Wikipedia describes a "Cozy Mystery" as follows:
Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as "cozies," are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community. The term was first coined in the late 20th century when various writers produced work in an attempt to re-create the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.[
For further analysis and specifics on "Cozy Mysteries", go here:
Karin Kaufman writes cozy mysteries with a bit of an edge. Sparrow House is the second book in her Anna Denning mystery series (the first was The Witch Tree, nominated for a 2011 Grace Award). Karin lives near the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with Sophie and Cooper, her crazy but lovable shelter dogs. http://karinkaufman.com/
Anna Denning is hired by the remaining Birch heir and his wife, owners of the legendary, supposedly haunted "Sparrow House", to do the geneaology of his family but more importantly he's also asking her to gather information to prove the house is, in fact, haunted so it becomes more enticing to the buyer to whom he hopes to sell the decaying house and estate. Since the house is a considerable commuting distance outside of the small Colorado town where Anna lives, Paxton Birch offers to let her stay there in order to facillitate his quickly needed information and to bring a friend if she deems it necessary.
To Anna the only attractive room in the old house is the library, teeming with aged documents and books, a geneaologists dream come true. Taking the job, she enlists her closest friend Liz, a web reporter with her own local "newspaper" site. Together with Anna's dog Jackson they tackle the hugeness of the assignment while experiencing the eerie goings on in their midst. From a rigid household manager to the off-putting groundskeeper to the sneaky professor, there are unsettling noises, obnoxious and repugnant paintings disappearing from their upstairs bedroom hallway and being replaced with others, to the suspicious death of a young assistant to the groundskeeper.
It doesn't take long for Anna, Liz, and even Jackson to become uneasy. Things aren't right, especially knowing that Anna has received two anonymous notes about her work at Sparrow House. It's odd that Paxton doesn't know how or why the Birch home adopted the name Sparrow House, but as Anna and Liz delve deeper into Paxton's wicked father and the other mysterious deaths at the house, they figure out who was responsible for the name and exactly what it meant. The innate tension and weirdness in the house cause the two close friends to argue but they reconcile after realizing the pressure they're under and the feeling that they're also in danger.
The discovery of new information intensifies their fears and the climactic revelation of the various mysteries occurs during one of the horrendous lightning storms that not only knocks out the power but darkens the daylight.
Sparrow House presents cozy mystery readers with an entertaining story set in a creepy atmosphere with plenty of suspects - both dead and alive.
Occasionally it seemed the locations of characters intersected, making it unclear where exactly they were, i.e. they were standing by the nursery but walked to the driveway but in the next moment were back standing by the nursery. Minor confusions and nothing that took away from the story.
Karin's voice is just right for the genre, and Anna Denning is a consistent, somewhat feisty but vulnerable character who, after two years as a widow, is falling in love with a man who respects and honors her past and provides her with a hope for the future.
Father, you know how hard Karin works, how deeply she strives to honor you in all she does. You know exactly what she needs, what she hopes to achieve. You are her provider. Please continue to give her the desires of her heart as she delights in you. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.