M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Murder Most Feminine -- Are All Mysteries with Female Main Characters Cozies?

Psst ... Wanna know one of my guilty secrets?
I like tepid, cozy mysteries.

While reading Cruz Smith's mystery, Rose, I was also reading Thrill of the Haunt by E. J. Cooperman. A lovely cozy romp about a lady who sees ghosts and uses her resident ghosts to lure guests to her not-bed-and-breakfast. All the time I was reading Cooperman, I kept hearing a long-gone friend snort in the back of my mind. She had nothing but contempt for cozy mysteries that trivialized the high crime of murder. Like she thought Miss Maple was an abomination.

Can't say her opinions influenced me much. I continue to read cozy mysteries for the worlds they create. So what if all to often some of the "villagers" turn murderous? I still think Margaret Rutherford's Miss Marple movies are laugh-out-loud funny.

But back to the cozy mysteries.

Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay reminded why I sometimes get impatience with cozy mysteries. Liked this mystery about who is trying to disrupt the production of A Mid-Summer Night's Dream. The theater fundraiser imports a big time actor/friend who becomes the target of a murder plot that's meant to ruin the production. The solution was ingenious and unusual, but the klutzy romantic complication dropped a star off my rating. -- Four Stars.

As for the above mentioned, The Thrill of the Haunt, A Haunted Guest House Mystery, had me grinning most of the read though two people get offed in what seem at first to be unrelated murders. Cooperman soon adds clues and red herrings to tie the dynamics of a local vendetta against Alison Kerby and a floundering love interest force the MC to acknowledge her ability to see ghosts and solve the crimes, all against her druthers. -- A pleasant, well-crafted read -- Five Stars

By way of comparison, Patricia Briggs recently offered a nice little mystery-thriller which offered a kidnapping and mass murder, Frost Burned. A secret organization manages to kidnap almost the entire Tri-Cities were-wolf pack. Mercy Thompson, Briggs' ingenious shapeshifter hero, proves her worth by saving the pack's ass when a car accident delays her return to the pack's headquarters. While there are no murders to solve, Mercy must rescue the pack who looks down on her and her mate, the pack's alpha. There is a glorious massacre of the bad guys and a twist which leads to an interesting ending. [Yeah, I can get a little blood-thirsty at times.] -- Five Stars, even though, having driven through the area many times, I can't imagine multiple traffic jams ... even when Christmas shopping.

So, why do I put all three books in the cozy category? All three books are set in well-defined communities where even the secondary inhabitants capture readers' interest. So I read them and make no apologies. Can't help but be a little envious though.


My own writing is still bogged down in edits. Part of it is that I'm suffering the effects of working with a small "Mom & Pop" publisher, more kindly known as an indie publisher. Actually, The Grumpy Dragon is doing well by their authors, but when the main editor [and editor of my book] is laid low by winter flues and such, timelines drag on. The other project I decided to edit, The Ghost in the Closet, a languishing short story. It's in process for cover and other end of the line processes to become a self-published e-pub.

The other project in the works is another short story which has been fermenting in my computer. It's been rejected multiple times ... but suddenly if reconfigured itself to be part of There Be Demons' world of Andor. How did this happen? Was sitting petting the cat as usual in the morning, when Cassy Mae put her cup of coffee on Britt's table in the college coffee shop and told her to stop staring at the demons. Told Britt to tone down her magical ambiance before the demons noticed her. Surprise. Britt listened to her.

So, I now have three book in the Britt Kelly series ... and simplified the number of worlds in my computer.

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