Re: RARA-AVIS: Unrelated question:Hardboiled Mystery -- the health and welfare of ...

William Denton (
Thu, 16 Jul 1998 17:49:56 -0400 (EDT) On Thu, 16 Jul 1998, `ki wrote:

: What does pro-cozy mean? Sorry, I just don't know. And when I
: don't know, I ask. :p

Cozies are the opposite of hardboiled. The typical old cozy would
have the vicar finding a body in his sitting room; some poor chap had
been served poisoned tea. There are clues: a sewing needle, a train
ticket, a spot of ink on a homburg, and the fact that the cat didn't
shed fur. Since murders happen every week in this small town, and
everybody hasn't fled, and they're still only protected by an
incompetent police inspector and his bungling yet lovable uniformed
constable, they call on the decrepit old thing who always solves their
murders. It's all wrapped up nicely at the end when the amateur
detective gathers everyone in one room and lays it all out. The
murderer doesn't make a run for it, or shoot anyone, just nods sadly
and gives up.

Modern cozies seem to happen a lot in New England, and often involve
pets and recipes (one I found at random: "When a dinner guest of
Eugenia Potter is found poisoned, supposedly from Mrs. Potter's famous
twenty-seven-ingredient chili, the flabbergasted hostess knows she
must act quickly before someone else is murdered.")

A pro-cozy bias would mean the magazine is slanted in favour of these
tiresome books. The editor probably needs to go reread Raymond
Chandler's essay "The Simple Art of Murder."

This list, by the way, is a no-cozy zone, in case you didn't know. If
you've grown addicted to them and want to get the monkey off your
back, one each of Hammett, Chandler, Spillane, Thompson, Willeford,
Ellroy and Cain should do it.


William Denton | Toronto, Canada | | Caveat lector.
            "Let's keep the party polite."

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