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ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > "Cozy Mysteries"

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jun 20, 2009 11:19AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments I found the following list of "Cozy Mysteries" at our library's website: ====>
http://www.crandalllibrary.org/cplinf...
Below is an excerpt from the above link: ====>
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"Cozy mysteries occur in benign, intimate environments like villages, castles, and universities and they lack graphic sex, violence, and profanity. Cozies have amateur sleuths solving crimes who use keen observation and intellect to hunt down criminals. These characters use brain power and not brawn, like in other hard-boiled detective novels. Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers are examples of authors of classic cozy mysteries."
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Among the books listed is: ====>
The Nine Tailors  by Dorothy L. Sayers _The Nine Tailors_ by Dorothy L. Sayers. Dorothy L. Sayers
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They also mention a book by Dorothy Gilman
I would say that almost all of Gilman's "Mrs. Pollifax" mysteries are "cozy".
I love Mrs. Pollifax's armchair philosophies!
Below is an example of a "Mrs. Pollifax" book by Gilman: ====>
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (Mrs. Pollifax, Book 1) by Dorothy Gilman_The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax_ by Dorothy Gilman. Dorothy Gilman


message 2: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments What "Cozy Mysteries" have you read?


message 3: by Werner (last edited Jun 22, 2009 08:13AM) (new)

Werner | 1574 comments If they're defining Christie's works as "cozy," I've read several of those, including The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The ABC Murders, The Body in the Library, and the collected Miss Marple stories. Of course, there are some basic problems and contradictions involved in the above definition of "cozy." Christie's Jane Marple, for instance, is a quintessential example of an observant amateur sleuth --but Hercule Poirot is just as certainly a professional detective. Any reader of Gothic fiction is apt to note that castles are not typically "benign" environments, and how benign universities and villages are is questionable. (In "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," Conan Doyle has Holmes assert that rural environments, isolated and peopled by folk unfamiliar with the authorities and the legal system, are much likelier places for crime to thrive undetected and unpunished than the cities.) Most basically, it's hard to think of a body of literature that usually involves murder, and that explores the pervasive nature of human evil, as very "cozy."

As I said on one of our other mystery threads (these two discussions really go together --and it's almost a shame they can't be combined somehow!), I prefer the term "traditional mystery" rather than "cozy." Traditional mysteries are indeed distinct from the "hard- boiled" school (which I sometimes call "noir," from the French word for "blackness") partly in that they don't deal in graphic violence nor require the detective to be proficient with his/her gun, because they're a more cerebral type of literature --the pleasure they offer is primarily that of an intellectual puzzle or challenge, rather than of pulse-pounding action. But more basically, they reflect a view of the world in which crime and evil are moral aberrations that can be unmasked and put down by the intellect of the protagonist; whereas noir writers tend to see crime and evil as the triumphant norms in a world in which any victory for the forces of law and order is temporary and fleeting, almost pointless. (And yes, traditional mysteries generally don't wallow in graphic sex and profanity, either --but that's mainly because those elements usually don't contribute to good story-telling.)


message 4: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments Werner wrote: "If they're defining Christie's works as "cozy," I've read several of those, including The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The ABC Murders, The Body in the Library, and the collected Miss Marple stories. ... I prefer the term "traditional mystery" rather than "cozy." Traditional mysteries are indeed distinct from the "hard- boiled" school (which I sometimes call "noir"...

Werner, I like your choice of terms, "traditional vs noir".

I've read only a few mystery authors and they have been of the traditional type. Perhaps under the category of "traditional", there should be a sub-category called "cozy" mysteries. Definitions are always a problem because, in cases like this, everyone has his/her own definition.

The one series I would definitely call "cozy" is the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. How I enjoyed them!


message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments Werner wrote: "...As I said on one of our other mystery threads (these two discussions really go together --and it's almost a shame they can't be combined somehow!) ..."

P.S. - Werner, I searched our group for other topics about mysteries and none came up. I'm almost sure there was at least one special topic about mysteries within this group.

Anyway, if you know of a particular topic anywhere, you might just include a message with a link to this topic. The shortest link would be the one found in the Web address box after you click on the following truncated link: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments Werner has found the other topic about mysteries in this section of our group discussions. The name of the topic was:
"Are you a mystery book fan? Favorite mystery authors? Why?".
It can be found at: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

Thank you Werner for taking the time to do this.
I posted a thank-you message at the above link.


Werner | 1574 comments You're welcome, Joy! (Actually, it was no trouble --it probably took about three minutes. :-))


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments Werner wrote: "You're welcome, Joy! (Actually, it was no trouble --it probably took about three minutes. :-))"

Sometimes it's not so much the time it takes to do something, but the fact that one is willing and able to do it.

Anecdote... The Mystery: "How Long Would It Take?"

I once had a job in which I was overloaded with work. Each time I complained, my boss would ask me: "How long would it take you to do that?" He didn't understand that when one is overwhelmed, each additional task seems almost impossible to do. It wasn't the time it took that mattered, but the fact that it seemed like the last straw, energy-wise and motivation-wise.

Nowadays I try to remember my former boss's attitude. When I balk at a task waiting to be done, I say to myself: "How much time would it take?" Then I usually do it...
... if I can ... if I'm motivated ... if I have the energy. :)

Perhaps the solution to the mystery question would be to change the question. Perhaps the question should be: "How much motivation would it take?"

I really should tell this to my former boss. Sometimes he visits with his wife when they're vacationing at Lake George. Hope I'll see him again. I'll tell him that he could have motivated me with a substantial raise. :)


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

To me "cozy" mysteries are ones such as Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Lilian Jackson Braun and even Carole Nelson Douglas's series about Irene Adler would qualify IMO.

They are akin to 'comfort food' for me, and I keep them handy for emergency rations. :)


message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jun 25, 2009 06:54PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11790 comments Pontalba wrote: "To me "cozy" mysteries are ones such as Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Lilian Jackson Braun and even Carole Nelson Douglas's series about Irene Adler would qual..."

Thanks for the links, Pontalba. It's always good to keep that type of "comfort food" handy. :) Funny how those first two authors have "cats" in their book titles.


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Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Nine Tailors (other topics)
The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Dorothy L. Sayers (other topics)
Dorothy Gilman (other topics)
Carole Nelson Douglas (other topics)
Lilian Jackson Braun (other topics)
Shirley Rousseau Murphy (other topics)
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