Monday, June 5

Bloodless crimes and amateur detectives … why does cozy crime triumph?


The gentlest subgenre of the crime novel has become a worldwide sales phenomenon “as a refuge from the traumas of reality.”

The writer SJ Bennett, a reference to the 'cozy crime'.
The writer SJ Bennett, a reference to the ‘cozy crime’.
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Selling more than 100,000 books in three days is within the reach of very few. Is what i got Richard Osman in the UK with the launch of The following Thursday, the continuation of Thursday’s crime club (edited here by Espasa), one of the largest best sellers 2020, also in Spain. Osman adds in little more than a year more than two million copies sold after turning the group of elderly people who stars in his books into great references of the so-called cosy crime O cozy mysteries, quite a sales phenomenon in much of Europe and the United States.

The most notable identity marks of this subgenre arise in opposition to the crude realism and explicit violence common in the crime novel, to offer old-fashioned mysteries solved by amateur detectives. A necessary turn of the screw to the classic board of the Cluedo and that of “it was the butler in the library with the poison”, with undoubted pull among the public.

There is no place here for the squalor of the urban underworld or for the policemen about to retire drunk in alcohol. Instead we find a single fifty-year-old who leaves her public relations company to retire in a small town in the English countryside or Elizabeth II herself deploying all her cunning to solve a possible murder case committed in one of the rooms of Windsor Palace. . We talk about Agatha Raisin, la improbable herona de M.C. Beaton, regarded as the queen of cosy crime with 30 deliveries behind him, and another queen, in this case that of England, the protagonist of El nudo Windsor, from S.J. Bennett.

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Both, heiresses of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher from It has written a crime, They have reached Spanish bookstores in recent months thanks to Ediciones Salamandra. Your editor, Anik Lapointe, offers some clues to understand why the words cosy crime(cosy means cozy, comfortable or friendly) they are not an oxymoron: “It is the most sympathetic subgenre of criminal fiction. It tells us about people’s personal relationships, looks for evil in everyday events, where it is least expected. There are usually so many clues good as well as false, because one of the pleasures of these novels consists in discovering the mystery “.

In recent weeks another title has been added to this list, Miss Merkel. The case of the retired chancellor (Seix Barral), in which David Safierdelves into this growing trend of turning public figures into amateur detectives. If the idea of ​​having the German Chancellor investigate a case in rural Germany after leaving politics was not already suggestive enough, the humor with which Safier permeates each page takes care of the rest. They imagine Angela Merkel calling your husband “cupcake”? Well, that is just one of the details of some adventures that, according to Safier himself, will have continuity shortly, after selling about 300,000 copies in Germany in six months.

Drawing a stereotype with a certain macho stink, one might think that it is a genre whose target audience is middle-aged women who take tea, participate in cooking classes and live with one or more cats. Prejudices aside, delve into the pages of Agatha Raisin and the lethal quiche o en Thursday’s crime club it involves discovering a sharp character portrait, appealing to all readers, with waves of typically British sarcasm honing every page. It is a tribute to the classics that avoids falling into parody and updates some of the tropes of the mystery novels that were successful in the 40s and 50s.

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Besides, nothing is as idyllic as it seems. If Raisin is a “skilled emotional blackmailer” who confronts the villagers of the Cotswolds with large doses of caustic irony, the villains in Osman’s novels are portrayed with ruthless scathing. For her part, the nonagenarian Elizabeth II of El nudo Windsor brings her incisive point of view with respect to those around her. One of her assistants presents her as someone with “lynx eyes, a nose for nonsense and a prodigious memory”, something that she more than demonstrates at various points in the plot. Safier’s Miss Merkel is not far behind, either: she brings out her sharp vision of the human race by analyzing the six suspects in the death of an aristocrat who has been found dead in the dungeon of her castle dressed in medieval armor.

The popularity of cosy crime In the current cultural landscape it seems somewhat unexpected, an echo of bygone times, perhaps more naive than this 21st century so back from everything. But it is convenient to look further and realize that behind the black nordic, the trails of blood in the snow and the language of autopsies and police interrogations, the black gender is much more diverse than it seems. These gentle puzzles are not the antidote to ‘true crime’ or the abundance of “thrillers violent, addictive and frenetic, as the girdles say so well “, according to Anik Lapointe. She herself gives the answer through a question, as good detectives usually do:” what better refuge from the traumas of reality than a world postcard where justice is done, villains are defeated and everything ends well? “.

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The top five of the cosy crime

The following Thursday.Richard Osman. In old age, murder cases. Four octogenarians face a second investigation involving an old friend, some stolen diamonds and the mob.

El nudo Windsor.S.J. Bennett. A hybrid between The Crown and the Miss Marple stories in which Elizabeth II reveals a gift for observation and deduction worthy of Sherlock Holmes.

Agatha Raisin and the cruel vet.M.C. Beaton. The second installment of the series takes us back to the idyllic town of Carsely and its not so idyllic inhabitants.

Miss Merkel. The case of the retired chancellor. David Safier. In 2022, just a few months after leaving office, Angela Merkel discovers an unknown vocation: investigating crimes.

The trick of the mirrors.Agatha Christie. The reissues of the “mother” of cozy crime they give us back jewels like this one, set in a mansion where a strange family and a reformatory for young criminals coexist.

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