Oh, no. Cozies sell very well indeed. Most readers are women. And many of them are middle-aged or older. They like cozies. Some of it is familiarity, because they grew up with Christie and Sayers. Some is that cozies are ladylike. Some is that the cozy world is safe. For an older women, most likely widowed or divorced and living alone, a safe world is much better than the horrors you find in serial killer novels or the harsh life of the mean streets in the hardboiled mysteries.
Declan Hughes, ALL THE DEAD VOICES. I started one of Hughes' books once before and couldn't finish. The extravagant praise I've seen heaped on him made me try again. I'm on p. 54 and bored to tears. Probably won't make it this time either. It feels is if I'd read hundreds of the same story before.
I am reading Night Frost a police procedural by RD Wingfield. The protag is a disheveled inspector who keeps tripping over bodies left and right while seeming to discombobulate everyone in sight and constantly making acerbic comments about the victims and the witnesses while solving the cases. I like action but here I'm worn out with it. There is nothing attractive in this novel: the weathers awful, so is the little town of Denton England, the people are all hard cases. Still I have to give the book three stars because while there is nothing refreshing about the characters Wingfield has a way of getting them under your skin.
Frost is a wonderful character, disreputable, not past thieving his superior's cigarettes, fiddling his gasoline expenses, and involving his sergeant in illegal entries. His "acerbic" comments, you realize quickly, are a cover for his soft heart. He may refer to the mother of a dead child as "poor cow" in an aside, but then he will take her in arms to console her. Frost's problem is that the job tears him up inside. He's one of the great detective characters in the genre.
I'm supposed to be finishing off The Black Path by Asa Larsson but I've temporarily lost custody of the ereader (himself's snaffled it), so I'm reading Silk Chaser by Peter Klein and then probably The Ihaka Trilogy by Paul Thomas as it's got the first of his books - Old School Tie in it, and I've never been able to get my hands on that book before.
Not only are most readers of mysteries women, but the authors are, too. In my Mystery Club series, the elderly ladies' book club is frestricted to books written by women. No shortage of titles there! When I attended the Epic ebook writers' conference I was surprised at the amount of erotica and with only one exception, the authors were dowdy looking middle aged women. I guess they indulge in their fantasies by writing erotica. That's not my genre. Having studied during the age of so-called "new criticism" in which critics used the books to psychoanalyze the authors who wrote them, I was afraid if I tried to write erotica people would get the idea that I was some sort of kinky freak. No thanks. I'll stick with cozies.
In writing about elderly women solving mysteries I am not a cozy freak. I just happen to live in a building with 330 people whose average age is 86 and naturally there aren't many men left at that age. Those old ladies might try poison as in Arsenic and Old Lace, but they are too feeble for violent crime. If you want to use my books as a key to psychoanalysis of the author, many of my male characters are pretty hapless, not aggressive, and likely to be seduced by gorgeous gals (in your dreams, Sachs!). In My latest, "Betrayal" the poor chump not only gets seduced by a KGB agent, but then he gets stuck with a paternity case as a result. In "Ben Zakkai's Coffin" the protagonist is the handy sex pal for a mysterious woman. WHen she appears to have been murdered and he can't afford a lawyer, his boss provides one, but there's a catch: he has to track down an old WW II war criminal. But no sex with little old ladies in my books. That's my life! When I was 20 I never thought I'd be sleeping with a 75 year old woman, but then my bride never thought she'd be with a 79 year old man. Life does catch up with you.