Anyone up for Cozy Bingo?

r/CozyMystery on Reddit just announced our 2021 Cozy Bingo challenge!

The goal of the book bingo is to discover new and amazing reads outside your normal reading, and encourage discussion of books.

When we had the poll about the definition of a cozy, it was a close race between “must contain a theme” and one that met all the other criteria, but didn’t have a theme (no explicit sex, gore, etc.). For purposes of Bingo, the broader definition will apply (unless the square relates to a theme).

Many thanks to r/fantasy for their permission to use their bingo as a model, particularly to u/lrich1024 who drafted their rules.

Download your card here!


  • 2021 Bingo Period lasts from Feb 1st 2021 – Jan 31st 2022
  • Each book may only be used for one square.
  • Unless otherwise specified, requires a full-length novel. You may substitute a novella for one block, or two novellas for any block.
  • All but one should be a first read; you may use one book you’re re-reading for one square.
  • HARD MODE: Hard mode is optional, but adds an extra level of challenge. You may do none, some, or all squares in hard mode.
  • When you complete the entire card (as long as it’s before the end date), we’ll assign “Book Bingo Champ”’ flair to you.
  • If you get lines completed (horizontal, vertical, diagonal) but not the entire card, we’ll assign “Book Bingo Participant” flair to you.
  • Please post about what you’re reading, progress, etc, on r/CozyMystery. Let us know what you think of the books you’re reading! Share what you found for your squares and whether you liked them.
  • Leading up to Feb. 1, 2021, we’ll have discussions about books we’d recommend in each category (that’s not personal to you).
  • Generally, the resources we have listed on the menu of r/CozyMystery are a good place to look.

You can get all of these rules and the card are available as a shared Google document. I’m preparing a spreadsheet you can use to log your books.

About the Squares:

First Row Across:

  • Takes place in a non-English speaking country:The majority of the action is NOT in a country where English is at least one of the official languages. HARD MODE: Translated from a different language.
  • Setting Featuring Lakes, Rivers, or Streams: This setting must be used for a good portion of the book. HARD MODE: The entire book takes place in this setting.
  • Historical: Takes place in any period at least fifty years in the past. HARD MODE: Not Regency
  • Paranormal/supernatural/alternate reality: A cozy featuring a paranormal/supernatural character or environment and/or an alternate reality. HARD MODE: No vampires or witches.
  • No romantic subplot – A cozy without any of the protagonists looking for love. HARD MODE: Features Asexual and/or Aromantic character(s). It should be explicitly stated (either by the character themselves, another character, or the author) that a character isn’t interested in romance or sex. 

Second Row Across:

  • Agatha Christie: Any novel by the classic author. HARD MODE: Not Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, or Then There Were None.
  • Book/series has been turned into movie or TV series or vice versa: This can include books that weren’t cozy/traditional originally, or that were and the film version made them not so cozy/traditional, as well as books that came out after the film/TV show. HARD MODE: Not Agatha Christie or Murder She Wrote.
  • LGBTQIA+: The protagonist or a major character is non-cis non-hetero. HARD MODE: Not a sassy gay friend.
  • Plant in the title: Self-explanatory. HARD MODE: Not a flower.
  • Read with a book club, read along or buddy read: Any past or still active book clubs count, as well as past or current read-alongs. You can use any you find here or elsewhere; we encourage you to use r/cozymystery to find a book buddy or invite people to read along. HARD MODE: Participate in a discussion or post a review on r/CozyMystery.

Third Row Across:

  • Self-Published: Only self-published novels will count for this square. If the novel has been picked up by a publisher as long as you read it when it was self-pubbed it will still count. HARD MODE: Self-pubbed and has fewer than 50 ratings on goodreads.
  • Set in your home state/province/district/department/other principal administrative entity: Either the one where you currently reside or one you grew up in. HARD MODE: Same city where you currently reside or grew up in that is not a capital of the country or administrative unit.
  • Published in 2021: Self-explanatory. HARD MODE: It’s also a debut novel.
  • On your TBR for three months: Any book you’ve been meaning to get to for at least three months. HARD MODE: On your TBR for over a year.
  • Book About Books: Books must be central to the plot somehow. HARD MODE: Does not feature a library (public, school, or private).

Fourth Row Across:

  • Set in an abbey, monastery, or other religious house: Either the murder, sleuth, victim, or suspect must be located in this setting. HARD MODE: Not Cadfael.
  • Occupation of the protagonist is a career you would have liked to be a part of it: Self-explanatory. HARD MODE: Not one you can be a hobbyist in.
  • Referral from a book blog, instabook, or booktube: A cozy you found from reading a blog, or from Instagram book reviewers, or YouTube book reviewers. HARD MODE: Review referring review or submit annotated resource.
  • Social issues: Includes some social issue; for example, gender inequality, sexuality, race, sexual violence, family violence, economics, or reproduction. HARD MODE: Social issue is central to the plot.
  • Indian Author: Let’s give some love to the country with the second largest number of English speakers in it.  HARD MODE: Book from an Indian small press OR self-published Indian author.

Fifth Row Across:

  • Features an animal: An animal is part of the plot or a discernible character. HARD MODE: Not a cat or dog.
  • Published before 2000: Self-explanatory. HARD MODE: Published before you were born.
  • Some form of transportation is in the title: Self-explanatory. HARD MODE: Not a train, including the word “train” or a description of a train or railroad.
  • Audiobook / Audio drama format: This is a format, not a genre however, please stick to something within cozy/traditional mystery. HARD MODE: Audiobook / audio drama over 25 hours long.
  • Features Politics: Politics are central to the plot. This covers everything from royalty, elections, wars, to smaller local politics. HARD MODE: Larger than city politics (not PD, HOA, other small group).

General FAQ’s:

  • Does ‘x’ book counts for ‘y’ square? If you wonder if something counts for a square, first ask yourself if *you* think it should count? If you’re not confident that it counts, check into some other recommendations.
  • Do I have to start the book from 1st of February 2021 or only finish it from then? If you’re less than 50% through the book when February 1st hits, you can count it if you finish it after the 1st.
  • Can I read a book of short stories for one of the novel squares? Yes, but the anthology needs to be novel length.
  • Can I read a book in another language? Yes, look at you showing those language muscles.
  • Can I listen to audiobooks for any square? Sure thing.
  • Can I turn my bingo sheet in early? Yup. When you’re done with it, just share it to r/CozyMystery. If you don’t get the flair or a confirmation from the Mods that we got it, DM us.


I’ll add these as they are created. If anyone else makes any other resources, please DM me so I can make sure it gets here as well.

Indian mystery authors:

Best lists:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s