Cozy Mystery — Second Titles

Cozy Mysteries — Second Titles

coverTitle: Aunt Dimity’s Death
Author:
Nancy Atherton
Main Appeal Factors:
Cozy, no violence (actually, no murder!), supernatural, English country cottage
Mystery Subgenre:
Cozy
Annotation/Thoughts: Lori Shepherd grew up listening to tales of Aunt Dimity as told to her (and her stuffed rabbit, Reginald) by her mother. Grown up Lori is down on her luck in every way – divorced, jobless, poor, and orphaned after her mother’s death – and realizing that the real world is nothing like the one from Dimity’s adventures, when she is contacted by a mysterious law firm. Lori learns not only that Aunt Dimity was real, but that her influence on Lori’s life is just beginning. A true cozy – for readers who want a sweet, gentle, Cinderella-ish story full of quirky, engaging characters and irresistible settings.

coverTitle:  Steamed
Author: Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant
Main Appeal Factors: humor, chick lit crossover appeal, characters, culinary
Mystery Subgenre:
Cozy
Annotation/Thoughts: Discovering a murder victim on a first date can be very upsetting. Chloe Carter, a 20-something foodie living in Brighton, finds this out as she tries to make her cheating ex jealous with a guy she found on an online dating site who turns out to be a jerk. All isn’t lost as the chef at the restaurant is extremely hot. However, he also happens to be the prime suspect.
Steamed is half chick lit, half culinary mystery. Humor and recipes –along with a murder – make it a cozy, but the first-person voice, a sprinkling of spicy language, and the romantic comedy aspects make it chick lit. Both the romance and the plot move quickly. It’s set in the city, but within the “small town” environment of restaurant chefs and restaurant owners who all know each other, so you get the cozy vibe from that, along with the culinary appeal.

Away_with_FairiesTitle:  Away with the Fairies
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Main Appeal Factors: Pacing, Setting, Character/Life of Phryne
Mystery Subgenre:
Cozy
Annotation/Thoughts: Away with the Fairies by Kerry Greenwood is a period book that takes place in Melbourne, Australia in the 1920s. There are 2 plots, the primary (cozy) plot which involves the murder of author/illustrator Miss Lavendar, and the secondary plot involves the disappearance and eventual rescue of Phryne’s lover, Lin Chung, who does not return from a trip to China. Phyrne’s character is well established as a wealthy, independent and intelligent woman who knows her mind. She has a great house and wardrobe and her loyal staff helps with her investigations. The staff is introduced as the series evolves and their personalities and histories add to the setting. This is the 13th book in the series and it was written in 2005.  Phryne is asked to find the person who murdered Miss Lavender. The possible suspects include Miss Lavender’s neighbors and the staff at woman’s magazine where Phryne signs on as an editor in order to learn about the staff inconspicuously. Phyrne becomes the victim of several physical attacks while following clues which point to Miss Lavendar’s murderer. After contact with Lin Chung’s family, she sets out to find him, resulting in another adventure. The point of view is mostly through Phryne but other characters give voice for short periods of time. This is not a total “cozy” since there is a bit of language and a sex scene, but there is no overt violence or vulgarity.

cover imageTitle: Designated Daughters
Author: Margaret Maron
Main Appeal Factors: Quirky Characters, Humor, Southern Culture
Mystery Subgenre:
Cozy
Annotation/Thoughts: Judge Deborah Knott comes from a very very large extended family in a small town in North Carolina. She is the daughter of a bootlegger and the wife of a deputy in the town police. Everyone knows everybody’s business. The “mystery” involves the death of her 80+ year old dying aunt from suffocation just as she was beginning to reveal some of the very old secrets she’d kept all these years. All the clues are there, but the culprit was still a surprise. The other mystery — and the title — has to do with scamming elderly people. 1st book in the series is The Bootlegger’s Daughter.

Title:  The Body in the Atticcover image
Author: Katherine Hall Page
Main Appeal Factors: Author was coming to the Sandwich Library last month.
Mystery Subgenre:
Cozy
Annotation/Thoughts:  I tried to read Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan, but the characters weren’t very well formed.  Then I tried The Body on the Beach by Simon Brett, set in England. The language was too stilted to be cozy and the main character lacked a personality. But I kept trying, and actually finished The Body in the Attic by Katherine Hall Page. I selected it as the author was coming to the library and it was set in Boston/Cambridge. Set in Aleford, a small town west of Boston, and in the city, the characters move between their home and the city where the husband is taking a summer sabbatical with an inner city church. Too much history of the area that didn’t contribute to the story line and the description of the abuse/rape suffered by a character seemed too much for a cozy mystery. I would try another mystery by this author.

coverTitle: Shadows on a Cape Cod Wedding
Author: Lea Wait
Main Appeal Factors:  humor, fast pace, suspense
Mystery Subgenre:
Cozy
Annotation/Thoughts: Lea Wait’s book is the 6th in her Antique Print series. She writes about a variety of antiques including prints, her specialty. There is information about authentic baby reborn doll making. This is enough for the reader who may not care about the mystery of two dead Cape Cod residents, one who is deaf.
There are several disabled characters: a wheelchair-bound post-polio bride, her groom’s nephew with Down syndrome, and the deaf woman. They are all conveniently associated with Maggie Summer, an antique dealer who has come to the Cape for the wedding of her best friend, Gussie White, owner of Aunt Augusta’s Antiques. Of course, Maggie catches the attention of the Chief of Police and his glamorous young wife and the reader must wait until the end of the book and a raging hurricane to find out why.
The story could have used more information about the relationship between Maggie and her boyfriend, who appears as an aside to the main themes of wedding and murder. Maybe there is more in her previous books. All in all, this book is a satisfying read for fans of local Massachusetts scenes and gentle mysteries without a lot of graphic murder and mayhem.

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