Okay fellow travellers, what's your take on a ‘Cozy Story’, who writes them, what qualifies them?

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'Lily of the Valley' talcum powder

That would be my choice. But lavendar, that's classic, you know. I think 4711 was sort of a Unisex scent. Nice, though.
A whiff of camphor is, of course, highly evocative, as is wet wool.
However, I shouldn't think Miss Marple smelled of anything other than maybe a touch of lavendar. :)
Oh come on, you guys! IJ, I swear you say these things, so I will come out to play. Saying nasty stuff about cozies when I'm around is the proverbial red flag/bull thing. Read Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott series--she's wonderful and it's cozy. Read Jim and Joyce Lavene's Renaissance Fair books (yes, I have recommended them before. NO the Lavene's do not give me a kick back.)
Cozies are not as stuck in the past (camphor????) as you all like to pretend.
IJ, I swear, I'm going to send you one of my books one of these days. Then at least you can gripe about something contemporary. You still won't like cozies--but you'll be up to date.
Had no idea you were peeking in, Christine. I read a Margaret Maron a long time ago. No, I don't read cozies any longer, but my observation is that Margaret Maron had immensely long lines of fans waiting to get her books signed at both Bouchercons I attended. I don't think the authors of cozy mysteries need my support at all. They're doing very well indeed.

And in the end, we all have our preferences. If it makes you feel any better, I also don't read hardboiled. :)
Read Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott series--she's wonderful and it's cozy.

Well, sort of, as I recall. It is set in North Carolina, after all. And Maron has another series, with a NYC police woman, which isn't really cozy---my favorite was "Fugitive Colors," which took on a murdered art professor/painter and an art department, to my great delight. I will toss aside all my preconceptions about cozies if the art world is involved! :)

Oh, even the "criticisms" are all in fun, I think. Jane Langton---are her mysteries cozy? They are unconventional, and I suppose COULD be called cozy--with her whimsical illustrations---but also immensely clever and entertaining and suspenseful. And, as I pointed out---even very un-cozy contemporary writers like P.D. James and Elizabeth George have used elements of the cozy: remote places, big country houses or institutions, small group of suspects who know each other. I may not read many cozies now, but I adored Miss Marple---especially Joan Hickson's interpretation.
Would Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey series qualify, I know she's old school but I did enjoy reading her during my teens?
Dorothy Sayers is the best of the writers from the "golden age" of mysteries. There are some other good ones. Ngaio Marsh, for example. Both are better than Christie.

I do like the Botswana mysteries by McCall-Smith of the new cozies, but not his Dalhousie series.
Did you ever see the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series on HBO? It was a beautiful production, fantastic acting, writing, humor and sensitivity, Unfortunately it was cut short after one season following the death of its executive producer, Anthony Minghella.
Did you ever see the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series on HBO?

I did. I came to this a bit late---got it from Netflix on DVD, some time after its HBO debut. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did---but I loved it, and am sorry there are no more. Now, I have not read the books, and having seen the series, I'm less likely to. I was surprised to discover that the writer was a white Scotsman! With clearly a great love and respect for his "adopted" country and its people.
I suppose these could be classified as cozies, since they are not certainly not police procedurals,and the detective is definitely not hard-boiled, :) so maybe we need a new term for this kind of mystery. Post-cozy cozy? As in Post-Modern? The setting was marvelous, the characters endearing, and yes---the stories were actually suspenseful. Though not without humor, skillfully employed.
Do read the books. They are charming. And I'm very sorry the PBS (?) series was stopped before I got a glimpse of it.
And I'm very sorry the PBS (?) series was stopped

It was HBO. But they are available through Netflix, if you subscrbe to that. Since we cancelled our cable and only retain internet services through Time Warner, we rely on Netflix for our entertainment (NO ADS) and the internet for news. It works.

In one thread we were talking about "exotic" and different settings---I'd say Botswana qualifies! It's just different enough to make you sit up and take notice. I had wondered about the use of English (accented) in the series, but, in fact, English is Botswana's official language.

Those two women were marvelous characters--the secretary just as much as Ma Ramose.

My husband thought it was boring, though. He does, however, like the "Touch of Frost" series, which we have been watching---I looked it up after you mentioned it. It's quite good. Certainly not the England of the cozies! But someone David knows who used to live in London (and left) said, "London's a nasty place now." No more Golden Age. No more cozies from that quarter! Alas.
Well, if pressed, I'd prefer Frost to the Botswana ladies. They are very different, but "vive la difference." The Frost novels (by R.D.Wingfield) are a bit stronger and better (in terms of human qualities) than the TV series, but both are very good indeed.

London is a very big city. I have a notion that both worlds exist.
Loved the secretary, Grace Makutsi. And was thrilled to see the actress, Anika Noni Rose, starring with such success last year in The Princess and The Frog. Beautiful woman--I couldn't tell by watching No. 1 Ladies.

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