Cozy Mysteries discussion

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Cozy corner > Is a Detective Boyfriend a Requirement now?

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message 1: by Ms. Woc Reader (new)

Ms. Woc Reader | 37 comments It seems like almost every cozy mystery I've read recently the lead has a detective boyfriend. And they all have the same personality.


message 2: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 184 comments The last couple of cozies I have read haven't had a detective boyfriend so don't despair there are other kinds of boyfriends out there. Al Dente's Inferno, Blackthorn Manor Haunting


message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Penn | 6 comments I have written two books in my new cozy mystery series, and my protagonist does NOT have a detective boyfriend. Stay tuned. Book one due out late February: "Bells, Tails, & Murder."


message 4: by Sally (new)

Sally Carpenter | 56 comments Good for you and congratulations on your new book! A romance is not always needed. In one of my series, the heroine has a platonic male friend, sort of a Emma Peel/John Steed relationship. Works fine for them. My other series has a romance going (a singer and a dancer), but the couple works together to solve the crimes, not an "add on" thing.


message 5: by Mary C (last edited Jan 31, 2020 10:13AM) (new)

Mary C (marymaryalwayscontrary) | 110 comments The Body in the Attic (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #1) by Judi Lynn

fairly new series and I recently listened to the first 2 books. No detective boyfriend. Main characters are house flippers.

If you don't mind ghosts, another series with no cop boyfriend:

If Walls Could Talk (Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #1) by Juliet Blackwell


Kimberly Reads Books (kimberlyreadsbooks) | 83 comments I prefer for any boyfriend present to not be a detective, either police or private detective. I LIKE that if the main character is female that she is the lead in the investigation. I'm not against a team effort but I do like it better when the boyfriend or husband is more used as a sounding board for ideas. I'm currently reading the Death On Demand series and am on book 2. I think Max is a fantastic character, but I sometimes feel that that Annie, the main character, is portrayed as over emotional while Max is more the solid stable guy. And he does quite a bit of detecting in this one but it's all been separate from Annie. I would love to see them doing their detecting together, and I hope it goes more that way later in the series.


message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Allegretto | 7 comments I agree with the consensus, a boyfriend or husband to a female protagonist need not be only window dressing, but at the same time, they should not grab at the spotlight.


message 8: by Susan (new)

Susan Bogush | 13 comments It seems that way. whenever a cop enters the picture, there will be a hookup


message 9: by Lina (new)

Lina Hansen | 15 comments Interesting comment. I got so annoyed about the amorphous detective sidekicks/love interests (well, some do them better than others, Sofie Kelly's stories I found great), that I swore to myself never to write a detective sidekick. I totally get that the amateur sleuth needs to have some police involvement, but there are other ways of doing it.
Also, cozies are usually serial, so the romantic subplot is quite challenged. A lot of authors go for the "slowly getting closer" approach over the series. That gets a bit monotone after a while. The one series where I thought this was really well handled, was the China Bayles mysteries. Eventually, the amateur sleuth moves in with the copper and their relationship becomes a key part of the plot. Susan Wittig Albert's novels are among my favourites, for their realistic way of integrating both the romantic interest AND the police sidekick into the story. Plus, there's more than just her "partner in crime", which makes the series even more enjoyable.


message 10: by Monica (last edited Feb 20, 2020 04:41AM) (new)

Monica  (the-pampered-reader) | 31 comments Sigh; don’t eeeeeeeeeeeeeven get me started on the condescending, patronizing alpha-cop boyfriend.

I’m going to agree with others in arguing that that particular convention has to do with genre bending. The “appropriate” story arc for female protagonists almost always ends in marriage. Otherwise, why not just have her work on the low with police contacts? Also, in order to justify putting women, especially civilian women, in the path of killers, many authors go the “she’ll need protection, no matter how brave, strong, or smart she is” rout.

You’re spot on about the identical personalities, but there are also the overprotective commands and threats to deal with.

Nearly every cozy I’ve ever read has the boyfriend barking things like, “stay out of my investigation,” “I won’t let you put yourself in danger,” “you were nearly killed the last time you poked into police business,” “what do you think will happen when the killer finds out you’re asking questions? “and “If I catch you budding in on an active investigation again, I’ll arrest you for your own good."

I can usually tolerate those types if the heroines have enough of a backbone. For example, Susan M. Boyer’s Liz Talbot series features a police chief brother and a husband that works side by side with the protagonist as a PI. Of course, the brother is a dismissive, high-handed, sexist alpha-jerk, but Liz has none of it. Best of all, on the very, very rare occasions where her husband tries to protect her, she shuts him down and reminds her that they have both been trained to handle the dangers associated with the job.

Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune Mystery series features a deputy boyfriend of the “I’ll haul your nosy, too-intrepid-than-is-appropriate-for-a-woman butt off to jail if you don’t stay out of my investigation” variety, but again, Fortune and her Vietnam vet sidekicks do just what they want to do, and the boyfriend grudgingly comes to respect that, even if he won’t admit it. Heck, their trying to hide what they’re up to is a huge part of why the series works for me.


message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Personally, I like a cozy with a little sexual chemistry and don't mind the detective boyfriend. A few of my favorites from series are the Peter Decker, Rina Lazarus pairing in Faye Kellerman's series, Deanna Raybourne's Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane (who is a kind of private detective) and Cat Austen and Victor Cardenas in Jane Rubino's series. The first two, they get married the course of the series.
Many years ago, I went to a writing conference and a panel of writers were talking about the opposite - the guy who is a character supposed to be sympathetic to women because his wife or girlfriend has died at the beginning of the series. They called it "The Cartwright Bride" that was a reference to an old TV western where anytime one of the male stars got married, the wife died a few episodes later.


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