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Romance in Cozy Murder Mysteries
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject: Romance in Cozy Murder Mysteries Reply with quote

A while ago there was a thread about romance in cozy murder mysteries; I think it was started by Anne Marble, but I can't find it, so I'm restarting.

I just read a book called One Bad Apple by Sheila Connolly (not bad - not great, but not bad) and the set-up for the ongoing romance was so obvious I wasn't thrilled about that.

It left me wondering... I'm one of those who enjoy some romance in a mystery, but this was too obviously a set-up for the future books in the series. I think as much as I like romance in my mystery, I really wanted a little more mystery in the romance!

So, I'm reawakening the discussion, if I may, if anyone is interested (Anne?) I've found that though I like a little romance in my mystery, I really think the emphasis needs to be on the 'little'. It's not that Ms. Connolly actually added too much, but it felt a little too obvious.

Does anyone else read mysteries with a romance sub-plot? How do you take your mystery, with one shot of romance, easy on the sweetness and light? Or bring on the sugar?
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Charlotte McClain



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
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Location: Ohio

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm fond of the sweetness and light. Rhys Bowen's Evan Evans mysteries were perfect. He's a police constable in a little Welsh village and she's the school teacher. Her Molly Murphy series is great too, but it's a bit grittier.

ETA: The Liam Campbell series was wonderful too, despite the fact that I read them backwards. But now I'm blanking on the author. Gah!
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love hearing about new series to try! I've never read Rhys Bowen, but I will look up the Evan Evans series.

I never thought about the grit factor... I'm not one for too much grit, either, I guess. I read one historical mystery (I'm blanking on the name) that had a female physician as the protagonist and it was a little too gruesome for me. As good as the writing was, I've never gone back. And I've obviously blanked the title and author from my (failing) memory banks!
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AM78



Joined: 08 Nov 2009
Posts: 202
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy on the sweetness and light.
Date With A Dead Doctor by Toni Bril.Its about Midge Cohen, a scholar of Russian, who writes young adult novels. Midge has a boyfriend but her mother sets her up on blind dates anyway. One such blind date is Dr. Skripnik. He actually only wants Midge to translate a letter. When hes found dead, a gorgeous
detective is sent to investigate. Midge develops a crush on the detective. The romance in the story is subtle.
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Katie Mack AAR



Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 326
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna Lea Simpson wrote:
I read one historical mystery (I'm blanking on the name) that had a female physician as the protagonist and it was a little too gruesome for me. As good as the writing was, I've never gone back. And I've obviously blanked the title and author from my (failing) memory banks!


Was this one The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips?
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Katie Mack AAR wrote:

Was this one The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips?


Nope, never read this one. I keep trying to figure it out. It was set in the States, late-Victorian or Edwardian time period, may have been New York or Boston and is not the Victoria Thompson series.

I'll keep thinking. I've really buried this one deeply; made an impact, anyway.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:17 pm    Post subject: Liam Campbell Reply with quote

Charlotte McClain wrote:


ETA: The Liam Campbell series was wonderful too, despite the fact that I read them backwards. But now I'm blanking on the author. Gah!


Dana Stabenow
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Anne Marble



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did notice that a lot of the books have a potential love interest... and another or two. Often in the first book. Smile So far, I have liked those the best. Smile At least in those cases, you know it well be stretched out, and there can be a lot of fun guessing which one will be The One.

In others, it seems that the poor heroine will get her love interest in one book, only to be alone again -- or seeing someone else -- in the next. I'm not sure if that works for me, either. It's more like real life, but sometimes it makes me wonder if the author can make up his or her mind. Very Happy
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne Marble wrote:
I did notice that a lot of the books have a potential love interest... and another or two. Often in the first book. Smile So far, I have liked those the best. Smile At least in those cases, you know it well be stretched out, and there can be a lot of fun guessing which one will be The One.

In others, it seems that the poor heroine will get her love interest in one book, only to be alone again -- or seeing someone else -- in the next. I'm not sure if that works for me, either. It's more like real life, but sometimes it makes me wonder if the author can make up his or her mind. Very Happy


I guess that's true, Anne, that it's nice to know from the get-go that the heroine will - hopefully - find love. We do worry about our fictional characters!
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bookbug



Joined: 04 Jul 2007
Posts: 300
Location: California USA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Donna Lea Simpson wrote:

Quote:
I read one historical mystery (I'm blanking on the name) that had a female physician as the protagonist and it was a little too gruesome for me. As good as the writing was, I've never gone back. And I've obviously blanked the title and author from my (failing) memory banks!


I was going ask if it was Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death featuring Vesuvia Adelia Rachel Ortese Aguilar. She is a medical doctor of Salerno and becomes a coroner for King John in England.

However I just noticed your post after The Devlin Diary guess, that the book took place in the states in a much later time period. Embarassed

If you ever figure it out please let us know! Gruesome for some I know, but being a nurse I love the history of medicine, healing and even trying to figure how someone died with limited knowledge/testing. Razz

TTFN
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Pop Tart



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nope, never read this one. I keep trying to figure it out. It was set in the States, late-Victorian or Edwardian time period, may have been New York or Boston and is not the Victoria Thompson series.


This may be the P.B. Ryan series with Nell Sweeney and Will Hewitt. I read a lot of mysteries so don't remember these as overly gruesome but my tolerance level is pretty high. There is a great romance between Nell and Will over the course of the series. She is a governess for the Hewitt family but has a checkered past. Will is a doctor who has baggage of his own. These are set in post Civil War Boston.

I like the Victoria Thompson series but wish the romance between the midwife and the detective would move a little bit more quickly. After about a dozen books she and he have barely progressed to a kiss.

Other historical mystery series I've enjoyed that have strong romance threads are Tasha Alexander - first is A Poisoned Season - and Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Gray series - first is Silent in the Grave. The Raybourn books are being offered in a 3-book bundle for the Kindle at 9.99 right now (btw).

For contemporary setting cozy (or amateur detective as I like to call them) I like Earlene Fowler's series with Benni Harper and Gabe Ortiz. In book one of the series (Fool's Puzzle) Benni is fairly recently widowed and has taken a job as curator at a folk art museum. Murder occurs and she meets Chief Ortiz. Very good romance over the course of the books (each of which has a quilt pattern for a title)

An older series by Sophie Dunbar starting with Behind Eclaire's Doors. The couple are Claire and Dan Claybourne and an event in book one makes them have to work on their marriage.

I also like Natasha Cooper's series with Wilhelmina "Willow" King. She is a British civil servant who has a second identity as a romance author. These are a little older as well starting with A Common Death. The books aren't terribly cozy but Willow is an amateur detective. There are several with Willow and her love interest but recent books have segued into the life of Trish Maguire a barrister. She has an ongoing relationship as well but it is a little more in the background.

Stopping now.
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Pop Tart



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 126

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One more:

The Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn. Daisy is the daughter of an aristocratic family in post WWI England. She is trying to support herself and writes freelance articles. The first in the series is Death at Wentwater Court. Daisy is at Wentwater to write an article about the family. Murder is done and she meets Scotland Yard detective Alec Fletcher.

This series is definitely cozy.
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 948

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't remember if there are any murders but The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is the epitome of "cozy mysteries," and there is a wonderful romance as well. So if you're open to non-murder mysteries, give these a try!
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Donna Lea Simpson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 249
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pop Tart wrote:
This may be the P.B. Ryan series with Nell Sweeney and Will Hewitt. I read a lot of mysteries so don't remember these as overly gruesome but my tolerance level is pretty high. There is a great romance between Nell and Will over the course of the series. She is a governess for the Hewitt family but has a checkered past. Will is a doctor who has baggage of his own. These are set in post Civil War Boston.


I think this might be it, Pop Tart! There is a particular scene that got to my stomach, and it was her descriptive powers that did it. I can take blood and guts, usually, but can't stand rotting corpses, maggots, etc. I did finish the book and bow to her ability, but didn't read another.

Nana, I LOVE 1st Ladies Detective Agency books!

Has anyone read Miriam Grace Monfredo's historical mysteries? So good! The ones that feature the suffragette story line... I seem to remember a romantic triangle with the female protagonist, the police man and a Native American?

And where do you think Sue Grafton is going with Kinsey Millhone's current love interest? It's not exactly a 'cozy' series, but I love it anyway. The romance seems more prominent in the last couple of books. Can't wait to read 'U is for Undertow'. This is the first time I've ever considered getting on a library waiting list, because I sure can't afford the hardcover!
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mit89



Joined: 28 Feb 2009
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get impatient with cozy mysteries because I usually want more romance and want the relationship to resolve faster than 8 or 9 books.
I started out loving Victoria Thompson's series but I'm not even going to bother reading the latest because I read somewhere that the relationship doesn't progress. I'll wait until I know something good starts happening again.
There are a bunch of book listed on this thread that I haven't tried though and I'm definitely going to.
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