C’mon, Let’s Get Cozy!

Okay, it’s ’fess up time. I like cozy mysteries. There—I said it—this big bad former Marine who writes hardboiled mysteries enjoys curling up on the sofa with a cup of hot tea and losing myself for a few hours in the Land of Cozies. Uh, make that my recliner, and scratch the tea. And make it a cold beer or three fingers of single malt Scotch instead. There, now I’m all set and ready to enjoy!

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As a change of pace I thought today I would show my feminine side (can I do that?) and feature a few of my favorite cozy authors and their books. And so, in no particular order here are a few of my favorite cozy authors and series.

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Connie Archer, aka, Connie di MarcoMs. Archer is the author of THE SOUP LOVER’S MYSTERY series, starring Lucky Jamieson, her grandfather Jack, and a crew of delightful and sometimes quirky secondary characters. Set in the beautiful ski resort village of Snowflake, Vermont, Lucky is not always so lucky when it comes to bodies dropping dead near the Soup Shop, the quaint but busy café she inherited when her parents were killed in an automobile accident. The SOUP LOVER’S MYSTERY series include A Spoonful of Murder; A Broth of Betrayal; A Roux of Revenge (gotta love that title!); Ladle to the Grave; and A Clue in the Stew.

These titles can be found on Connie Archer’s Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2aeWrTl

Connie’s new series (written as Connie di Marco), the ZODIAC MYSTERY series, features San Francisco astrologer and amateur sleuth, Julia Bonatti. The first book in the series, The Madness of Mercury, was released in June 2016, and promises to be as entertaining, if not more so, than Connie’s other series. You can find The Madness of Mercury here: http://amzn.to/2a51ROv

Sandra Balzo 1                  sandra balzo 3

Sandra Balzo, author of the MAGGY THORSEN MYSTERY series, and the MAIN STREET MYSTERY series. Maggie Thorsen owns Uncommon Grounds, a gourmet coffee shop in the small Wisconsin town of Brookhills (the shop’s name also happens to be the title of Ms. Balzo’s first book in the series). The “shocking” death of one of Maggy’s partners launches her co-career as an amateur sleuth. Books in the series include: Uncommon Grounds; Grounds for Murder; Bean There, Done That; Brewed, Crude and Tattooed; From the Grounds Up; A Cup of Jo; Triple Shot; Murder on the Orient Expresso; and To the Last Drop.

Ms. Balzo’s MAIN STREET MYSTERY series is set in Sutherton, a resort town located in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. Our protagonist is feisty reporter-turned-sleuth AnneLise Griggs. Titles in the series include: Running on Empty; Dead Ends; and Hit and Run.

Both of Sandra Balzo’s fun and entertaining series can be found at her Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/29XuTmw

cathy pickens 2                   cathy pickens 3

Cathy Pickens’ SOUTHERN FRIED MYSTERY series is set in Dacus, a small fictional town located in the Upstate region of South Carolina. Our heroine is Avery Andrews, attorney-at-law (as is our author). Avery has just been fired—through no fault of her own—from her dream job with a large, big city law firm. Deflated, Avery returns to her roots and opens a small practice in her home town. It’s not long before events occur which propel the lawyer to take on the added responsibilities of amateur sleuth.

One reason this series first caught my attention is that I now live in the general area of the series’ location. I have a pretty good idea of where the fictional Dacus is (very close by!), plus as Avery travels the countryside sniffing out clues, it’s fun to figure out her “real” destinations. This well-written and enjoyable series includes: Southern Fried; Done Gone Wrong; Hog Wild; Hush My Mouth; and Can’t Never Tell. Alas, there have been no other SOUTHER FRIED MYSTERIES released since 2009. I fear Ms. Pickens has turned her attention elsewhere. This series can be found at the author’s Amazon page: http://amzn.to/2av6YJb

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Anne George’s SOUTHERN SISTERS series is a hoot and among the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. Unfortunately, the author passed away in 2001, so the eight books she left us is all we have. But what a fun and laugh-out-loud legacy Anne George left for readers to enjoy over and over again. Our heroine, Patricia Ann Hollowell (nickname, Mouse) is a petite, quiet natured, retired school teacher of sixty. She’s been married to Fred for many years, and theirs is a stable and loving relationship. Co-heroine and older sister Mary Alice Crane (nickname, Sister), is sixty-five, boisterous, weighs in at two hundred (plus) pounds, wears bright, eye-catching outfits, and regularly dyes her hair outlandish colors. Together, the siblings would make a terrific Hollywood comedy act.

“Sister” has recently buried her third husband (each dearly departed spouse happened to be very rich, leaving poor Mary Alice with more money than she knows what to do with). With the news that Mary Alice has just closed the deal on a country-western oriented nightclub (the “Skoot ‘n’ Boot”), the two sister sleuths are launched headlong into their first caper when a body turns up dead inside Mary Alice’s latest investment. Based in the Birmingham, Alabama, area, the action sometimes shifts to the coastal Florida panhandle, in and around Destin. All-in-all, if you enjoy your mysteries with snappy dialogue, a biting but loving relationship between sisters, and well-crafted stories, Ms. George’s SOUTHERN SISTERS series will fill your bill nicely.

Books in the series include: Murder on a Girls’ Night Out; Murder on a Bad Hair Day; Murder Runs in the Family; Murder Makes Waves; Murder Gets a Life; Murder Shoots the Bull; Murder Carries a Torch; and Murder Boogies with Elvis.

Anne George’s funny and appealing cozies can be found at her Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2afBsgm

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So there you have it, some of my favorite cozy authors and series. Of course there are several others I could have deservedly listed, but time/word restraints and laziness prevent me from doing so. What are some of your favorite cozy mysteries, authors, or series? I’d sure like to hear from you. Hey, I’ll bet you can come up with some gems that have slipped my attention. So, click that “reply” button and fire away. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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17 thoughts on “C’mon, Let’s Get Cozy!

  1. People are entitled to enjoy whatever novels they like, Michael, Marine or not. And you know, there are some great cosy series out there. Thanks for mentioning these. You may also like Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef series, Elizabeth Spann Craig’s series (she writes three, one under the name or Riley Adams), and there’s Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse mysteries. There’s plenty out there!

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  2. Thanks Margot. Yes, I’ve heard of all three. I follow Elizabeth’s blog (when I can). I simply am too busy these days to do much reading for pleasure at all (drats!). My opening paragraph was meant to be “tongue-in-cheek.” 🙂

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  3. These titles are all hilarious I got a good laugh from reading them. I found what I believe is sort of cozy first on TV in a series of Nero Wolfe mysteries. I liked the TV productions a lot and found the books at the library and read them all. I loved all Nero’s quirks like he won’t leave the house unless disaster strikes, thinks cars have a life of their own and don’t obey the driver, he fights with his chef over the smallest gourmet items and they really get mad. He is an orchid freak and the third floor of his house is devoted to a huge collection – one body was found after fumigating them- and he won’t talk to anyone during his orchid time. He has rituals about meals and is considered a genius. All the legwork goes to his go-to-guy Archie who is very attractive but not the type to settle down. He hates being interrupted during reading and I think fears women. I can’t remember many of the plots because he is so funny. I was going through some strange period and looking for things to blot out reality and that was perfect. I’d like to see the TV stories again as the settings are terrific and Archie gets to wear one of those hats, noir hats I think I will call them. Also Nero is really grumpy and gets annoyed a lot. All fun time. I was really sad when I’d read them all. Imagine a Marine reading a cozy, what a thought! Shocking. It was a really funny opening paragraph. The tea was a good touch.

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  4. I think more men should read cozies and probably a lot more do than they admit to. 😉 My favorite cozy author is Maddie Cochere. She is funny and her characters are believable. She has several series out and I believe is now working on another different series.

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    1. One good thing about reading cozies (and other books starring women) is that a male can pick up on, and learn things from the woman’s perspective. I really think this helps me when I bring female characters “to life.” Good examples of mine are Kate Bell and Dakota Owens, two regular characters in my Mac McClellan series. I really like both of them, although they’re different as night and day. Thanks, Jackie, I’ll have to give Maddie Cochere a try. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Elena. It’s fascinating what you can learn from reading other works. I like to keep a pen and notepad handy when I read. I’ll often jot down a particular “this or that” for possible later use in my own writing. Of course I don’t use such things verbatim, but there’s no harm in changing them up a bit and using the “core” of what you learned from another source.

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