Friday, July 16, 2010
Delicious and Suspicious
The Tart Gets Cozy
When I first started blogging, I was looking for an agent for my main stream/suspense book. I was making friends with all sorts of writers, and I was learning just how much I DIDN'T know about the genres out there.
It possibly is truly beautiful that I first heard the term 'Cozy Mystery' from Elizabeth. Oh, once they were described I knew I'd read a couple (typically enjoyed them), but I hadn't known 'mystery' distinguished this way.
And not knowing, was PART of why I didn't really have a feel for whether I liked mystery or not—sometimes I LOVE it—sometimes I find it dry and boring... I guess it boils down to how much HUMANITY is in there. Unlike CSI, which on television, I can watch with fascination, I don't really WANT a ton of forensic technicalities in my reading. I think it's because on TV I can SEE what they mean, so I can 'get it' but when something is described without a visual, it is WORK WORK WORK, and if I am going to WORK that hard at reading, I prefer a literary book. Give me a dead Russian.
And PI books tend to have such isolated MCs. I like some of them—read The Big Sleep recently—that was decent... there is a woman who writes a female cop in England that I really like, though can't remember who I'm talking about, but the WOMAN seems real to me, and the books involve things like having to deal with racist accusers pegging the wrong person... so it is social issues and such... I just like the tone. But I am NOT interested, for the most part, in the heavy drinking single man PI.
COZIES though, have clues that can be spotted without a PhD, and a puzzle comparable in difficulty to a Sudoku (which sometimes I can do and sometimes I can't, so I keep trying), and CHARACTERS that are colorful, often funny, and have a hysterical mix of quirks and baggage. It is mystery meets soap opera, and I LOVE it.
I had a chance to read this little gem early. Elizabeth was truly FABULOUS with some guidance when I was doing my Cozy Audition, and one of the things she let me do was READ her pre-published Cozy...
I fell in love right away with Lulu, owner of 'Aunt Pat's' a restaurant touting the best barbeque in Memphis. Aunt Pat's has been in the family for a long time—Lulu literally grew up in the kitchen helping her Aunt Pat, and now one son works the pits, her daughter in-law waitresses, and her other son has recently returned to town and is helping out with book keeping. Even her twin granddaughters help out—a real family affair.
The book opens as the group is preparing for a talent scout from the Food Channel, who is going to do a FEATURE on the best barbeque in Memphis, and they badly want to be chosen (believe they DESERVE to be chosen)
See... the trouble is that talent scout is a B word that one would never USE in a Cozy Mystery... Shrew might work... her specialty is belittling just about everybody and she treats a WHOLE MESS O' people REALLY ROTTEN... erm... then she dies.
Aunt Pat's in addition to the family running the place has a variety of colorful customers—the old men musicians, the romance writing spinster, the art gallery owner next door, and... (these are my favorite) the GRACES.--One of the Graces is even a Tart!
But you really should just read the book to find out.
Now I KNOW some of you have gotten it and read it, but there are OTHERS of you still waiting for it, so I would LOVE to have a book discussion, but PLEASE no spoilers!