November MysteryCAT: Cozies
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Cozy mysteries are "a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community." They often center on a female (not always) protagonist who acts as an amateur sleuth. There are tons of cozy series (serieses?) that cover all sorts of themes, such as:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
State of the Onion (My favorite cozy series - I hate that it's over)
On What Grounds
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards
Dog on It
Murder She Barked
Murder in the Mystery Suite
Guidebook to Murder
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Abby Cooper: Psychic Eye
What will you be reading for November's MysteryCAT?
I don't read many cozies, but I happened onto a paranormal cozy by Angie Fox last year which I really enjoyed (the first Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery Series), so I'm going to read the next book there, A Skeleton in the Closet.
Two of my favourite cozy mystery series have books coming out in November/released recently, but I probably won't get them from the library in time.
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen, the Royal Spyness series. I'm #14 on 2 copies
The Colours of all the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith, the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, which are barely mysteries, but I still count them as she is a detective. I'm already #6 in line and it isn't even released yet!
I have lots of options, but if I have any ARCs, remaining at the end of the month that fit, those will get priority--then I'll figure out which other ones I want to read.
I have lots of cozies on my shelves so there is a lot of choice. Will see what comes to hand.
My choice turned out to be not much of a mystery, as the two teachers do not do any actual sleuthing and stumble across the solution by sheer accident: Übertrieben tot. Ah well, one more removed from the shelves.
I finished Eaves of Destruction, the 5th book in Kate Carlisle's Fixer Upper series. It's become one of my favorite cozy series, and I'm not really sure why. The mystery of this one was a bit convoluted (most cozies are), but I really enjoyed it.
I'm generally not a huge fan of cozies, but do enjoy the Flavia deLuce series. I've finished book 8, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. I enjoyed this one much more than book 7.
Well, I finished Death Takes Priority but it's not one that I would recommend. One part of the plot line is just plain silly and the mystery is rather predictable.
Started reading Skeleton in the Closet this morning and fell right back into the series and characters--I can't believe it took me this long to pick it up. If you like cozies and you also like paranormal mysteries and/or ghosts, I'm not sure you can go wrong with Angie Fox's Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery series.
I just read Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by P.D. James. I think that this is the first time I have read murder short stories; most of my reading of mysteries has been novels. The stories all had different characters. None of the perpetrators were punished, and most of the murders were just talked about with very little description of the violence involved; there was very little blood and gore. Some of the stories had surprise endings. This collection was published posthumously although all of the stories had been previously published. Two stories were Christmas stories.
Unless I hear that short stories don't qualify for cozies, I'm counting this book for this challenge.
(I also plan to read Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers.
>17 virginiahomeschooler: . Thanks. I thought that it was interesting that none of the stories featured any real detective work although in at least one, police did some questioning.
I finished and enjoyed Tod am Semmering where retired teacher Ernestine Kirsch solves two murders in a hotel on the Semmering pass cut off by a snowstorm. I learned quite a few things I didn't know about Austria immediately after WWI.
Started reading Leper of St Giles last night, and so far have found it mildly entertaining. It certainly does fit this category!
COMPLETED Shards of Murder by Cheryl Hollon
Savannah Webb is invited to be a judge at a local art fair. When she's out running with her dog the next morning she finds the body of one of the winning contestant. As the person who found the body and the last known person to see her alive, Savannah is a prime suspect. She and her friends try to solve the case to clear her name.
I wasn't overwhelmed with the first in this series but I thought I'd give it another chance. I wish I hadn't bothered. Too much exposition, what appear to me to be continuity errors (the same information being given twice in the same conversation as if the first half of the conversation didn't exist, a character who specifically asked to be addressed as Miss Carter and was, then being referred to and addressed as Helen on her next appearance), and the murderer being obvious. **1/2
The Cat Who Could Read Backwards / Lillian Jackson Braun
Qwilleran, a reporter, has taken a job writing an art column at a newspaper, though he knows nothing about art. He moves in underneath another art reporter who has a Siamese cat who he says reads the newspaper… backwards. Qwilleran often ends up taking care of the cat, Koko. Some time after Qwilleran has met and interviewed the owner of a local art gallery, that owner is murdered.
Have to admit I was a bit disappointed. I kept wondering where the cat from the title was! He was introduced about 1/3 of the way in to the book. Then, his name (Kao Ko-K-something); sadly, when I want to shorten a long name like that, I tend to use initials – not so good in this instance. The main character, luckily, shortened it to Koko, but every time I saw the name written out entirely, my head went to KKK. Then, the murder didn’t happen until ½ way through the book. By then, I was also questioning whether or not this was actually a mystery of some type! Anyway, I thought it took too long to get going. Once the murder finally happened, it got a bit more interesting, but I’m going to leave it as “ok” and I don’t have current plans to continue the series.
>23 LibraryCin: I enjoyed the "Cat Who" books at the time they were written; however, there is a definite point where the books began declining in quality. I think I read a later one before I read the first one, having discovered them on a newsstand which only had the latest paperback. I quickly found the rest of the series at the main library in Cincinnati, devouring them. I remember being disappointed in the first book when I went back and read it. I think cozy mysteries begin hitting their stride around the 3rd book. I suspect that was the case with that series.
LOL! Interesting. It seems that different people have different reactions and prefer different ones!
>24 thornton37814: I read all the Cat Who books as they came out, and I agree, I was so disappointed when they went downhill. The last few really did not hang together well.
>27 LadyoftheLodge: I often wondered if it was due to the author's age. I also wonder why an editor didn't insist on resolving some of the issues. I guess they were trying to keep to the once a year publication schedule for a successful series and not doing revisions was their answer.
The first cozy I read for the month was by Dorothy Gilman, the author of the Mrs. Pollifax series, which I love. The Clairvoyant Countess was ok but lacked the sparkle of the Mrs. P novels.
Just finished And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
What can I say about this that hasn't already been said? I love the puzzle aspect of Christie's stories and this one is a classic. In 1939, when this was written, no one else came close to Christie's ability. I first read this when in my early teens. I enjoyed it just as much this time, maybe even more, because this time my version was an audiobook with outstanding narration by Dan Stevens. I'll keep it because I just might want to listen to it again even though I know the ending.
Murder on the Half Shelf / Lorna Barrett
There’s a new inn in town, just about to open up, and bookstore owner, Tricia, and lunch counter owner and Tricia’s sister, Angelica, win tickets to stay one night at the new inn. Unfortunately, no one gets to stay that night, after one of the people running the inn, Piper Comfort, is murdered. She is, of course, found by Tricia. To Tricia’s surprise, it turns out Piper’s husband is someone Tricia used to date, and everyone thought he was dead!
This was good. I enjoyed it. I listened to the audio, and it was done well. For now, at least, I’ll continue on with the series (although I’m not impressed with Tricia’s newest employee!).
>32 LibraryCin: Maybe I should try that series in audio if it's available that way. It might work better for me.
>33 thornton37814: I think this is the first of this series I've done on audio. I don't think they are outstanding in either format, but I have enjoyed them enough (so far) to keep going. To be honest, though, it took me quite a long time to finally pick this one up!
>34 LibraryCin: I haven't been crazy about the print versions. They may drive me crazy in audio, but I can give them a try if available on Overdrive or RBdigital.
>35 thornton37814: I got mine through Overdrive via my library. True, it doesn't hurt to give it a try to see what you think!
>36 LibraryCin: If it's in our collection. I'll check when I need a new audiobook.
ETA: The next in series is on my Overdrive wishlist. It just hasn't been available, and I haven't placed a hold on it.
>37 thornton37814: Good luck! Hope you like it a bit better than the print (or ebook) format!
Nearly finished with As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust . Good old Flavia.
One last cozy for the month, Played by the Book the fourth book in the Novel Idea Mystery series. The life of Lila, literary agent, and supporting characters continues to hold my attention so I will continue the series.
As I finished one of the novels in this omnibus in November I'm going to count it even though I finished the other at lunchtime on 1 December.
COMPLETED Agatha Raisin and the First Two Tantalising Cases by M. C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
Agatha Raisin cheats in a village baking competition by using a shop-bought quiche. Unfortunately when the judge decides to eat her quiche at home he ends up dead, poisoned.
I didn't find this as funny as the TV version, but that may be down to circumstances. Perhaps it just doesn't mesh with life in the tropics in the way it does with Christmas telly in the UK. I found it more enjoyable when the coffee shop started playing Christmas carols.
Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet
A handsome vet opens a surgery in the village, much to the delight of the female population. So, when he turns up dead from an injection meant for a horse there are plenty of suspects.
Although I'm enjoying the main characters, the minor ones are not differentiated enough and so nearing the end of this one I found I'd forgotten who was who amongst the suspects, which is not what you really want in a mystery.
I read The Dead Ringer by M.C. Beaton. It wasn't up to the rest of the Agatha Raisin series, which I do enjoy. This mystery was loaded with copy editing errors.
>47 mathgirl40: Any excuse is good for watching Midsomer Murders!
>48 Familyhistorian: Indeed! It's been a long time since I've watched the first season. I'd always liked Troy in the series but in the novel, he's a rather unpleasant character!
>49 mathgirl40: I agree, I didn't like BookTroy at all while TVTroy is a sweetie.
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