Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The fever for “cozy mystery” novels

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The ideal reader of a “cozy mystery” novel would be the one who wraps up in winter with a blanket, in front of the burning fireplace , while sipping a steaming cup of tea and abandons himself to reading a “friendly”, cozy police adventure. , homely, which is the translation of this type of “cozy mystery” novel, whether romantic or crime.

Of the first, the best exponent would be the disturbing “Rebecca” (1938) by Dafne Du Maurier and of the second Agatha Christie and hers “Murder on the Orient Express” (1934). For some time now, with the rise of crime novels, whether riddles or their new postmodern variants, interest in a type of old-fashioned detective fiction has revived: the classic “whudunit” or enigma novel in the one that the reader wonders “Who has done it?”.A historical genre that had its heyday in the 20s and 30s with detectives like Hercule Poirot and Perry Mason .

Unexpectedly, perhaps the reader fed up with so many serial killers, shrewd inspectors who psychologically profiled these monstrous predators and female detectives with Asperger’s, female authors appeared, since it is a typically female genre, who have recovered the genre of the “cozy” novel, that that once again pose an unsolvable enigma. Novels nestled in small towns in the English countryside , starring older women who are fond of solving a crime committed in these small communities where everyone seems to be murderers.You don’t have to be a lynx to find the historical reference for these older amateur detectives, when not in their septuagenarians, in Agatha Christie’s famous Miss Marple and GK Chesterton’s intuitive Father Brown. Miss Marple had numerous interpreters in the cinema, the best, Margaret Rutherford, and, already in the 80s, the actress Ángela Lansbury, who would play a double of this endearing and analytical old lady in “Death on the Nile” (1978) and after The nosy detective’s worldwide success played Jessica Fletcher, a whodunit writer with a fondness for solving murders on the television series “Murder, She Wrote” (1984-94). The veneration for Miss Marple and her “crossovers” is the foundation of the revision of this fashion.But who are the new authors who have brought the genre of “cozy mystery” back to life? The first, Marion Gibbons (1936-2019), a veteran with hundreds of novels to her credit, who wrote her popular Agatha Raisin series under the pseudonym MC Beaton, an impertinent fan of solving criminal enigmas whose model would be an updated avatar from Miss Marple. Of the thirty written titles, the first three have been published in Spain. This extremely popular English writer, MC Beaton , died three years ago and left behind numerous romantic and mystery novels.following the “cozy mystery” style of Agatha Christie, of whom she was a devoted follower. In the first: “Agatha Raisin and the lethal quiche” (1992), this fifty-year-old retiree, cynical and playful, has bought a “cottage” in a charming village in Costdowns, where the author lived. With it we enter fully into the friendly but poisoned world of Agatha Christie’s rural England, the unsympathetic, idyllic-looking village of Carsely, where murderous housewives so deadly they kill with a hemlock-poisoned spinach quiche. The author of her has a dynamic sense of humor and with very British ways she makes fun of that semi-rural society with cheeky cheek.

Another classic gentleman crime writer is Canadian Louise Penny, whose “softboiled” mystery novels, as opposed to the classic hardcore novel, feature retired Inspector Garmache, who lives in the small mountain town of Three Pines, populated by a small community of eccentric retirees. To date, Louis Penny has published thirteen novels centered on this bizarre micro-universe, which, behind its friendly and familiar appearance, reveals an atrocious background. However, Penny manages to ensure that the latent violence never spills over and the mystery is solved with a good dose of humor, typical of the new batch of enigma novels with retired detectives. This is another characteristic of the current policeman, that the detectives get old, retire and even suffer fatal prostate diseases and cancers like Wallander, Bosch and Montalbano.

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