>Some Like It Mild: Cozy Mysteries

By Jordan Foster, Publishers Weekly

“I specialize,” Agatha Christie once said, “in murders of quiet, domestic interest.” Today, almost 90 years after the publication of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, her first novel featuring the fastidious Belgian private detective Hercule Poirot, the traditional mystery still thrives. Readers continue to crave the classic whodunit, a puzzle they try to solve along with the protagonist, who may be a professional like Poirot or an amateur sleuth like Miss Jane Marple, one of Christie’s other creations.

Violence is never absent from these tales—they are, after all, murder mysteries—but there’s a definite lack of gore and gratuitous carnage. Louise Penny, whose award-winning Chief Insp. Armand Gamache series is set in the tiny Quebec village of Three Pines, likens the suspense in her novels to that of famed director Alfred Hitchcock, who “knew that less is more.” Says Penny, “My books aren’t about murder—that’s simply a catalyst to look at human nature. They aren’t about blood but about the marrow, about what happens deep inside, in places we didn’t even know existed.” In October, Minotaur will publish Penny’s fifth Gamache novel, A Brutal Telling.

I have the next two cozy mysteries ready on my shelf – to be reviewed soon. Follow me on my tour to Africa and Australia – and if you can´t wait for more cosiness, read the whole of the article above.

Thanks to Maxine for providing the link in our cosy, criminal friend feeding room.


About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in cozy mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to >Some Like It Mild: Cozy Mysteries

  1. Julia Smith says:

    >Are those marguerites? They’re darling.Yes, the peering into the why and how and who is the addiction of the quiet mystery lover. I seem to be drawn to drama with an undercurrent of tragedy – that really gets me going. I love discovering the hidden pain a character tries to hide.

  2. Kerrie says:

    >That’s an interesting quotation Dorte

  3. lilly says:

    >I am slowly becoming a fan of cozy mysteries, they are more fun than I expected them to be.

  4. Dorte H says:

    >Julia, I´d call them daisies, but it is probably a small, wild variety of marguerites. (Our Queen Margrethe is called Daisy by her British relatives). Kerrie, Lilly I am glad you like the quotation and my cozy mysteries which is more or less turning into a May theme.

  5. Beth F says:

    >I love cozies — they’re my favorite escape reading. Lovely photos — I need flowers on this rainy day.

  6. Dorte H says:

    >Beth, so do I. But I tend to call crime fiction cozy whenever they are not hardboiled so my category is quite broad 🙂

  7. Ms. Bookish says:

    >There’s always a spot in my heart for cozies – although I don’t think I would classify Louise Penny’s Gamache books as cozies … I’m back on a Christie kick currently, and have found one I’ve read but don’t remember! I like when that happens.

  8. bkclubcare says:

    >Daisies and Dandelions! I should pick up an Agatha again – it’s been years. Hope you feel better soon.

  9. Dorte H says:

    >Hi Care. Miss Marple is cosy company!I am glad you also enjoyed the wild life of my garden 🙂 I am slightly better tonight, thank you, and reading another cosy mystery – they are very suitable with the attention span I have today.

  10. >I’m no cozy fan, but I have been noticing some of the ways current writers of traditional mysteries keep the genre fresh.============== Detectives Beyond Borders”Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home” http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

  11. Dorte H says:

    >Now you really surprise me Peter 😉 I think it is quite fun to read a cozy for a change, but though I am not into really hardboiled crime fiction, I also prefer more realistic novels. I have not even read Louise Penny yet so I wouldn´t know how cosy or realistic she is, but one of her books is on its way to me.

  12. >I’m not even sure what cozies are, but I reserve the right to hate the term without disliking the style. “New Traditionalists” is bad enough. I just hope no one goes and talks about a “Cozy Realist” school of mystery writers now.============== Detectives Beyond Borders”Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home” http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

  13. Dorte H says:

    >As someone who has written about ´femikrimi´ and ´machokrimi´ at length, I am hardly in a position to criticize anyone else´s use of categories. What I have learned, though, is that sometimes these definitions initiate really valuable discussions 🙂 I am not against the term cozy mystery as such, but it strikes me that many of the novels put in this category are very different. One of the reasons why I joined a cozy mystery reading challenge recently was that I wanted to see what was written of that kind nowadays. So far I have only reviewed a Miss Marple and a Peter Wimsey, but I am moving on to modern, so-called cozies now, and plan to review the first in a few days.

  14. >Stimulating discussions, yes. It was Martin Edwards’ use of the term “traditional mysteries” that first got me thinking about this fascinating question. I’ll follow with interest your choices for the reading challenge, though I don’t think I’ll ever like the term “cozy.”============== Detectives Beyond Borders“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

  15. Dorte H says:

    >Feel free to disagree, Peter. I know that one of the reasons why I like it is that I have always used it wrongly. To me, a cozy is a crime novel that makes me feel cosy when I read it – which goes for 90 per cent of the crime novels I read. Sloppy terminology, but it has never been a problem until I began discussing crime fiction 😉

  16. >Cozy is just as difficuly to define with precision as is noir, which is just fine. One ought not to worry too much about such things.A subjective definition such as yours is probably as good as any. I often think of book in terms of how I feel when I read them. ============== Detectives Beyond Borders”Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  17. Dorte H says:

    >Oh, for my own private use the definitions are very simple. One end of the scale is cozyes: books I sometimes read & which never give me nightmares. The broad middle areas: ordinary crime fiction which I devour – more realistic, more credible characters but still, in my opinion, rather cozy. The other end of the scale: hardboiled & noir: books I sometimes read. I even enjoy some of them while others give me nightmares.If I could just make anyone else adhere to these clear, scientific categories …

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