Creating a Cozy Mystery Protagonist Readers Love

Blogging is Murder cozy mystery novelCozy mystery protagonists are a special breed. They’re usually amateur sleuths with a talent for sniffing out clues. That’s a nice way of saying they’re nosy. But what else makes for a strong cozy mystery protagonist? What does she need to make readers come back over and over again?

Interesting Job (or Hobby)

Since the protagonists in cozies are typically amateurs, they have day jobs to attend to in between questioning suspects. This lends an allure to readers—they want to bond with characters that, like themselves, have minds like steel traps, but still have to work for a living. Many cozy protagonists run their own businesses, so they have a more flexible schedule in which to play gumshoe. The protagonist in my Jade Blackwell Mysteries series is a blogger and ghostwriter. In Blogging is Murder, the first book, she manages to fit work in around her investigating, but just barely.

Sassy attitude

Who wouldn’t love a protagonist who can say what we wish we could say in a similar situation? Readers love a protagonist who’s witty and snarky. It gives them a chance to feel what it’s like to say and do things to annoying people—things they could never do in real life. One example is when Jade gets salty with the psychiatrist she’s interviewing in Blogging is Murder. She ends up antagonizing him—a man she needs to open up and tell her about the victim’s secrets.

Fun flaws or weaknesses

Readers look for protagonists they can relate to. And no one can relate to a protagonist who’s too perfect. She needs to have a few weaknesses to feel real. We don’t want her to be dumb, just lovingly flawed, like the rest of us. She might be late to every important event in her calendar or have near-accidents every time she gets behind the wheel of a car. Readers love when the amateur sleuth’s mind is mulling over the case to the exclusion of everything else around them. Jade Blackwell can be forgetful and hates to cook so only feeds her family meals made in a slow cooker. She also realizes in Blogging is Murder that working alone from home over the last four years has made her social skills rusty. {Spoiler: She attempts to rectify this in Book Two.}

Special talents

Finally, a cozy mystery protagonist needs to have a flair for solving the crimes she stumbles upon. Since she doesn’t have access to forensic tests and such, she must have traits that help her sniff out the clues that crack the case. Jade Blackwell ends up as the investigator on her friend’s murder case because of her background as a college professor and scholar. She uses her ability to read people (meaning what students do when they are lying or hiding something), her predilection for analysis and noticing patterns and her aptitude for digging into details to ferret out important, yet overlooked, information.

Meet Jade and follow along on her first sleuthing adventure by picking up a copy of the Blogging is Murder.

About Gilian Baker

Gilian Baker is a former writing and literature professor who finally threw in the towel and decided to just show ‘em how it’s done. She has gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger & ghostwriter to her CV. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain cozy mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggled up with her husband watching British mysteries or discussing literary theory with her daughter.


In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines.


Blogging is Murder Synopsis

Though she was certainly born with all the traits of a world-class private detective, blogger Jade Blackwell believed she would do nothing more than solve the murders in her latest favorite cozy mystery book.

Set in mountainous south-eastern Wyoming, Jade Blackwell lives in a log home in the quaint village of Aspen Falls with her husband, Christian and daughter Penelope (Ellie). She left her life as a tenured college English professor at the University of Wyoming four years ago, sick of the bureaucracy, mounds of essays to grade and apathetic students. She turns to blogging and ghostwriting as her new career. Jade’s promising career as a blogger halts abruptly when she learns of a hacker who is controlling her friend and fellow blogger Liz Collin’s business remotely. When the hacker is found dead in her home, Liz is thrown in jail.

Determined to help her friend regain her life and livelihood, Jade teams up with Liz’s reluctant lawyer, Gabriel Langdon, to get Liz off the hook and out of jail. What she learns will break the case wide open, while unraveling her faith in humanity and the safety she feels living in the Rocky Mountain hamlet she calls home.

An exciting thrill ride from the first page, to the last. Read Gilian Baker’s Blogging is Murder, the first book in the Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series!







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