How do readers feel about romance stuck in your mystery story? How much is too much?

Most mysteries I've read that did include romance made me react like I would if I found hair in my soup. (After the ick, I move on, but it's not quite as enjoyable.)

If I wanted to read romance, I would have done so. I want mystery, murder, mayhem. I don't mind characters having relationships, but I don't like mushy stuff.

What about you?

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I think it depends on the story, it's tone and so on.
In most hardboiled crime novels, there is a kind of love interest or sex interest. I agree that it should never be mushy. Sexy and steamy yes (if it's that type of novel) but no place for mush.
Can't say that I've read many crime fiction novels where there was mush, though.
The one that comes to mind since I just read it was "Branded Woman" by Wade Miller. The female lead (who was tough and hard most of the book) gets all distracted from what she wants when she falls in love, after a day or two, with one of the guys. It's obviously the real thing, the loves she's been missing in her life, and she stops thinking with her head at all. Not even a steamy sex scene to make it interesting... (okay the book was originally pubbed in 1952, but still.)

That just about ruined the book for me. I hard trouble finishing because I was so disappointed in how she'd fallen and turned off her brain completely. I know it happens in real life-- but it NEVER happens to male protags. I would like my female protags to keep their stupid heads even in the presence of a man! Okay, rant over. =)
You have me chuckling with that! I guess it is a two tier thing--never thought about it. Yes, the males do stay focused and the women do go a little ditzy over them. I have that book, Branded Women--will have to read it. it's in a pile of "to reads."
I did once in my life get really ditzy over a guy. the WRONG guy. The one your Mom and Grandmother warn you against. values--common sense--I watched them fly right out the window. Eventually, I got my feet back down on the ground and my head too--but it took a while!
oh well! maybe it was fun while it lasted? not too sure.
hmmm.
Frequently the author's gender gets into the way of objectivity. :)
just jumping in here.
very possible! I suppose. Something we should try to prevent I think.
LOL! Yeah, look at the gender of the author, as well as the time period it was written in.

Did you know that there was an old law in one of the States that said that when a woman married, she was essentially declared insane and her husband could take over her property? It has a lot to do with stereotyping, with the way one gender expects that the other is.
Everyone is individual. I love romance in my mystery --- makes it double the fun to read.

I don't like the ones that have hard core sex just thrown in, for no reason, but to say its there.

Deirdre
I don't mind romance as long as there's a good reason for it to be there.
Amen, romance should definitely be subplot but I like it.
Interesting question because how I handle it as a writer is greatly influenced by how I feel as a reader.

As a reader, I find sex scenes frequently slow or halt plot progression and the placement of those scenes often seems forced. I don't need a sex manual. I know how it's done.

As a writer, because I find those scenes intrusive, I don't write them. I focus on the mystery. However, sex and romance are part of my characters' lives so I use them as tools to build relationships and motive.
Janet Evanovich sure has made a ton of dough off her character being hot for two men. At a luncheon with Janet as the guest speaker, the audience was much more interested in talking about the two men (as if they were real) than Stephanie Plum catching any bad guys (criminals, I mean, not the kind of guy mother warned you about).

I think if you want to tap into a wide, romance reader market, that's the way to go. Works for Janet.

In thrillers written by men, I see a love interest plugged in as a way of "raising the stakes" for the male sleuth when his GF winds up in the clutches of the bad guy. These thinly drawn (usually hot, young career women - somewhat strong minded, but ultimately victimized) characters are there more to serve as the "woman in peril" role - and be rescued by the sleuth (in the show down with the bad guy). There's usually a brief sex scene to establish their connection and what "she means to him" which is supposed to get the reader more interested when she's kidnapped by the bad guy, I guess.

Whether it's women writing about a gal who is man-crazy, or a guy writing about "a woman in peril" - neither makes for a complex, well drawn woman character, IMO.
Janet Evanovich-- at least according to Wikipedia-- wanted to write romance mysteries. Which is great for her.

I don't like romance. I'd probably do as well writing it as George Lucas does (esp. in episodes 1, 2, and 3). And I don't care for it in my mystries.

Clearly, some people (many?) like it. Mostly women have responded here saying they like it. And clearly, some people are very invested in their favorite character's love lives.

Would you/ they/ anyone still read a mystery without a love story woven in? Where people are friends without sleeping together? Where dates are a minor part of the plot, not a major one?

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