Cozying Up to Mysteries

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by. Today I’ve got Nancy Haddock on the blog talking about cozy mysteries.

Here’s Nancy!

About a year ago, my hubby became interested in reading again. He’d read all of Dick Francis’s series in the rather distant past, and he’d read Joan Hess’s Maggody series. But with all the traveling he did for his job, he didn’t have tons of time to enjoy books.

Well, when he announced he wanted to read some of the mysteries I’d been reading, an ant could’ve knocked me flat. Baseball season was still in full swing, football season was about to hit hard, and Hubster wanted to read?!?

While the choir of reading angels sang in my head, I explained his options and the differences between cozy mysteries and grittier work—wherein, for instance, murder victims might be described in more graphic terms. I mentioned Robert Crais, Robert B. Parker, Jan Burke, and other authors, but, no. Hubster wanted cozies. He even specifically told me he was up for the romantic interest elements.

Let me tell you, I went nuts picking out books for him— those I’d read but hadn’t yet recycled to the library. Hubster started his new reading frenzy with the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton, and flew through most of those. However, he liked the Dimity books so well, he decided to space out the last four in my stock pile. Immediately, I stacked more of my favorite cozies by his reading chair. Some of those selections packed the pages with humor, others were more serious. Some books held paranormal elements, others were set in mundane worlds. Some of my saved favorites were decades old, some were brand new, first-in-the-series books. Know what? He enjoyed them all.

By now, we had our own little cozy mystery book club going. Hubster would tell me what he did and didn’t like about the stories, and, wow, was he picky! He’d also tell me if he deduced the identity of the killer (or perpetrator), and we began discussing the plots, methods of murder, and characters.

Which brings me to a specific point. It’s been said in the past that romance is written in a pat formula. It’s also been said that mysteries are even more formulaic than romances. To those statements, I say, yeah, yeah, whatever. A good plot is important, but truly, in any story, isn’t it all about the characters? Are the characters drawn as relatable? Are they interesting, quirky, consistent, compelling? Do they grow—within a single book and within a series? The biggest question of all is: Do we enjoy the characters enough to come back for future visits to their story world?

After a year now, it’s not just me eagerly awaiting bookstore coupons. Hubster is right there, going over the list of read books we created (and that he, bless him, put on a spreadsheet). We haul our coupons and list to the bookstore to find new releases by authors we like, and to search for new series—those just beginning, and those we’ve overlooked. (Hubster’s found several previously overlooked series by paying attention to author quotes on covers!)

It’s actually painful when we go a few weeks without store coupons, but we also scour used bookstores and online bookstores for inexpensive reads, and have found yet more authors/ series new to us in these ways. In fact, though I have a Nook and quite like it, Hubster is getting a Kindle for Christmas. That way if Amazon has a book on sale we want but Barnes & Noble doesn’t, we still score!

I continue to read grittier mysteries than Hubster, and enjoy thrillers as well. Then again, I read a great deal faster than Hubster, so I also read romance, urban fantasy, nonfiction, and anything else that catches my attention. But in the realm of cozies, I’m having more fun than I could’ve imagined with my Hubster and our little book club. More, his comments about the authors we most love have inspired me to pay even more careful attention to my own writing—to the plots and to those all-critical, keep-the-readers-coming-back characters!

As I close, I send a big thank you to Cindy for hosting me, and I pose a question to Cindy’s readers. If you read cozies, who are among your favorite authors? Do you have a favorite series? Inquiring minds want to know! Whatever your genre of choice, happy reading!

Nancy will give away a signed copy of one of her books (winner’s choice) to one lucky random commenter within North America.

Nancy’s books are available here:

Nancy’s books on Amazon

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Entangled, A Paranormal Anthology, is also available at Smashwords

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Website: www.nancyhaddock.com
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Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6233405-nancy-haddock

Cindy here! Wow, Nancy’s everywhere! Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win a copy of one of Nancy’s books.

About Nancy

Nancy Haddock is a national bestselling, award-winning author who writes paranormal mystery romance with a comic touch. Her Oldest City Vampire trilogy, La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire, and her short story “Medium Rare” in the charity paranormal anthology Entangled, all showcase the history, sites, ghosts and events of St. Augustine, Florida—the city she loves and prowls for more stories every chance she gets. Visit Nancy’s web site at www.nancyhaddock.com.

Until next time…

Cindy

21 thoughts on “Cozying Up to Mysteries

  1. Jennie Bentley

    LOL, my darling, I saw the blog and thought maybe you’d started writing cozies. But you’re just reading them? 😉

    My hubby adores Agatha Christie. She’s the original cozy writer, I guess. I can’t get him to read my books, but he’ll read hers. Hmph.

    One of the best cozies I’ve ever read is Donna Andrews’s first, Murder With Peacocks. If you haven’t, it’s highly recommended. I enjoyed the first few Dimity mysteries, too. I tend to fall back on the classics, though. My fave is Ngaio Marsh. Police procedurals, British, so maybe they don’t fit the current definition of cozy, but they’re definitely traditional mysteries. If you haven’t, you should give them a try. I think hubby might approve!

  2. Nancy Haddock

    Hi, Jennie! I’m so happy to hear from you! Did you make it to St. Aug this year? Sorry I had to miss you!

    Guess what!? I am turning my hand – er, keyboard – to cozies! What fun! I still enjoy Dame Agatha, and I love Donna Andrew’s series. I also, of course, love YOUR mysteries! Hubster does, too! Thanks for your recommendations of more mysteries, too! It’ll be such fun to buy more books! :mrgreen:

    Have a fabulous week, dear heart!

    Light,
    Nancy

  3. Jennifer August

    How interesting, Nancy! I, too, just started reading cozy mysteries and I’m delighted by the list you’ve given. I will look for them.

    Good for the Hubster for reading again. What a wonderful thing!

  4. LA Sartor

    Nancy, I just love that your husband has been open to reading new genres and even developing a passion for it. Nice to share like that. I have a cozy series starting someday, and I’ll wait with baited breath to see what he and of course, you think.

    I love cozies. I’ll check out the titles listed. Maybe I can my hubster to read them, and then MAYBE, he’ll read my books, cozy or not 🙂

    Hugs
    LA

  5. Vicki Batman

    Hi, Nancy! I love mysteries. Cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. When I found Dick Francis, I found my chocolate.

    One series that I love is by M. C. Beaton. Set in Scotland, and features a red-headed policeman.

    So happy Hubster found a new love!

  6. Nancy Haddock

    Hi, Jennifer! My list of authors is reeeeally long, but I’m happy you’ve picked up some suggestions. And thanks for your congrats on Hubster reading again. It is VERY cool!

    Hope all is well with you, and thank you for coming by today!

    Light,
    Nancy

  7. Nancy Haddock

    Hi, LA! I’m excited about your new release, DARE TO BELIEVE, and I know I’ll love your cozies, too! Thank you for coming by to visit today, and have an excellent rest of your week!

    Light,
    Nancy

  8. Nancy Haddock

    Hi, Vicki! Wow, you’re so busy today with a blog and an interview, and yet made time to stop over. Thank you!

    I love M.C. Beaton, too, and am just getting Hubster started on those. One of our favs is PJ Alderman who writes a fun and funny cozy with ghosts. Many ghosts. We do love the humor, and the paranormal in our mysteries. 😀

    Congratulations again on your new release, STORE WARS. I’m thrilled for every bit of your success!!

    Light,
    Nancy

  9. Karen Frisch

    I can’t get enough of Ann Purser, British cozy author. She writes the Lois Meade series (Lois owns her own cleaning business) and the Ivy Beasley mysteries. She has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. I grew up on Nancy Drew and still pick them up on occasion to see if I can entice my daughters to read them. Nancy, I will check yours out also!

  10. Debi Murray

    Hi Nancy!

    I love cozies as much as I love paranormals. Some of my favorites include:

    Denise Swanson’s Scumble River series. MURDER OF A SMALL-TOWN HONEY is the first book.

    Deb Baker’s Gertie Johnson series which is set in the UP. MURDER PASSES THE BUCK is the first book in that series. Deb also writes as Hannah Reed with the Queen Bee Mystery Series. BUZZ OFF is the first book in that series.

    I also love Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series…The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the first in that series. This series is more like Conan Doyle’s first SH series, not strictly a cozy, but good none-the-less.

    Julie Hyzy’s Manor House series and White House Chef series are both awesome.

    These are just a few of my favorites…I could go on for days!

  11. Nancy Haddock

    Hello, Karen, and thanks for stopping in to comment! I’ve not read Ann Purser, but will check her out. Oh, and though my Oldest City Vampire trilogy books are mysteries, they are mystery-romance. I’d love for you to check them out if you’re so inclined!

    Have a fab rest of your week!

    Light,
    Nancy

  12. Nancy Haddock

    Debi! Thank you so much for visiting, and for all your recommendations! I’ve read some authors and series you mentioned, but not all of them. Yippee, more books to snag!

    LOL about going on for days. I’m with you! I hesitated to share my list, only because I’m sure I’d forget authors. And that would NOT do! 😀

    Can hardly wait until Feb. so I can see you here in the Oldest City! It’s gonna be a gas! Until then, take good care!

    Light,
    Nancy

  13. Neringa

    Nancy,
    As always, entertaining and inspiring….
    Does hubster know how lucky he is to have you?
    And how many characters of yours has he inspired, huh?

    Continue to shine…

  14. Nancy Haddock

    Ah, dear Neringa! You are amazing! Have you submitted those scripts yet?

    Hubster has inspired bits of characters, and his parents inspired the characters of Cesca’s neighbors. That was fun!

    Keep rockin’ – even through the packing – and I’ll hope to see you again soon! We have to have that brainstorming weekend!

    Light,
    Nancy

  15. Dale Morin

    Nancy, How are you? Followed over from facebook. Just order your book for my kindle. The first one in the vampire series. Looking forward to reading it.

    Enjoyed reading your blog! Miss you!

  16. Nancy Haddock

    Dale! I’m great, and how are YOU? It’s fabulous to hear from you!

    Hope you’ll enjoy La Vida Vampire, and thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the blog. Hubster is a tough critic, and it’s been a learning experience to get his views.

    I REALLY want to see you again for gabbing and big hugs, and hope that’ll happen sooner than later. Take good care!

    Light,
    Nancy

  17. Nancy Haddock

    I had two private messages, and may post both (without names). The following contained reading leads, so I had to post it.

    From J: “Two oddball “cozy” whodunits I’ve overdose on in the past include Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael (Crusader turned Monk) series and the ancient ( 1030’ish AD) works of/by Judge Boa Gong. He was a traveling magistrate – no slouch with a sword) who REALLY got to the bottom of murders on his territory. They made a great counter-point from working hard news on the Palm Beach crime. I envy anyone who has NOT read them, for the joy they will bring.”

    I’ve responded privately to J.

    Nancy

  18. Nancy Haddock

    Cindy, as my time here comes to a close, I thank you again for your hospitality! Dear readers, if you even need an online class in Social Media – or other subjects – be watching for Cindy’s classes. She’s an amazing writer, and an incredible teacher. Rock on, Cindy!

    Light,
    Nancy

  19. Gaelle

    Happy reading too Nancy. I was just checking out your books on Amazon and I loved them. I will have to get them and read them.

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