Cozy mysteries and Sex! Violence! Chicks Gone Wild!

I have a confession to make.

When I started writing DYING TO BE THIN, the first installment in the Fat City Mystery series, I was not fully aware that the mystery sub-genre known as “cozies” had to follow certain restrictive guidelines. With some glaring exceptions, most cozies are written according to the following rules:

• They have “kinder, gentler” story lines.
• There is little graphic violence.
• Murders are mostly presented off-stage.
• Sex tends to be delivered in “fade to black” mode. (You know, like the couple in From Here to Eternity; you get to see them thrashing around in the surf. But then, just when the action gets interesting, the scene ends.)

And so…ahem. In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that even though DYING TO BE THIN often gets lumped in with cozy mysteries, readers will encounter a few “uncozy” passages:

• Murder victims are presented splat on the page, complete with a discussion of the deceased-one’s physical appearance (including, in the case of one victim, the impact of weaponized fondue forks).
• There are frequent and colorful references to a fictional S&M scene in the story’s locale, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
• The plot line is neither kind, nor particularly gentle. But it is often humorous.

My thought is that the concept of a "cozy" mystery is expanding in terms of the amount of sex and violence that readers will accept. What do you think?

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Comment by Kathryn Lilley on November 4, 2007 at 3:59am
Oh, and thanks, Misa, for your comment about the photo! I had makeup professionally done, which I highly recommend. The lady who did it used to do makeup for soap operas, and really knows how to apply the right look for photo shoots. And the photographer was very good. He took more than 200 shots.
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on November 3, 2007 at 8:40pm
Sure! You can write to me at
Comment by Goldie Alexander on November 3, 2007 at 4:37pm
Hi Kathryn,
Anyway we can communicate in private? My email address is
Comment by Goldie Alexander on November 3, 2007 at 4:37pm
Hi Kathryn,
Anyway we can commincate in provate?
Comment by Kathryn Lilley on October 29, 2007 at 8:49pm
Glad to meet you, Misa! I guess these "less cozy" stories are considered "soft-boiled" these days. I know that some of the language in my books might be a bit too "raw" for the very genteel cozy fans. To them, I apologize in advance! Believe me, my mama didn't teach me to talk that way, lol.
Comment by Misa Ramirez on October 29, 2007 at 1:55pm

I just joined crimespace, was immediately friended by Jess, and saw your photo. I'm getting ready to to get my photo done for my book and love the way yours looks. I will show it to my photographer. My book is, I think, considered a cozy, too. I didn't know about those 'rules'. Interesting. My book, Living the Vida Lola in the Lola PI series will be breaking a lot of the cozy rules, too!

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