Cozies vs. hard-edged mysteries and everything in between...

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Cozies vs. hard-edged mysteries and everything in between...

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apr 11, 2008, 1:27pm

Author Julia Spencer-Fleming has written an interesting article about whether or not her books are cozies:

I haven't read her books so I can't comment, but I thought her article was interesting in general. My feeling is that my preference is for books that fall somewhere in the middle: I tend to prefer "professional" main characters (PIs, lawyers or police detectives) over amateur sleuths, but I don't like too much violence or detailed descriptions of the murder victims (no Kay Scarpetta for me!) and I tend to avoid mysteries that feature serial killers or psychopaths (which is why I read Barbara Vine's books but not Ruth Rendell's, even though I know they are both the same author).

Where do others fall on this spectrum? Has anyone come across good definitions of the subgenres of mysteries?

apr 11, 2008, 3:03pm

For me, it just depends on the mood I'm in. Sometimes I feel like snuggling up with a Hamish Macbeth mystery by M.C. Beaton, and sometimes only a no-nonsense Kathy Mallory book by Carol O'Connell will do.

Redigerat: apr 11, 2008, 3:54pm

I like mysteries that surprise me, without cheating. I don't really like to figure out the mystery, but I want something I can actually spend some effort deciphering it without getting there on my own too soon. That's why I read mysteries quickly--I don't want to have too much time available to puzzle it all out.

Beyond that, I don't really have a preference. I like well-written books, and I get bored easily, so I want different things at different times. I don't like books that are gruesome just to be gruesome, but I don't mind gore if it is important to the story. I like some books where you know who the bad guy is the whole time, too, if they are done well.

I have to say, though, after clicking on your link, I am thinking I may want to check out a Julia Spencer-Fleming book or two!

apr 11, 2008, 7:27pm

Yeah, I came across her because I was looking at the favourite authors of other LTers who mentioned my favourite mystery authors (if that makes any sense), and I certainly like the way she writes on her website, so I'm willing to check her out even though her main character doesn't fit into my "professional" category...!

Redigerat: aug 12, 2008, 7:43pm

#1 avisannschild re: "Has anyone come across good definitions of the subgenres of mysteries?"

Are you familiar with
Mystery FAQ Genre & Sub-Genre at
Cluelass? It covers the difference between mystery, thriller and suspense, plus defines terms such as caper, fem-jep, inverted, noir, etc.

aug 13, 2008, 8:36pm

Wow, thanks CD1am, that's just the kind of definitions I was looking for. Interesting site too!

nov 19, 2011, 9:06pm

Just read the first of a new series of cozy mystery. The Pampered Pet Mysteries by Sparkle Abbey. I loved this book. The pets are not the sleuths. It is a series written by two women authors. Set in Laguna Beach. The authors share the location and the secondary characters but they have their own protagonist. The two authors alternate writing the books. The first in the series came out recently, 'Desperate Housedogs'. The protagonist for this one is a Pet Therapist, her cousin is in the second book due to come out early 2012. The two cousins were beauty queens from Texas and are squabbling over a brooch their grandmother left to 'her favorite grand daughter.' The second book's protagonist owns a Pet Boutique. Stories are told in a humorous vein with well developed characters and plot. The first was well written with a very satisfying ending that makes you want to read more. The following books will be - 'Get Fluffy', 'Kitty, Kitty, Bang, Bang', and 'Yip, Tuck'.

apr 17, 2012, 4:45pm

#8 – I just read that link - nice summary of the mystery sub genres! I guess I'm boring – I've mainly read cozies and historical. I'm a sucker for the character-driven cozy. :)

apr 20, 2012, 1:22am

I have been moving away from cozies and reading mysteries with more substance. I like to learn something as well as be entertained. I certainly wouldn't classify Julia Spencer-Fleming's work as a cozy. I think there needs to be another place for works by authors like Julia Spencer-Fleming and Sujata Massey who are not cozy but not 'pull out the gun and shoot either.' It is the middle of the night so I may come back to this in the morning when my brain is working better.

jun 10, 2012, 5:43pm

I mostly enjoy noir and hard-boiled mysteries. For me, murder mysteries are about the darker side of a character and I don't find it in cozy's, which seem to include more humor.