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Cozy or Hardboiled?

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  • miketooney49
    On the Criminal Brief blog, Steven Steinbock references a faultline in mystery/detective story writing that has been a commonplace for eight or nine decades;
    Message 1 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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      On the Criminal Brief blog, Steven Steinbock references a
      faultline in mystery/detective story writing that has been a
      commonplace for eight or nine decades; it only reinforces
      the ancient Latin truism: DE GUSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM EST.
      But people will insist on confusing fact with opinion,
      will they not?

      http://criminalbrief.com/?p=532
    • vegetableduck
      I d love to read the actual Penzler article, but the New York Sun archive doesn t seem to extend back that far. Seems to me it continues the traditional male
      Message 2 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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        I'd love to read the actual Penzler article, but the New York Sun
        archive doesn't seem to extend back that far.

        Seems to me it continues the traditional male dismissal of female work
        that has been going on since women began writing novels! I haven't
        read any of the cozies at issue, but can he only name P. D. James and
        Ruth Rendell was worthwhile women writers? I assume there is some
        middle ground between them and, oh, Lillian Jackson Braun?

        Of course this impacts the GA, because a great many of those books now
        are designated "cozies," a designation I'm doubtful would have pleased
        the actual authors.

        Curt

        --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "miketooney49" <miketooney49@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > On the Criminal Brief blog, Steven Steinbock references a
        > faultline in mystery/detective story writing that has been a
        > commonplace for eight or nine decades; it only reinforces
        > the ancient Latin truism: DE GUSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM EST.
        > But people will insist on confusing fact with opinion,
        > will they not?
        >
        > http://criminalbrief.com/?p=532
        >
      • Steve Steinbock
        I hope that my Criminal Brief column didn t give anyone the wrong impression. No one should be drawing up the battle lines. The Mystery/Crime genre is a big
        Message 3 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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          I hope that my Criminal Brief column didn't give anyone the wrong
          impression. No one should be drawing up the battle lines. The
          Mystery/Crime genre is a big umbrella, and we can all fit beneath it.

          While in *general* women readers tend to choose a different set of
          books than men, it would be a mistake to draw a line down the
          bookshelf. Modern readers tend to lazily lump Cosy and Traditional
          mysteries together. That's a mistake. Christie was the best known
          exemplar of both, but that doesn't make them the same.

          A "traditional" mystery, if I had to define it, is one in which the
          hero solves the case using intellect (rather than brute force, dumb
          luck, or intelligent cats). A few Traditional mystery writers include
          R. Austin Freeman, H.C. Bailey, and John Dickson Carr. Bill DeAndrea
          did it, too. Peter Lovesey pulls it off. Bill Pronzini can write
          stories in a Hard-Boiled style, but with Traditional plotting.

          Who are some of the other contemporary authors writing Traditional
          mysteries?
        • pharrin107@aol.com
          In a message dated 2/1/2008 1:08:13 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, stevo1@maine.rr.com writes: I hope that my Criminal Brief column didn t give anyone the wrong
          Message 4 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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            In a message dated 2/1/2008 1:08:13 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
            stevo1@... writes:

            I hope that my Criminal Brief column didn't give anyone the wrong
            impression. No one should be drawing up the battle lines. The
            Mystery/Crime genre is a big umbrella, and we can all fit beneath it.

            While in *general* women readers tend to choose a different set of
            books than men, it would be a mistake to draw a line down the
            bookshelf. Modern readers tend to lazily lump Cosy and Traditional
            mysteries together. That's a mistake. Christie was the best known
            exemplar of both, but that doesn't make them the same.

            A "traditional" mystery, if I had to define it, is one in which the
            hero solves the case using intellect (rather than brute force, dumb
            luck, or intelligent cats). A few Traditional mystery writers include
            R. Austin Freeman, H.C. Bailey, and John Dickson Carr. Bill DeAndrea
            did it, too. Peter Lovesey pulls it off. Bill Pronzini can write
            stories in a Hard-Boiled style, but with Traditional plotting.

            Who are some of the other contemporary authors writing Traditional
            mysteries


            Thank you, thank you, for making the distinction between "cozies" and
            "traditional" mystieries. I hope that I'm writing traditional mysteries, not
            cozies with tea and lace doilies, and dumb luck. I have an amateur sleuth,
            Bridget O'Hern, but she's intelligent not insipid, I hope. She gets involved with
            murders linked to what she does in her professional life: consult with
            nonprofit organizations (which is what I do . . . write what you know.)

            To my mind, that enables me to get Bridget into interesting places and
            working with people or groups typically not known about by the average reader.
            And I think the typical mystery reader is intelligent and likes to close the
            book feeling they've found out something new and interesting while enjoying the
            challenge of figuring out "whodunit."

            My first novel, Death Stalks the Khmer, takes place near Seattle. After a
            Khmer refugee couple are found shot and killed in their apartment., Bridget is
            asked to be a liaison between the investigating police and the Seattle
            Cambodian community, In order to solve the murders, the police have to better
            understand about the Khmer culture. And Bridget becomes the bridge to that
            understanding.

            I'm pleased, also, that Death Stalks the Khmer has been made required
            reading by two college professors at different universities. They even required
            students to write papers on the book as it related to what they were learning
            in class. I also was asked to give presentations with Q & A before the
            classes. They were on social work and intercultural communication..).

            The subtext of the second book in the series, Death Comes Too Soon, set on
            the Oregon Coast, is about mental health--bi-polar--actually. Timely, I guest
            in light of the brouhaha about Britney Spears and her sad situation.

            Thanks for letting me vent a bit.

            Pat H.



            Patricia Harrington, Mystery Author/Grant Writer
            Blog: _mysterywritingmusings.blogspot.com_
            (http://mysterywritingmusings.blogspot.com/)

            _www.patriciaharrington.com_ (http://www.patriciaharrington.com/)




            **************Biggest Grammy Award surprises of all time on AOL Music.
            (http://music.aol.com/grammys/pictures/never-won-a-grammy?NCID=aolcmp003000000025
            48)


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • harrydevlin
            I d like to think that my two series, set in Liverpool and the Lake District respectively, are traditional mysteries updated to reflect contemporary society.
            Message 5 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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              I'd like to think that my two series, set in Liverpool and the Lake
              District respectively, are traditional mysteries updated to reflect
              contemporary society. Others may disagree, but I don't think that's
              a contradiction in terms. Over the years, I've tried my hand at
              dying messages, impossible crimes and all kinds of ways of hiding
              clues in plain sight, with a variety of fair play plots and one book
              that was a homage to Christie. I'm not saying I succeed in my aims
              every time, but I do try. Mysteriously, my books have been described
              as both 'cosy' and 'hardboiled'. I'm not convinced they are either.

              Martin Edwards
              website: www.martinedwardsbooks.com
              blog: www.doyouwriteunderyourownname.blogspot.com/





              --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Steinbock" <stevo1@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > I hope that my Criminal Brief column didn't give anyone the wrong
              > impression. No one should be drawing up the battle lines. The
              > Mystery/Crime genre is a big umbrella, and we can all fit beneath
              it.
              >
              > While in *general* women readers tend to choose a different set of
              > books than men, it would be a mistake to draw a line down the
              > bookshelf. Modern readers tend to lazily lump Cosy and
              Traditional
              > mysteries together. That's a mistake. Christie was the best known
              > exemplar of both, but that doesn't make them the same.
              >
              > A "traditional" mystery, if I had to define it, is one in which
              the
              > hero solves the case using intellect (rather than brute force,
              dumb
              > luck, or intelligent cats). A few Traditional mystery writers
              include
              > R. Austin Freeman, H.C. Bailey, and John Dickson Carr. Bill
              DeAndrea
              > did it, too. Peter Lovesey pulls it off. Bill Pronzini can write
              > stories in a Hard-Boiled style, but with Traditional plotting.
              >
              > Who are some of the other contemporary authors writing Traditional
              > mysteries?
              >
            • vegetableduck
              Hi, Steve, my comments were just in reference to the Penzler article. It seemed from the excepts gven to go out of its way to set up this battle of the sexes
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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                Hi, Steve, my comments were just in reference to the Penzler
                article. It seemed from the excepts gven to go out of its way to
                set up this battle of the sexes dynamic. But you can have
                hardboiled male hacks who write tripe, as well as more domestic-
                centered women authors who write good books. Some of Penzler's
                comments remind me of how Barzun and Taylor's Catalogue of Crime
                uses the word "feminine" as a damning adjective. Of course, I'll
                admit my own taste does not center in books that spend more on the
                antics of cats, for example, than the details of crimes.

                Another interesting thing is how P. D.James in some quarters now is
                being dismissed as Humdrum or Cozy. It shows how these definitions
                can change over time.

                Curt

                --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Steinbock" <stevo1@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > I hope that my Criminal Brief column didn't give anyone the wrong
                > impression. No one should be drawing up the battle lines. The
                > Mystery/Crime genre is a big umbrella, and we can all fit beneath
                it.
                >
                > While in *general* women readers tend to choose a different set of
                > books than men, it would be a mistake to draw a line down the
                > bookshelf. Modern readers tend to lazily lump Cosy and
                Traditional
                > mysteries together. That's a mistake. Christie was the best known
                > exemplar of both, but that doesn't make them the same.
                >
                > A "traditional" mystery, if I had to define it, is one in which
                the
                > hero solves the case using intellect (rather than brute force,
                dumb
                > luck, or intelligent cats). A few Traditional mystery writers
                include
                > R. Austin Freeman, H.C. Bailey, and John Dickson Carr. Bill
                DeAndrea
                > did it, too. Peter Lovesey pulls it off. Bill Pronzini can write
                > stories in a Hard-Boiled style, but with Traditional plotting.
                >
                > Who are some of the other contemporary authors writing Traditional
                > mysteries?
                >
              • Sandy Kozinn
                ... Presumably they are also not hardboiled (like eggs) and then set under the tea cosy to keep warm? These quarrels about definitions remind me of the title
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 1, 2008
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                  >Mysteriously, my books have been described
                  >as both 'cosy' and 'hardboiled'. I'm not convinced they are either.
                  >Martin Edwards


                  Presumably they are also not hardboiled (like eggs) and then set
                  under the tea cosy to keep warm?

                  These quarrels about definitions remind me of the title of a grad
                  seminar I noticed in college back (a long time ago) when I was an undergrad.

                  "What is the Meaning of 'Meaning' ? " The story went around that
                  they got nowhere in the entire semester, being unable to properly
                  define "meaning" in the first place.

                  Sandy
                • Jon Jermey
                  McCloy, Helen - A Change of Heart (1973) In 1934 schoolboy friends Lee and Laurie make a solemn vow: they will meet at the Crane Club in Manhattan on Lee s
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 9, 2008
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                    McCloy, Helen - A Change of Heart (1973)

                    In 1934 schoolboy friends Lee and Laurie make a solemn vow: they will
                    meet at the Crane Club in Manhattan on Lee's fiftieth bithday.

                    Thirty-eight years later Lee is a widowed translator working for a
                    multinational congolomerate run by another school friend, Justin Carew.
                    On the afternoon of his fiftieth he sets off to meet his friend and
                    finds himself drawn into a web of robbery and bloodshed. Returning home,
                    Lee has a stroke which renders him unable to communicate, and the
                    unscrambling of the event and Lee's involvement with it is left to his
                    daughter Girzel -- who still inexplicably loves him despite his giving
                    her that awful name. And there is a romance, though fortunately an
                    unobtrusive one.

                    The book gets off to a slow start and is padded with unoriginal homilies
                    on twentieth-century life. Plot devices, like the stroke, creak with
                    age, and the resolution is dull and puts it all down to the convenient
                    scapegoat of corporate wickedness, which it assumes is capable of
                    anything, no matter how mean or implausible. At sixty-eight McCloy may
                    have been running out of ideas: certainly there is nothing about this
                    book to suggest that its author had already had a long and distinguished
                    career in GAD fiction.

                    A potboiler.

                    Jon.
                  • Jon Jermey
                    Wallace, Edgar - The Man at the Carlton (1931) Lew Daney is a cunning and successful criminal, the first true English gunman. But Daney is not all bad; once he
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 9, 2008
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                      Wallace, Edgar - The Man at the Carlton (1931)

                      Lew Daney is a cunning and successful criminal, the first true English
                      gunman. But Daney is not all bad; once he saved Mary Grier from a knife
                      attack by a madman. Mary Grier now works at Clench House in Scotland as
                      secretary to the miserly Mr Arkwright, and Mr Arkwright's nephew and
                      heir is 'Tiger' Tim Jordan, an ex-Colonial police officer now holidaying
                      in England and seeking work with Scotland Yard. Jordan doesn't get much
                      of a holiday but he does get the job, after proving his mettle in
                      pursuit of a murderous criminal.

                      Published in the last year of Wallace's life, The Man at the Carlton
                      shows signs of overwork and illness. The underlying plot is sound but
                      there is indecisiveness as the story lurches from one line to another.
                      The murder rate is higher than in most Wallace books -- including some
                      of the most interesting characters -- and by the end the shortage of
                      remaining suspects makes the outcome fairly easy to deduce. There is
                      little of Wallace's characteristic humour and none of his affectionate
                      descriptions of London and the Thames, or indeed of Scotland. For
                      collectors only.

                      'The Man at the Carlton' is available for download from Project
                      Gutenberg Australia.

                      Jon.
                    • Jon Jermey
                      OTR is having a sale on old-time detective radio shows which ends Feb 15th. New arrivals include: Philip Marlowe -- 107 shows on 2 CDs -- $9.00 Dame Detectives
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 10, 2008
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                        OTR is having a sale on old-time detective radio shows which ends Feb
                        15th. New arrivals include:

                        Philip Marlowe -- 107 shows on 2 CDs -- $9.00

                        Dame Detectives - Rare Female Crimefighters -- 35 shows on 1 CD -- $4.50

                        Hardboiled Detectives -- 80 shows on 2 CDs -- $9.00

                        Softboiled Detectives 54 shows on 1 CD -- $4.50

                        A complete listing can be found at
                        http://www.otrcat.com/detective-c-107.html

                        Jon.
                      • Jon Jermey
                        Charteris, Leslie - The Saint On the Spanish Main (1955) Six longish Saint adventures set on various islands of the Caribbean, with plots ranging from
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 23, 2008
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                          Charteris, Leslie - The Saint On the Spanish Main (1955)

                          Six longish Saint adventures set on various islands of the Caribbean,
                          with plots ranging from conventional to highly implausible. Simon
                          Templar is in good form romancing the natives, foiling crooks and
                          detecting scams, with his usual scorn for authority and occasional
                          self-references (one to 'that man Charteris who writes about me'). The
                          body count is relatively low and Patricia Holm is nowhere to be found.

                          "The Arrow of God", the shortest story in the collection, is set on
                          Nassau and approaches a GAD story, though a very lightweight one: there
                          are obvious references in it to GK Chesterton, including the title.

                          Jon.
                        • Jon Jermey
                          Daniel, Glyn as Dilwin Rees - The Cambridge Murders (1945) Slow-moving, rather long-winded cosy about murder in a Cambridge college. The body of a porter is
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 23, 2008
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                            Daniel, Glyn as Dilwin Rees - The Cambridge Murders (1945)

                            Slow-moving, rather long-winded cosy about murder in a Cambridge
                            college. The body of a porter is found first, apparently shot as he made
                            his rounds; a second corpse turns up somewhat later, stuffed in a trunk.
                            It is the second man who provides the mainspring of the investigation,
                            as he proves to be a most unpopular character, and no fewer than three
                            investigators are required to find his murderer: the local Inspector
                            Whyndham, the Scotland Yard intruder Robertson-Macdonald and the amateur
                            sleuth and college Vice-President Sir Richard Cherrington, himself a
                            suspect. The painstaking investigations back and forth are clearly
                            modelled on those in the Freeman Wills Crofts books, although a large
                            dollop of snobbery and sexism is added on top: this noble-minded young
                            graduate couldn't possibly be serious about marrying that empty-headed
                            shopgirl!. Unfortunately, once given his suspects Daniel can find little
                            to do except bumble back and forth between them until the murderer is
                            eventually run to ground.

                            Quite readable for a first novel, especially to those who want to learn
                            about Cambridge college routine, but overlong at 287 pages and with
                            nothing special to recommend it.

                            Jon.
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