Edith here, dealing with the long dark nights of December by using lots of lights. I’m so
She’s giving away a copy to one lucky commenter, too. Take it away, Triss.
But Is It Cozy?
Good morning! I lived in New England in my twenties, always thought I’d go back, have vacationed there often and we are seriously looking into Vermont as a retirement home. So – what fun to be a Wicked for a day.
I believe the cozy is just a variant of the traditional amateur sleuth mystery. Small communities where people know each other, crimes that are personal, not random street violence or gang wars. They are about the evil behind the nicely painted front door, not the evil that walks the mean streets with a weapon.
Over the last couple of decades, there has been a very popular trend further in that direction, with stories often set in workplace that have a quaint or cute component. Food is often involved. Or pets. Especially cats. Or crafts. Punning titles. When it works, the contrast between that setting and the crime should be even more powerful.
Does it have to be in a quaint village? Does it have to have cats? Or cupcakes?
My books take place in the Big City. And Erica, my heroine does not cook much – there is always pizza – does not have pets, but does have a teen-age daughter. Brooklyn, her native turf, has gone through huge social disruption in the decades I have made it my adopted home. Lots of built-in conflict here, every day.
Can I call them “urban cozies?” Or perhaps “soft boiled?” The usual urban landscape, those mean streets, does not have a home for characters (or readers!) who live in a big city but are not Philip Marlowe. Or Harry Bosch. Or Matt Scudder. Who do not even know anyone like Matt Scudder.
Long ago I worked for the public library system. They liked to move us around and what I observed was that the different neighborhoods were a lot like small towns. Each one had its own atmosphere, history, quirks, and fears. I am using that to write mysteries set in
And someday I will send Erica on vacation, to see what crime looks like in the Green Mountains or the Cape Cod shore. Where people say “wicked” as a compliment.
Readers, what do you think? Can Triss make the term “urban cozy” work? What do you think of the concept of “soft-boiled” mysteries?”
Triss Stein is a small–town girl from New York farm country who has spent most of her adult life in New York the city. This gives her the useful double vision of a stranger and a resident for writing mysteries about Brooklyn neighborhoods in her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. In the new book, Brooklyn Secrets, , Erica find herself immersed in the old and new stories of tough Brownsville, and the choices its young people make.