According to Wikipedia (and are they ever wrong?):
Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as "cozies", 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.
Since its launch on October 6, The Sound of Murder, the second book in the Ivy Meadows Mystery series, has received all kinds of love (4.5 out of 5 stars with 24 Amazon Reviews).
The small, socially intimate communities in these mysteries are the casts and crews of the theater companies with whom Ivy performs.
The first book in the series, Macdeath, begins with Ivy on her way to an audition.
Like every actor, I knew Macbeth was cursed, that death and destruction and all manner of bad things happen during the show. You’d think I would’ve remembered this the day of my audition.
“My name is Ivy Meadows, and I am an actress!” Yuck. I grimaced at myself in the rearview mirror and started up my car. I felt stupid doing these affirmations, and especially stupid when I did them badly. I was an actress, dammit, albeit one who didn’t make a living at it, yet. Bob always says it’s just a matter of time before someone recognizes my beauty, worth, and talent. Bob’s my uncle, not my boyfriend. That’s an affirmation for another day.
"This is so fun! Even if you're not into Shakespeare, you cannot help but be pulled into this story of a struggling actress trying to make good. The production of Macbeth is a hoot. Even if the reader knows nothing of the play, one couldn't miss the absurd approach to it by the director. Ms. Brown has given us a protagonist filled with flaws, but flaws she faces as they rear their ugly heads. This makes her very real and, frankly, slightly noble. I understand this is Ms. Brown' first novel. I think she has a promising writing career ahead of her."
Rebecca decided to take a break from her best-selling thriller witness series to write some lighter romantic comedies. Though not strictly cozy mysteries, fans of the genre should enjoy this series, too.
Here's our introduction to her protagonist from The Day Bailey Devlin's Horoscope Came True (4.9 out of 5 stars with 16 Amazon Reviews).
My first time?
Frankly, it wasn't what I hoped for.
Actually, the whole thing was downright disappointing.
Now that I'm older, though, I can see that it was partly my fault that things turned out the way they did. My mistake was expecting so much. I was very literal when I was young. I was also hopeful, full of girlish anticipation that, one day, life would magically explode and shower me with wonderfulness. I was going to get all the good stuff because I was an eye-scrunching, breath-holding, hand-clasping believer in the goodness of the universe. But that Tuesday, at seven in the a.m., on a very ordinary morning, I wasn't even thinking that anything life-changing was about to happen to me, Bailey Devlin.
Amazon Reviewer: "Rebecca Forster hits it out of the park with her new Bailey Delvin series. Romantic comedy doesn't get any better than this. The characters are so fully developed, the storyline is delightfully unpredictable and the heroine is completely lovable. What really makes this book special is the vividly drawn tertiary characters. Every one has a backstory that could fill its own book. Download the whole series. You won't be disappointed."
The small, intimate community of Secrets, Lies and Champagne Highs (4.8 out of 5 stars with 10 Amazon Reviews) is small-town Central Oregon. Jeanette set out to write a thriller, but a funny thing happened along the way. Here's her explanation:
"In the back of my mind, all the time I was writing the thriller, I was thinking about a story about an older woman whose life has tumbled down a pit. And when she tries to take the easy way out, she fails. Then she meets some great people and some crazy people. Lots of crazy people. These odd balls were a whole lot more fun to write about than the serial killer.
So here we have Claudie, plunked down in a household with a scheming wife, a precocious teenager, and dealing with a deranged woman accusing her of murdering the woman across the street. Throw in a huckster posing as a spiritual guru and the meth entrepreneurs and I had the recipe for a fun romp. I hope you agree."
In his Amazon review, All Classical FM host/mystery-writer Ed Golberg writes, "Jeanette Hubbard’s novel, Secrets Lies and Champagne Highs, is a smart and funny book. It begins with a botched suicide that leads to big changes.
A gentle, but pointed, social satire, it relies not on grotesque exaggeration to make its case but only a slight inflation of the truth. The characters most driven by ego or greed are the ones whose lives are the most disrupted. And, the punishment always fits the crime.
There are also naive nice people who make out just fine, with the help of not-so-naive characters. And, the wind-up is emotionally satisfying."
Since it's bow on October 13, the response to Guaranteed to Bleed, the second book in Julie Mulhern's Country Club Murders has been ecstatic (4.9 out of 5 stars with 54 Amazon reviews). During the launch of this second book in the series, her first book, The Deep End (4.6 out of 5 stars with 137 Amazon reviews) shot to the Number 1 slot in Cozies at Amazon. Shortly after that, Julie got the news that she was a USA Today Best-Selling Author. Exciting.
Here's our introduction to Ellison Walford Russell from The Deep End.
Kansas City, Missouri
My morning swim doesn’t usually involve corpses. If it did, I’d give up swimming for something less stressful, like coaxing cobras out of baskets or my mother out of bed before ten.
Watching the sun rise over the seventh green is often the best part of my day. I dive into the pool while the water is still inky. When the light has changed from deepest indigo to lavender, I break my stroke, tread water and admire the sky as it bleeds from gold to yellow to pink. It’s a ritual, a metaphorical cleansing, a moment of stolen peace.
After all, I have a teenage daughter, a mother with strong opinions, a Weimaraner named Max who plots to take over our house on his path toward world domination, and a husband. Much as I’d like to, I can’t leave him out.
One Amazon reviewer wrote: "I really liked the heroine of this story. She was absolutely a child of privilege, but one who is trying to break out of the mold. She is a really funny lady and her daughter and mother are hoots, too. The murders are plausible and so is the solution - these are things that can make or break a murder mystery for me. I loved that I enjoyed the story and got to laugh my way through the book."
Thanks to everyone who picked up a Kindle copy of Last Heartthrob. I don't know if Portland counts as a small, intimate community, but the book purposely downplays sex and violence because I was trying to give this modern noir an old-school, Hays Code era feel.
In November, I started presenting the second Walter Forbes/Jane Greer investigation to the Wednesday Night Critique Group.
Walter Forbes still hasn't decided whether taking on information security for a presidential candidate will prove to be more than he can handle. Spoiler alert. It probably will. Otherwise, where's the fun?
Stay tuned. The Kindle Edition of Last Heartthrob is available at Amazon.
Next week we look at some suspenseful romance and supernatural New Orleans.
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