In praise of cosies!
Today's blog is a little late in appearing. My apologies. I got carried away reading. And talking on the phone. But the main reason is a book called Pushing Up Bluebonnets by Leann Sweeney.
She's part of the panel I'm on at Malice Domestic called 'The Sound and the Fury: Southern Mysteries'. I'm not too sure what the 'fury' part will entail, though. Anyway, I want to be up-to-speed about my colleagues so I'm reading books by each of them.
When I first decided I'd write mysteries I read most of the cosy writers of that time (late 1980's): Carolyn Hart, Nancy Pickard, Susan Dunlap, Joan Hess to name a few. These were writers I'd meet every year at Malice Domestic and I got hooked on their books.
By the time we'd bought Prime Crime Books, I'd expanded my reading tastes to include edgier mysteries, police procedurals in particular, and some thrillers. And I also gravitated to Canadian authors like Eric Wright, L.R. Wright, Peter Robinson and Gail Bowen. The cosies were getting outnumbered every day.
So along comes this contract to write a cosy series. I'm back to devouring these books, in particular the Berkley Prime Crime line to keep on top of what my publisher is putting out. And of course, most of these authors are Americans and the series are set in the U.S. We have two noted exceptions though, Mary Jane Maffini and more recently, Janet Bolin. I've learned a lot from all these authors.
I hadn't read any of the Sweeney series sub-titled, 'A Yellow Rose Mystery', although I'd sold them at the store. The cover was a bit 'cute', the Texas setting was intriguing but still not enough to make me give it a read. And with the number of new books and authors arriving weekly at the store, I had to pick and choose.
So what a surprise to pick this book up, start reading and not want to put it down. It's about a female adoption PI who's smart, caring and a seeker of truth. The other characters are well-drawn. The plot is complex. The dialogue is just that -- how you would expect these people to talk.
The cover screams, "chick-mystery" but sometimes you can't judge a book by it's cover. It's a cosy in that there's no excessive or overt violence or sex. It's well-written. And that's what I look for in a book. I'm caught up in the cosy world once again but don't give them short-shrift.
Good writing is good writing is good writing!
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime