One of the groups I belong to on Facebook put the question out there recently – any recommendations for “cozy” gay mystery? The best suggestion was Charlie Cochrane’s Lessons series, which I enjoy very much – but I never thought of as cozy.
I’ve also had reviewers refer to the Jamie Brodie books as cozy – but I never thought of them as cozy either.
Here’s the Wikipedia definition: “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.”
Okay – I do downplay the sex in the Jamie books. But there is violence, especially at the end of Psyched to Death. And I’d hardly call Los Angeles or UCLA a small, socially intimate community.
“The detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs” (yes) “and frequently women” (obviously not).
They do list “librarian” as one of the often-held jobs of the amateur detective in the cozy mystery, and the protagonist has a contact on the police force. Jamie has Kevin, so that fits.
“The murderers in cozies are neither psychopaths nor serial killers.” Um – not to give too much away, but Stacked to Death does not meet that criterion.
“The supporting characters are broadly drawn and used as comic relief.” Not usually.
“Cat-lovers are well represented among the ranks of cozy-mystery detectives.” Jamie’s allergic. You will never see a cat in his books.
“Avoidance of explicit sex and violence, emphasis on puzzle-solving over suspense, a small-town setting, and a focus on a hobby or occupation are all frequent elements of cozy mysteries.”
Okay – I can see the reviewers’ points. And, no less an expert than Josh Lanyon himself says that the Jamie stories are cozies – so cozies they are!
I guess I had an instinctive objection to Jamie’s stories being referred to as “cozy” because, as a rule, I don’t like cozies. There are exceptions – but a little small-town eccentricity goes a very long way with me.
What do you think?