Friday, September 7, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#219) -- Why Not Cozies?

Why don't you like "cozy" mysteries?

For those readers who aren't sure what a "cozy" mystery is, think Agatha Christie. Cozies most often have amateur sleuths--bored housewives and sweet little old ladies typically--who bring their noses into other people's business and solve murders. To be fair, they also feature well-mannered investigators such as Hercule Poirot who can solve bloodless murders and wander in and out of crime scenes with complete impunity. And people who own a cat; I almost forgot them. (There are exceptions to this, I know, but I'm making a point, so don't get your boxers or bikinis in a bunch.)

"But they're so relaxing and fun to read. Why don't you like them?" you may ask.

For me, something about them just smacks of fake. Call me jaded but I like some blood in my murders. I want my main characters to be in every increasing danger the closer they get to solving the mystery. I like to see my mystery solvers have to jump through the hoops and work around the cops (rather than having the cops be more or less a public library for investigators). For me, a mystery shouldn't merely be a puzzle to be solved but an adventure to be survived.

Some of the best for those who want to experience my kind of mysteries:

- Of course my own The Ruby Files story in Vol. 1
- Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels
- Ed McBain's Matthew Hope novels
- Just about any Hard Case Crime thriller
- the Parker series
- Anything by Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, or Raymond Chandler
- A new favorite, No Business for a Lady by James Rubel