It’s Wicked Wednesday, when we all weigh in on a topic. Keeping with our theme of “themes in cozies,” today we’re talking about the toughest theme a cozy tackled that stuck with us, and which authors do it best. So Wickeds, your thoughts?
Barb: I love Susan Santangelo’s Baby Boomer Mysteries– Retirement Can Be Murder, Moving Can Be Murder, Marriage Can Be Murder and Class Reunions Can Be Murder. Santangelo combines a hugely likeable protagonist with a fabulous supporting cast, as well as great voice and writing. She also tackles serious themes about the changes our outsized generation marches through as we age–with a very light touch. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and every book delivers more than it promises.
Jessie: I really like the way Alexander McCall Smith explores cultural changes and what’s at stake when outside values begin to impact communities. His #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books do such a wonderful job of celebrating the positives of traditional Botswana while acknowledging that changes are occurring.
Edith: Julia Spencer-Fleming writes sort of cozy. In her recent One Was a Soldier, she beautifully, painfully, tenderly tackles issues of returning vets from the Iraqi war, among whom is her protagonist, Clare Fergusson. She said she took extra long to write it because she wanted to give veterans the deep and respectful treatment they deserve.
Sherry: I didn’t have to look far to find two authors who I think do this brilliantly, Liz Mugavero and Edith Maxwell. Both of them are passionate not only in their fictional lives but also in their real lives about their topics. For Liz it’s animal rescue and feeding animals organic foods. For Edith it’s local organic foods. Both of them work the topics into their plot lines without being preachy or shoving it down the reader’s throat.
Liz: Aww Sherry, you’re so sweet 🙂 Edith stole my answer – I was going to say Julia Spencer-Fleming as well. She tackles a lot of tough topics with grace and brilliance. And I have to add Barb Ross to my list. She covers inclusion and the struggle of fitting in flawlessly. Similarly, Jessie Crockett tackles one of the toughest subjects ever so well – family.
Readers: Who do you nominate for tackling a tough subject in a cozy, and why?
I’m so proud to be highlighted in this blog post. Thank you so much! I’m counting the days until October 6, when book 5 in the Baby Boomer mystery series, Funerals Can be Murder, will be released by Suspense Publishing.
Can’t wait, Susan!
Aw, thank you, Sherry!
Wow. This is a tough one. I love Julia Spencer-Fleming’s books. She tackles some tough subjects while giving the reader a great story. Another author who some of you may know from Guppies is my good friend, Annette Dashofy. Her debut mystery came out earlier this year and the second one will be released in a few weeks (I read a draft–it’s fabulous!). Annette’s books show the importance of family–whether that family is related by blood or people you kind of adopt as family.
Outside of the wickeds, I haven’t read any of the books you ladies are recommending.
And I am drawing a blank on any I have read who tackle more serious subjects in with their cozy mysteries. Maybe that says something about my reading choices. Or maybe it says something about my brain and whether it is awake yet or not. I’ll pop back in later if I do come up with one.
I thought this was a tough one, Mark. Cozies are usually more about the puzzle and less about an issue.
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Today the Wickeds are talking about the toughest theme a cozy tackled that stuck with us, and which authors do it best.
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