Friday, August 11, 2006

Hardboiled or cozies or what?

Editor and publisher Otto Penzler is known largely for his lack of respect for cozies, the mild-mannered, domestic mysteries with knitting old granny amateur detectives. Penzler likes his mysteries hardboiled and bloody.

So do I, but I wouldn't - at least in public - condemn the writers of cozies to Hell, as Penzler seems to be doing. And I'd never, ever say they are bad books because they are written by women. C'mon! Men can write just as lousy as women (and often do) and there have been lots of women who can come up with a dark noir tale (Margaret Millar, Helen Nielsen, Patricia Highsmith from the old ones; Megan Abbott, Sara Gran, from the new ones; and there are lots of others). Men writers spinning their 700-page megathrillers is also just as boring as Agatha Christie's heirs writing about tea parties and murders committed through means that are totally implausible.

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