However, while some readers might have preferred that crime novel fad, there’s no sign of cosy crime’s popularity flagging in the near future – and there are certainly plenty of cosy crime authors only just getting started. “I feel a strong affinity with this genre now, as I don’t particularly want to write ‘gritty’ crime,” says Everett. “I love being able to add little jokes, and historical detail, and I’ve no interest in grim pathologist detail – I’m focused on the characters and the mystery they need to solve.

Why cosy crime connects

“Cosy crime, at heart, celebrates the best of people alongside the worst – bravery, decency, doggedness alongside the darkness – and I suspect that deep down, I’m an optimist who fundamentally believes that people are usually good,” she continues. “I don’t want to write about serial killers and trauma, it depresses me. I have to spend months with these imaginary people, so it helps if I like them and enjoy their company.

Everett feels that cosy crime speaks to our need for resolution and neat endings in an often messy, unfocused world, and the longing to trust people to ultimately do the right thing. In a lot of other contemporary crime fiction, by comparison, the good guys don’t necessarily win – in fact, it’s often hard to tell, especially in morally ambiguous psychological thrillers and even police procedurals, who the good guys even are.

“I don’t find that need twee at all – I find it vital,” says Everett. “Particularly at the moment, when it’s so hard to trust politicians, the police, the press – it’s natural that we’d turn to a fictional world to see order restored and give us some reassurance that crimes get solved, bad people repent or are punished and good people are rewarded.”

For Osman, genre classifications are redundant anyway. “No one should ever write in a ‘genre’,” he says. “Just write what you’d love to read. Entertain and surprise people. That’s what Christie did, and that’s why we’re still talking about her 100 years later.”

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman is published by Pamela Dorman Books in the US and Viking in the UK

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