Cozy Mystery Corner discussion

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Cozy Q & A > How much do the 'love-triangles' in the series influence your reading decisions?

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message 1: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Apr 07, 2015 11:48AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments My preference is that the "ROMANCE" element in Cozy Mysteries should be discreet with intimate details avoided.

Moreover, I usually desire the protagonist to be happily involved with a steady partner :-)

If the protagonist is not a part of an established couple right from the first book of the series, then I prefer the romantic aspect in the cozy mystery series to make natural progression, from initial interactions, between the protagonist and a single member of opposite gender, to gradual friendship, to romantic relationship, to marriage etc.

And it's perfectly fine if there are ups and downs, and some romantic tensions, in all of these phases.

But the overall trend should always be to move forward ...and for the relationship to develop, grow and become stronger :-)

I strongly HESITATE to get involved in those series where I sense a PROLONGED 'LOVE-TRIANGLE'. 

I think this is mainly because, to me, 'love-triangles' create uncertainty ...and diminish the sense of comfort and pleasure that I usually get while reading Cozy Mysteries ...basically by creating a doubt in my mind whether the protagonist will be able to achieve a 'happily ever after' with the 'right person for him/her', or not...!

When the protagonist spends a lot of time, that is, more than 6 to 8 books in the series, in trying to resolve this issue ...it can sometimes make him/her seem stupid ...and it also makes me feel bad if it turns out that I had been rooting for the one that the protagonist doesn't chose...!

Negative emotions are also invoked in me when a 'love-triangle' is introduced after a couple is already established ...especially if I happen to be fond of the original couple ...and this can at times make the protagonist come across as a fickle person.

All this further reduces some of the joy and comfort of reading a Cozy.

Moreover, often much attention has to be given for the protagonist to resolve the issue of 'love-triangle' ...and this prevent the main focus to remain on the mystery...!

Whereas I feel that though romance should definitely be present, as it adds to the reading pleasure, but it should be in the background, as a secondary part of the story.

Having said all this, I think it's only fair to mention that though I usually find the 'love-triangles' annoying, I sometimes do manage to ignore them ...if the other criterion are especially well achieved.

For example, "The Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series" by "Jenn McKinlay" is among my favourites despite the 'love-triangle'. Yes, it's true that I was dismayed by it's introduction, especially since I was quite fond of the 'original couple'. However, not only do I have hope that this issue will soon get resolved, but as far as I am concerned,  all the other aspects, such as writing, language, mystery, characters, setting and ambience, etc, of this series are wonderful...!  In any case, the overall reading experience of these books is immensely joyful for me :-) 


message 2: by Randee (new)

Randee Baty | 17 comments I hate love triangles. Probably for the reasons you have mentioned. I don't think I've ever stopped reading a series because of one but I've hesitated to start a new book in a series because of a triangle and I've skipped whole sections because I didn't want to deal with one.


message 3: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments HATE, HATE, HATE triangles!! The fact that Jenn McKinlay has seen fit to put them in both the Cupcake & Library Lover's series is very off-putting for me. I believe they may both be tied up pretty quickly so will read the next books in both series. If I'm wrong, and she drags them on, I will have to drop 2 series I like a lot (the Cupcake series more so than the Library Lover's). If you don't like "triangles", please take my advice, do yourself a favor and DON'T read the Hannah Swensen books by Joanne Fluke. Though, from things I've read about the most recent book, she may finally be doing something about it, but by bringing back a character who was never really a player before. Doesn't really matter. Can't see myself ever going back to that series because of other annoying characters!


message 4: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 08, 2015 01:27AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Melodie wrote: "HATE, HATE, HATE triangles!! The fact that Jenn McKinlay has seen fit to put them in both the Cupcake & Library Lover's series is very off-putting for me. I believe they may both be tied up pretty ..."

Well Melodie, when I started reading the "Hannah Swensen Mystery Series" the series was already well into book 12, so I was pretty much prepared for the 'love-triangle'.

And yes, though I usually avoid getting involved in a series that shows signs of a prolonged 'love-triangle', yet I made an exception in this case ...only because of the theme...! :-)

While I never found the books 'wonderful' enough to add this series among my favourites, and the 'love-triangle' was a constant source of irritation as well, despite my being prepared for it, but still I quite enjoyed reading them now and again.

Though I admit that I took a break from the series after maybe the first 8 books or so ...and as yet have not felt any great desire to return to them. However, I haven't permanently discontinued the series. It's just that these days I don't have too much time to read so I mainly focus on reading books that highly appeal to me...! :-)


message 5: by Karen (new)

Karen (xKAMx) | 273 comments Randee wrote: "However, I hesitate to get involved in those series where I sense prolonged 'love-triangles'.

I think the operative word is PROLONGED. I don't mind triangles if they get resolved. It's those that continue on and on and on that cause reader fatigue. There'd better be more to a series than that triangle to keep me interested.

Randee also wrote: For example, "The Cupcake Bakery Mystery Series" by Jenn McKinlay is still among my favourites, ...despite the presence of 'love-triangle'..."

The last book I read in this series, Sugar and Iced, made it seem like it was going to be a square before it was resolved. :o)

I wonder how I'd take a series where the protagonist didn't have a "steady," but dated several different men throughout the series. Any like that that anyone knows? The ones I've read pretty much hook up the protagonist with one man by two or three books in. It's always the single sidekick who gets the "action."


message 6: by ❂ Jennifer (new)

❂ Jennifer  (jennevans) I hate love triangles for so many reasons. Really, really hate them.

- when they've been introduced after a relationship has been established it's, in my opinion, a lazy, sloppy way of manufacturing romantic tension because it's too hard to maintain the "romance" in an established coupling

- I despise the male posturing some authors seem to think women like to see - there is nothing at all appealing about watching two grown adult males act like adolescents fighting over legos. Nobody comes out of those situations looking sexy - just ridiculous.

- I don't like when authors introduce a likeable male romantic lead, get me cheering for the HEA and then introduce a third romantic rival (as I point to Jenn McKinlay's books). It makes me feel like I'm being manipulated.

I've just about had it with the cupcake and library lovers series; both of them just make me angry when I read them now. I'll read one more book from each and if they aren't sorted out (and the story telling gets a lot better) I'm done. Life is too short, and my TBR pile is too tall to screw around with books that make me angry.

Having said all of that - there are books/series where I can deal with a short lived love triangle. Mostly when they are introduced from the beginning and I have no attachments to any of the characters. The Headline in High Heels series started with a love triangle and it doesn't bother me quite so much - although the posturing in the latest book irritated me. The Liz Talbot Series (Lowcountry Boil) started with a love triangle too, and it worked well - it was also resolved quickly.

And finally, the exception that proves the rule: I actually like the love triangle in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I hope she never chooses between Ranger and Joe. And I can't actually say why that is or why it works for me - it just does. :)


message 7: by AngryGreyCat (new)

AngryGreyCat (angrygreycatreads) | 660 comments I don't mind love triangles as long as they are realistic, in that 20 books later we are still not in the same love triangle. I didn't mind Hannah Swenson's love triangle in the beginning but after a while it just seemed cruel and a tad ridiculous, that is when I stopped reading that series.


message 8: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments ❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "And finally, the exception that proves the rule: I actually like the love triangle in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I hope she never chooses between Ranger and Joe. And I can't actually say why that is or why it works for me - it just does. :)
..."


I was going to bring the Plum books up, too! I know many don't consider them cozies, but that's where I put them. Regardless of how you classify them, that is one "triangle" that I've never minded. I guess because I've never really considered it a "triangle". Ranger's a bad boy and Stephanie knows a relationship there is never going to go anywhere. Morelli is the rock in that triangle and she knows it. I also don't care if she ever chooses either of them!


message 9: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 32 comments I don't like triangles either but I do like an ongoing near again and far again relationship.


message 10: by Gabrielle (last edited Mar 05, 2015 10:35AM) (new)

Gabrielle (BoundlessBookOwl) If there is romance in the cozy mystery I'm reading I would prefer it not to remain a constant love triangle. I would like the main character, whether it be a man or a woman, to realize that there are probably other people that they could be dating or something while they figure out whatever issues they have with the other two. Also, I would like it to just be the sub-plot unless it somehow becomes an unavoidable influence on the cases at hand.


message 11: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (MsThestral) I'm not a fan of life triangles - too much like teenage angst, which I have SO grown out of. That said, I have read and enjoyed series that have them but only the ones where the triangle is resolved quite early on in the 2nd or 3rd book. I don't read ones where it drags on with no resolution.


message 12: by Beatrix (new)

Beatrix | 4 comments Melodie wrote: "❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "And finally, the exception that proves the rule: I actually like the love triangle in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I hope she never chooses bet..."

I loved Plum series through #11, my favorite, but quit reading after #12. Sick of the triangle and the formula of each book.


message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen Farmer (goodreadscomkarenfarmer) | 1 comments Melodie wrote: "HATE, HATE, HATE triangles!! The fact that Jenn McKinlay has seen fit to put them in both the Cupcake & Library Lover's series is very off-putting for me. I believe they may both be tied up pretty ..."

I am struggling with the Joanne Fluke series now. Love the books except that the love triangle is so unreal. The two men are friends, show up at her house at the same time, and sit down happily for a meal together!? It is beginning to seem like there isn't really a love triangle at all. I am constantly dreading those parts of the books. I haven't quit yet, but I have come very close.


message 14: by ❂ Jennifer (new)

❂ Jennifer  (jennevans) Beatrix wrote: "I loved Plum series through #11, my favorite, but quit reading after #12. Sick of the triangle and the formula of each book. ."

I think I realised right around that same book, #12, that nothing was really going to change in Plum-land and if I kept reading them it was going to be for the comic relief, not character development. Since then, I've viewed them more as literary "I Love Lucy" equivalents - my once a year dip into slapstick. :)


message 15: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments ❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "Beatrix wrote: "I loved Plum series through #11, my favorite, but quit reading after #12. Sick of the triangle and the formula of each book. ."

I think I realised right around that same book, #12,..."


I SO agree on the Plum books! Too say they're formulaic is putting it mildly, but they do make me laugh and that's all I want from them. When my dad passed away last year, the newest book was just the distraction I needed on the flight home. I gave it 4-stars just because of that.


message 16: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 06, 2015 06:34AM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Melodie wrote: "❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "Beatrix wrote: "I loved Plum series through #11, my favorite, but quit reading after #12. Sick of the triangle and the formula of each book. ."

I think I ..."


I am sorry to hear about your father, Melodie.

I realize that the pain of losing a loved one, especially a parent, can never truly leave us, no matter how much time has passed.

However, not only can we continue to remember and pray for our departed loved one, but we can also pray to God for ourselves, to help us deal with our sorrow in such a way, that though we may feel sad, but we be able to prevent our grief from overwhelming us.

May God bless you with strength and patience to deal with your loss (Amin).

Anyway, there have been times in my life as well, when reading a wonderful book has provided me with a much needed distraction from my troubles and sorrow...! And those books have a special place in my heart :-)


message 17: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Barr | 21 comments I'm new to cozies, and haven't yet read one with a triangle. I just finished the first Stephanie Plum, but the triangle hasn't yet developed. I guess I'm a little sorry to read of it here, but it's not a huge spoiler, and I am very far behind in the series. Other than Stephanie Plum, I haven't yet found a series to dive into. It seems every series out there has a few things that annoy someone. Maybe there is no perfect series, which makes it hard to choose where to start.


message 18: by Nell (last edited Mar 06, 2015 10:40AM) (new)

Nell | 1983 comments Mod
It depends on how the author handles the love triangle. In general, I'm not fond of them. Whether I read the series depends on the mystery itself. Is it a good puzzle?

Both Joanne Fluke and Denise Swanson have love triangles in their mysteries. I quit reading the Joanne Fluke several years ago (right after the Christmas cookie one) because the relationship overshadowed the mystery. It felt like an afterthought.

On the other hand, I continued to read Denise Swanson's Scumble River series because they are well-written and the mystery was a strong element. The love triangle dragged on longer than I would have preferred but it was resolved. There was only one book that really annoyed me when Skye made her choice and the disappointed suitor continued to pursue her. It felt too stalker-ish for me.

I thought Bailey Cates handled the love triangle in her Magical Bakery series well. The MC had two men interested in her. By the end of the second book, she had made her choice. The other character still appears but as a friend.


message 19: by Ramla Zareen (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Nell wrote: "It depends on how the author handles the love triangle. In general, I'm not fond of them. Whether I read the series depends on the mystery itself. Is it a good puzzle?

Both Joanne Fluke and Denis..."


Yes Nell, I completely agree about the "Scumble River Mystery Series" by "Denise Swanson". I managed to ignore the prolonged 'love-triangle', because I very much enjoyed the other aspects, including quality writing and satisfying mysteries...! And now that the 'love-triangle' is finally resolved, this series is among my favourites :-)


message 20: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 07, 2015 01:34PM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Though not fond of the 'love-triangles' in general, but I liked the way it was handled in one of the series that I read.

First of all, though the romantic aspect added to the reading pleasure, but the main focus always remained on the satisfying mysteries.

Also, it wasn't a typical 'love-triangle', with two males actively vying for the protagonist's attentions at the same time, and apparently ready to wait their entire life for her to make up her mind...! It was more of a natural transition from one inappropriate relationship to another permanent romantic relationship.

While it's true that the entire situation did create a little suspense, but mostly the readers were prevented from being too attached with the wrong guy.

Moreover, the process was neither unrealistically rushed, nor was it unnecessarily prolonged, and the entire issue was satisfactorily resolved within the first five books :-)


message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 177 comments Lauren wrote: "I'm not a fan of life triangles - too much like teenage angst, which I have SO grown out of. That said, I have read and enjoyed series that have them but only the ones where the triangle is resolve..."

I think I fall into this camp. If I feel like wallowing in teen relationship angst, I'll read some YA (and I do, occasionally, though not often). I prefer adult relationships to be more intelligent, while recognizing that *no one* is at their brightest when falling in love, regardless of age.

Maybe I have trouble with the love triangle because I've never experienced that. Men were never so easy to come by that I ever found myself waffling between two, so maybe it seems unrealistic to me?


message 22: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (MsThestral) Rebecca wrote: "Maybe I have trouble with the love triangle because I've never experienced that. Men were never so easy to come by that I ever found myself waffling between two, so maybe it seems unrealistic to me? "

Yes, it does seem unrealistic. I've read series where almost every male character is interested in the heroine and it just doesn't make sense.


message 23: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 177 comments Lauren, I also got a bit peeved at Dana Stabenow, whose books for the most part I love (except that one...if you've read the series, you know the one no one has forgiven her for), because in a recent book she had these guys that no female seemed to be able to look at without totally losing all ability to control her libido. Kate Shugak, of course, has that same effect on every man who sees her. I can maybe see the latter (though Kate is certainly no conventional beauty), but I don't think women are quite as easily led about by the reproductive organs, at least not after the age of 25.

And, of course, the experience of most of us is that we are lucky to find one man who can't look at us without lusting :)


message 24: by Randee (new)

Randee Baty | 17 comments So if we all hate triangles so much, why do writers keep writing them?


message 25: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Randee wrote: "So if we all hate triangles so much, why do writers keep writing them?"

IMHO, because they're lazy!


message 26: by ❂ Jennifer (new)

❂ Jennifer  (jennevans) Melodie wrote: "Randee wrote: "So if we all hate triangles so much, why do writers keep writing them?"

IMHO, because they're lazy!"


+1


message 27: by ❂ Jennifer (new)

❂ Jennifer  (jennevans) Although, to be fair, it wouldn't surprise me if the editors/publishers prodded some of the authors to add a love triangle under the mistaken belief it will increase the tension and create conflict the readers can get behind. They'd be wrong, but I can see the logic.

And honestly, how many of us perpetuate that mistaken belief by continuing to read the books in order to find out which man wins? I've read a lot of comments over the years about people who "are just reading the next one to see who she picks".


message 28: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments ❂ Jennifer (reviews on BookLikes) wrote: "Although, to be fair, it wouldn't surprise me if the editors/publishers prodded some of the authors to add a love triangle under the mistaken belief it will increase the tension and create conflict..."

You could definitely be right. Editors/publishers aren't particularly well-known for their smarts when it comes to knowing what readers like.


message 29: by Gayla (new)

Gayla Glass (GaylaHambyGlass) I can handle some of the love triangles, but others can just leave me with an emotional hangover. I don't like the emotional hangover and the really intense triangles. At least most of the time. I don't doubt that authors do use them to get people to continue to buy, and well, publishing companies will do anything to sell a book. Another reason that I am very into self published or "Indie Authors".


message 30: by Diane (new)

Diane Vallere Hi All,
This is really interesting. I think the reason the editors/publishers/authors like love triangles is because they create tension aside from the mystery. As a reader, I don't mind them taking place over one book (or even a few), but I do like things to have some kind of resolution.

As a writer, however, they're really tough to continue. Too log and your character starts to look daft!


message 31: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 177 comments Diane, I think that's one of the major complaints about them!


message 32: by Helen (new)

Helen | 1 comments I'm in agreement -- No love triangles, please! In general, I don't really like the romance factor much at all. If it's just a peripheral happenstance in the character's life and part of character development, ok. But I really would rather not hear too much about it. When the partner is a law enforcement officer and the main character is not, I find it irritating to hear a variation of the line "don't stick your nose in this again" in every book I'm a series.


message 33: by Nell (new)

Nell | 1983 comments Mod
Helen wrote: " When the partner is a law enforcement officer and the main character is not, I find it irritating to hear a variation of the line "don't stick your nose in this again" in every book I'm a series...."

I see variations of that fairly often in cozies because the sleuth is usually an amateur. It doesn't seem to matter whether there is any romance between the MC and the police/sheriff.


message 34: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (RDouglass) | 177 comments Well, the problem is inevitable with the amateur sleuth. They ought NOT be poking their noses in. There needs to be a compelling reason for them to do it, and a convincing reason why the police don't bung them behind bars for interfering with an investigation.

I lose patience when the amateur does things that would totally destroy the chain of evidence and get the killer off on a technicality. But it turns out to be a little hard to avoid.


message 35: by Ramla Zareen (last edited Mar 15, 2015 07:20PM) (new)

Ramla Zareen Ahmad | 176 comments Nell wrote: It doesn't seem to matter whether there is any romance between the MC and the police/sheriff.

For some reason, I seem to enjoy it when there is a romance between an amateur female protagonist and a law enforcement officer...!

Helen wrote: When the partner is a law enforcement officer and the main character is not, I find it irritating to hear a variation of the line "don't stick your nose in this again" in every book. "

Actually, I prefer it if the romantic tension is created by this factor, at least in the initial books of the series, instead of by the 'love-triangles'...!

Rebecca wrote: Well, the problem is inevitable with the amateur sleuth. They ought NOT be poking their noses in. There needs to be a compelling reason for them to do it, and a convincing reason why the police don't bung them behind bars for interfering with an investigation

Along with this, I also feel that the amateur sleuth's attitude should be more supportive, rather than competitive, towards the member(s) of law enforcing agency, and he or she should not deliberately mislead them, by needlessly suppressing evidence and withholding relevant information. 

And I do appreciate it when the author manages to achieve all this...!


message 36: by Susan W (new)

Susan W (WriterOne) | 11 comments I don't mind a little bit of any type of romance in a cozy, but, and it's a big but, at no time should it ever overshadow the mystery involved. I'm not much of a romance fan.

An example of a real favorite of mine that has a side romance going on, which is an exception to my rule, is the bibliophile books by Kate Carlisle. I just love the characters, and when I buy into all the characters I'm more apt to enjoy a bit more romance.


message 37: by Sallee (new)

Sallee (terrysallee2attnet) I do sometimes get annoyed when there is a MC involved with law enforcement and the MC does things to put themselves stupidly at risk and perhaps interfere with the investigation. I sometimes think that the law enforcement officer should be harder on the MC. But then, that would ruin the story. I guess I will sometimes be annoyed and as Taylor Swift sings, SHAKE IT OFF! Lol.


message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen (xKAMx) | 273 comments Susan W wrote: "An example of a real favorite of mine that has a side romance going on, which is an exception to my rule, is the bibliophile books by Kate Carlisle. I just love the characters, and when I buy into all the characters I'm more apt to enjoy a bit more romance."

I, too, love that series. I don't know that I'd like it as much without the added nuance of the protagonist's romance. I don't mind and even like/enjoy romance in my cozies. One of the reasons I like cozies is that the people in them seem real (crazy at times, but real), people who could be family or friends. To have those "real" people be celibate is a bit unrealistic (unless we're talking about Sister Mary Helen, Sister Agatha, Father Brown, etc.--and even those books usually have a touch of romance/love with other characters in the story). I don't particularly care for romance novels, but I do love romance/sex/love with my mysteries.

As long as the book--characters, plot, mystery, etc.--is well written and the romance is well written as part of who the characters are, what they do, how they react, it can only add to the story. To have characters that never grow past being introduced as who/whatever in the town can be boring.

I think it all goes back to how well the story is written. Regardless of how long a relationship (or triangle) has worn on, reader fatigue only sets in on a romantic sub-plot when the writing becomes stale or repetitive. That is, when I read (start skipping/skimming) the same lines or scenes over and over book to book is when I get frustrated. Either the romance needs to move forward as the characters do, or it has to go. I don't care how many twists and turns there are (maybe I do...) to the couple finally getting together as long as what is put before me seems realistic (as it can be for fiction) and not just thrown in because even the author is tired of her character's romance(s).


message 39: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Decker | 85 comments I really enjoy when there is some type of romance/relationship between characters as long as it doesn't overshadow the main plot. That being said I would prefer an on-and-off relationship between 2 characters over a love triangle (an exception being for the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke)


message 40: by Mary (new)

Mary (mw8019) | 270 comments Well, then you both should like The Girl On The Train. I read it months ago and still can't get it out of my head. It has all of the things you like in a book.

Mary


message 41: by Melodie (last edited May 08, 2015 12:52PM) (new)

Melodie (MelodieCO) | 638 comments Mary wrote: "Well, then you both should like The Girl On The Train. I read it months ago and still can't get it out of my head. It has all of the things you like in a book.

Mary"


Very unusual book. It was a group read on another board I'm on or I would never have read it. I tend to shy away from the "book-du-jour" type of book. Hated every single character in it, but still felt compelled to finish it. Not quite sure where it fits in with triangles and romance and cozies, though.


message 42: by Laurette (new)

Laurette I don't care much for romance in general. If there's some in a book it's okay as long as the rest of story is good and exciting. But if the whole thing revolves around romance and love triangles and emotional blah stuff, no thanks. :P


message 43: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (NancyJCohen) | 37 comments I like a story having two suitors initially but then I prefer for the heroine to make a decision. I always enjoy a romantic subplot especially when the relationship progresses.


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