This week I’m luck to have with us my dear friend, Liz Lipperman. Her debut cozy, Liver Let Die, is taking to book world by storm.
As you can see from the blog title she’s going to let us know the difference between straight mysteries and what she writes, cozies, at least under her name.
First of all, I want to thank Lindsay for letting me hang out at Murders and Mysteries here today. Since I didn’t know the difference between straight (mainstream) mysteries and cozies, I decided that should be my topic today. First, let’s look at cozies.
Typically, a cozy is set in the small fictitious town where the hero or heroine works at a job that is totally unrelated to law enforcement. Usually, they’re theme based—Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse mysteries, Linda O Johnson’s Pet Rescue mysteries, etc. And there’s a good bit of humor in them. Think Murder, She Wrote with the great Angela Lansbury as Jessica
Fletcher. There will definitely be a murder in a cozy mystery, but it will be off-screen. The same goes for sex – you can let your character have fun in the bedroom. Just close the door.
Straight mysteries, on the other hand, have no such restrictions. You can crack somebody’s head wide open with a vase and capture every gory detail. You can also get as steamy as you want with the bedroom door open and throw in as many bad words as you can think of. In essence, straight mysteries are anywhere from PG to R rated compared to G rated cozies.
Despite these differences, there is one resounding similarity in both cozies and straight mysteries. They have to have a good mystery, or you’ll lose your reader right out of the box. A great mystery has to have you guessing all the way – – and guessing wrong. I love it when I’m totally surprised to find out the killer is someone I never even thought about.
But that doesn’t mean you’re allowed to throw in a character out of the blue and call him/her the bad guy. That’s what I call a book tosser – – when I throw the stupid thing across the room.
LIVER LET DIE is the first book in my newly debuted Clueless Cook mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. I want to tell you about a great contest going on right now with the release. I’m giving away a Pandigital Kitchen Technology Center at the end of October. Go to my website www.lizlipperman.com for details. You can read an excerpt of LIVER LET DIE there, and you can watch a trailer of MORTAL DECEPTION, my straight mystery on Amazon.
And I have one copy of LIVER LET DIE to give away, thanks to Berkley. So enter leave a comment with a valid e-mail address. This is open to US addresses only, publishers requests. Lindsay will pick the winner. This way the drawing will be fair. Actually, I thought that to make the drawing really fair we’d have Jordan stop by next Monday, October 24, 2011 to do the drawing. I’ve already promised her that there will be no strange or unusual foods for her to try.
Here’s the blurb. Read an excerpt of both books at www.lizlipperman.com
Jordan McAllister, a wannabe sports reporter who follows her boyfriend to Dallas, gets
dumped, and ends up in a small Texas town where she lands a job writing personals. When she’s offered an opportunity to fill in for the culinary reporter who’s rehabbing a broken hip, she jumps on it, thinking it’s one step closer to writing that sports column she wants so badly. The problem is she was raised in West Texas, the only girl with three brothers who needed her outside every day to even up the sides for football games, and although she can throw a razor-sharp touchdown pass from 50 yards, she can’t cook her way out of a box of macaroni and cheese.
Her first assignment is reviewing the new steakhouse in town where she inadvertently
orders foie gras (fatty duck liver) that ends up untouched and shoved into a borrowed purse. Back home she discovers that she has ruined her friends beautiful handbag, but that’s nothing compared to finding her waiter from the steakhouse murdered outside her door along with her name and number in his pockets. Now she’s the prime suspect as well as the main course on the murder menu.
Hi Lindsay and Liz! I loved the excerpt. Wonderful, snappy pacing. One of the things I love about contemporary cozies is the humor and cleverness. The title alone speaks for itself, lol! Great post.
Allison, thanks for commenting. And you’re right about cozies having a lot of humor.That’s my favorite part.
I am babysitting today and I’m on my DIL’s computer. This is the third time I’ve typed this message. Sheesh!!
Liz, I didn’t know you knew how to use a computer. Thought you hand wrote everything. Wait, that could be why it took you three times, you thought you could write the reply on your notepad.
Very funny, Lindsay. BTW, I just saw the great review you did on LLD on goodreads. Thanks for that and for having me guest with you today.
Hey, I only write the truth. Fine, I also write fiction except when it comes to reviews. It’s always fun having you M&M ladies over here.
It’ll be interesting to see what Anita brings to the blog next Tuesday.
Sorry to be late to the party! I’ve been trying to get more words on the page today with two Goldens who have no respect. Liz, great explanation of the differences. I’m always thinking about this along with the contrasts with romantic suspense, thrillers, general suspense, and gosh know what else. Lindsay, thanks for having the great Liz on your spot.
Hi Liz and Lindsay. Sorry I’m late. I got my days mixed up, as I often do. 🙂 I can’t wait to read both your books, Liz. Whether cozy or straight, I know I’ll love them both.
Sorry to be so late responding. babysat granddaughters all day, and then went to grandson’s soccer game. I’m pooped.
Cassy, thanks so much for following me over here. I am pretty sure what I write is Romantic Mystery. Why do we need tags for our books, anyhow??
Anita, thanks to you also. And I can’t wait to hear what you think.
So that’s the difference between a cozy and a mystery!
The blurb totally hooked me in! What a great concept! Soumnds like a helluva read. (You can say that in Cozy Land, right?)
I think you can use that word
I say it a lot in LLD!!! Hey, Taryn, long time no see. Thanks for commenting.
I had to chuckle – I just learned the differene between the two as taking a “I love a Mystery” class with my peer group. And I do love the title of your book Thanks for this – you explained it well. (thanks Lindsay- I’m late as usual)
Sue, did I get it right? That’s such a coincidence. When I was first asked to write a cozy, I said no. I like big mainstream mysteries with no rules. But I quickly realized I was passing up the chanced of a lifetime. After reading a gazillion cozies, I penned LLD.
Good luck with your mystery writing.
Hi, L&L – great post! I love your mysteries, Liz, and also Cleo Coyle’s – great plots are the key, indeed. Love the title of LLD, very intriguing blurb. I wrote a “traditional” mystery set at turn of the century which is halfway between cozy and straight, go figure (still trying to find a home.) But I looooove writing that genre, and reading them all. 🙂
Thanks for the nice words. Anytime my name is mentioned in the same sentence as Cleo’s, I’ll take it!! I love her! As for your “mixed” mystery, I love that kind. I have always been a rule breaker, and I think LLD is also a mix. It’s my straight mystery with few cuss words, no sex and no gory details, but it has 2 POVs and a lot of innuendo.
Thanks for commenting, and good luck with your story.
I’ve never been a huge mystery fan, so this was educational for me. 🙂 It’s great to finally understand the difference between cozy mystery and regular mystery. Great post!
Ciara, I can’t believe you don’t like mysteries. LOL It’s that different strokes thing and it’s what keeps the world interesting. I’m curious what genre you do like. I’m betting paranormal????
Thanks for taking the time to read the blog and commenting. Maybe if you win the free copy, I can change your mind!!!!!!
Good post. I used to read a lot of cozies, but not so much in recent years. Maybe I should start checking them out again.
Good idea, J.A. since they’ve come a long way!! I know a good one to start with!!! LOl
Hey, thanks for commenting. Maybe you’ll win one!!!
Ciara Knight is the winner of the cozy mystery Liver Let Die. Hopefully reading the book will turn her into a mystery lover.
very interesting! Thanks for the explanation 🙂