Before I fall asleep at night — though God knows I can fall asleep during the day, walking to the post box — I read from an old Georgette Heyer mystery, or an Agatha Christie, or any “cozy” in which seemingly intelligent, smartly dressed Londoners motor down to the English countryside in a Duesenberg or Bentley in order to be murdered.
Though she doesn’t really pen cozies, Martha Grimes will do as well. She has, after all, created the impossibly sexy (in my opinion) Melrose Plant, who eschews his title (Earl of Caverness), yet drives a Bentley and serves as sometimes-sidekick to Richard Jury of Scotland Yard.
With my good right ear I hear sniggers. Cozies, you are thinking. Old lady fare. Well, yes. I am not too proud to admit being old. This despite my only slightly squashed figure and freckled arms which some — no longer intimates — insist are age-spotted.
The thing is, regarding cozies, I feel free to fall asleep during them, a thing I’d be loathe to do during a Nicholson Baker or Penelope Lively. And they are pure escape. Escape is as essential to good health as Vitamin D.
We are all escape artists. Some escape in gardening or drink or drugs. Or, God save us, knitting. Personally, I prefer escape with a cup of tea, a plate of fairy cakes, and a Bentley parked in the graveled drive.