Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#152) -- Mystery Stories

Since you write the adventures of a pulp detective, what's your favorite and least favorite kind of mystery story?

I love a good mystery story, but, that said, I really am not at all fond of what's called a "cozy" mystery. What's a cozy? Mrs. Marple and her ilk. Sweet little old ladies or polite Belgium gentlemen who solve bloodless mysteries without ever really having to face genuine danger along their path to finding the killer. They seem more an exercise in intelligence (like a puzzle) than in action or crime-stopping.

What I really enjoy reading when I want a mystery is either a good police procedural like the amazing 87th Precinct books by Ed McBain or something pulpy and gritty (noir-ish) like the Raymond Chandler private eye tales and the ones being published by Hard Case Crime. In both of these types, not only do we get the inside scoop on the brains of the poor saps stuck with solving the crimes, but also that immediate sense of danger and life-threatening risk along with some mud to wallow through along the way.

For the record, I also enjoy some of the supernatural detective fiction as well, particularly Jim Butcher's Dresden books and Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series.