand new adventure for Milly Mullan. Rain, hail, sleet, gale; the petulant, English winter reluctantly gives way to spring by mercilessly battering Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. Conversely, spring ushers in a new adventure for retiree, Milly Mullan, resident of flat number 6 in the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach. Anticipating an upcoming fundraising gala, she is shocked to discover the host, Evelyn Scott, is embezzling funds from the charitable agency: Triple-F. With little evidence, Milly drags her obnoxious daughter, Rosie, into the fray, who then witnesses Evelyn’s murder. With so many suspects, all of whom hated Evelyn, Milly is at a loss as to whodunit. Was it Crystal, the receptionist at Triple-F, who held a long-standing grudge against Evelyn; or, perhaps, Evelyn’s love affair, married man, Fred Barker-Ford, of Barker-Ford dog foods, and collaborator in crime? Or, was the killer Tom Fielding, a local health and fitness business owner who, for personal reasons, detested Evelyn Scott. As Milly delves deeper into the case, she inadvertently saves scores of seniors from financial ruin. Given that, and her solving the case of Evelyn Scott’s murder, she is abruptly elevated to bees’ knees status in the eyes of Shanklin’s locals.

The Spitting Image

The Spitting Image

The Spitting Image: To be, or not to be, that is definitely the question in the fifth in the Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, The Spitting Image. When something is afoot, leave it to retiree, Milly Mullan, to be forefront in solving the case. Residing in flat number six of the Old Stone House situated on Hope Beach in the seaside town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, she ruthlessly hunts down the suspect until all is revealed. This time, the suspects are an attractive church-going couple, Sarah and Martin Kendall, who turn into greedy, trigger-happy blackmailers. However, Martin suddenly goes missing, but, in place of grief, Milly senses Sarah’s relief. Piecing clues together, she completes the puzzle to Martin’s disappearance during her visit to Windsor’s Theatre Royal where snobby guest presenter Sir Nigel Evans introduces a play… but is it really Sir Nigel? Suspicious, Milly relentlessly searches for clues until all is exposed and the Kendalls get what they deserve.


Mann Overboard

Mann Overboard

Mann Overboard: In Mann Overboard, the sixth in the Under the Shanklin Sky fiction series, a howling storm rages through the town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, but not before retiree, Milly Mullan, amateur sleuth, eavesdrops on two young women, one of whom is seeking revenge on her ex-boyfriend. Feeling foolish for listening to teenage gossip, when the young man is found washed up on the beach the next day, Milly reluctantly confesses to her daughter, Rosie, that she believes foul play is afoot. Two witnesses, however, admit to seeing the young lad, the evening before, tossing stones into the raging surf, causing police to believe he was overcome by the sea. But, Milly knows better. So, how does a lost, silver, charm bracelet eventually lead her to the truth? Does it belong to the young man’s killer, or is it just coincidence that the revenge seeker was seen wearing it the night before his death? Find out more in, Mann Overboard.




Seaford, East Sussex

A Great Place To Visit!

Seaford, East Sussex

Seaford, East Sussex

Retiree, Milly Mullan, is the main character in my fiction series, Under the Shanklin Sky. I enjoy interspersing her amateur sleuthing with descriptions of English coastal areas. The following is a paragraph taken from my latest manuscript: A Hint of Spring. Available in 2017, it will be the fourth in the series. Genre: cozy/amateur sleuth.

Seaford, East Sussex

… Waking early, she (Milly) slipped her feet into her pink slippers, pulled on her housecoat, and opened the balcony doors. Shading her eyes from the sun, she squinted at the ravaged shoreline ahead. Pebbles and broken shells interspersed with plastic bottles and brightly colored bits of garbage scattered the beach. Clumps of curly, brown seaweed, looking like masses of tangled hair hindered early morning swimmers. Despite the scene, Milly inhaled the fresh, intoxicating sea air purified by the storm, and anticipated the trip to Seaford that she and her daughter, Rosie, had planned for the day. A quick coffee with toast and jam, and a shower and change into her ‘perfect for iffy weather’ outfit consisting of gray pants, a rose-colored wool top, and comfortable walking shoes, left her with only a phone call to make…

Barbara Studham's ebooks

Barbara Studham’s ebooks

All my ebooks are available from your Amazon store, from the following links, and from most ebook distributors.

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A Hint Of Spring

A work in progress!

Milly Mullan's Mail

Milly Mullan’s Mail

A Hint Of Spring is my latest work in progress and will be available in 2017. It is the fourth in my–Under The Shanklin Sky Series–and falls into the same genre as the first three: cozy/amateur sleuth. If you have visited the town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight you will know its beauty. I’m a senior now, and born in England, but when only sixteen years of age, I spent two weeks vacation in Shanklin staying at The Shanklin Beach Hotel. I have never forgotten the seaside’s serenity, and amazing scenic views. My fond memories of the sandy beach, rushing waves, and high cliff top ripe for endless walks, is one reason why I chose Shanklin as the location for my series. I also chose to have my main character, Milly Mullan, be a senior, not because many people retire in Shanklin, but because Milly proves us seniors continue to live vibrant, productive lives.

A Hint Of Spring. So if you feel like lazing on the couch with your feet up for a few hours while reading a book from my series, here is where you can find Under The Shanklin Sky, The Faring Foxglove, and The Bathing Beauty. Don’t forget to watch for the release of Milly’s new adventure: A Hint Of Spring.

All my books are available from your Amazon store, the following links,

and from many other ebook distributors.