Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Amateur female sleuths

Thanks to my sister Cheli (she of Cheli's Shelves) --aka Queen of the Cozies, I seem to be picking up quite a few 'cozies' featuring amateur detectives who happen to be female. While I can't handle a steady diet of cozies, I think of them as treats to 'cleanse the pallet' between doses of hefty, heavy, depressing, or horrifying reads. The cozy mystery always has a lovable, almost huggable hero or heroine, a plot that's relatively easy on the brain cells, settings that inspire (in fact I've often thought as I finish one of these that I'd love to visit the scene), and believable, almost happily-ever-after endings.

Here are a few that have tickled my fancy in the past few months:

Sr. Mary Helen in...........

A Novena for Murder
by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie

 A sweet and sassy cozy written by a nun featuring a 70 year old nun as the amateur sleuth.  Sent  against her wishes to her alma mater to "retire,' Sr. Mary Helen finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation, helping a former student who is now a San Francisco police detective find out the who and why.

I went to a school exactly like Mt. St Francis (mine was Mt St Agnes) and our dear Auntie whom you've heard me speak of so fondly lived right where this is set, so I could really relate to this.  Besides, some of the main suspects (and the victim) were Portuguese, so this was a no-brainer for me to pick up and read.  It's not Nobel Prize lit, but it's fun. A nice afternoon's read--perfect for the fog and rain of the San Francisco setting.

 Dead Cat Bounce
by Sarah Graves
"Home Repair is Homicide" Series

This was originally slotted to be a group read by our Read Around Maine group, but that group seems to have dissolved. I decided to read it when I needed something less cerebral than some of the other books on my list. It was actually a delightful little mystery, set in small town Maine, capturing the flavor of the town, the culture of those living by the sea and making their living from the sea. Jacobia Triptee lives in a falling down Victorian house which she is remodeling, has an ex-husband who is the proverbial jerk, and a teenage son trying to adjust to living in a small town after having lived in a big city.

When the dead body shows up in the pantry, and her friend confesses to the murder, Jake sets out to prove her friend innocent. There are several suspects, and the plot is convoluted enough to make it really interesting. This was the first in the "Home Repair is Homicide Series" and I'll definitely look for more.
Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon
by Nancy Atherton

I've read several Aunt Dimity stories before, and enjoy them alot. I've just started this one and suspect that it will be neither more or less pleasant than those before it.  Lori Shepherd, the mother of twins, moves to a tiny village in the Cottswolds, and there makes the acquaintance of "aunt Dimity" --actually a haunted journal who ''writes" to Lori explaining and/or giving clues to the mystery du jour.  The stories are almost non-sensical, but the sense of whimsey and the pleasant English countryside setting redeems them.

1 comment:

  1. I admit, I too am a fan of the cozy from time to time. You are right. sometimes you need a nice break from the heavier stuff.
    But I still hold them to a certain standard. I can't stand 'stupid' books, regardless of the genre.


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