The positive characters in these books become close friends. They touch me with their sincerity and kindness, delight me with their humour and decency, motivate me with their optimism and wisdom, inspire me with their faith and goodness, impress me with their courage and intelligence, reassure me with their weaknesses and eccentricities, and improve me with their principles and values.
Though I read a wide variety of genres but my favourites are:
"GOLDEN-AGE MYSTERY" AND "COZY MYSTERY".
I have to confess, however, that I have somewhat modified the definition of "COZY MYSTERY" according to my taste and preference.
My comprehensive version of the definition includes the following points:
- writing style should be mature, refined, simple, comfortable, witty, cheerful, interesting, entertaining and addictive.
- language should be clean, vocabulary sophisticated, grammar correct, characterization skilful, pace even, narrative coherent and facts relevant.
- profanity and vulgarity should be eliminated.
- humour is required, and can be present in the form of funny incidents, comic situations, witty dialogues, droll antics, amusing interactions between the various characters, etc, but it should be intelligent and decent.
- romance should be subtle and discreet, with intimate details avoided.
- graphic descriptions of violence and gruesome details of murder should not be included.
- tragic impact of death should be minimized, and the victim should be someone who is not terribly missed.
- main focus of the story should be on the mystery, and particularly, on solving of the mystery.
- plot should be intricate.
- the story should be intriguing.
- the mystery should be a classic puzzle of 'whodunit', and should challenge and stimulate the mind.
- the detecting process should contain elements of fun, and should include finding clues and cross-checking alibis of various suspects, and should rely more on analytical skills and verbal jousting, rather than on physical actions.
- the crime should usually take place in a confined community, with the cast of character limited, and the suspects known to each other.
- the setting should not be sleazy and the atmosphere should be designed to give pleasure and comfort.
- the murder should be motivated by human traits of greed, jealousy or revenge, etc, instead of being an act of a serial/psycho/thrill killer.
- resolution of the mystery should be logically satisfactory and morally pleasing.
- lessons learned should be motivating and improving.
- sympathy should basically be with the protagonist as well as the other positive characters, and they should have a happy ending.
- real murderer should be discovered and be deserving of the just punishment meted out.
- for natural human weaknesses, mistakes and minor crimes, especially where repentance is sincere, tolerance, compassion and forgiveness should be advocated.
- the protagonist can either be an amateur sleuth or a member of law enforcing agency.
- if the sleuth is an amateur then he or she should have a plausible reason for getting involved in detecting the murder, and moreover should have some sort of connection with some member(s) of law enforcing agency.
- the amateur sleuth's attitude should be more supportive, rather than competitive, towards the member(s) of law enforcing agency, and he or she should not deliberately mislead them, by needlessly suppressing evidence and withholding relevant information.
- an amateur sleuth should have an interesting occupation or hobby.
- the protagonist should be both likeable and an interesting person, with endearing imperfections, acceptable flaws, and appealing qualities, like compassion, tolerance, decency, friendliness, sense of humour, integrity, intelligence and courage etc.
- the supporting characters, who are performing a positive role, should also be likeable and interesting, as well as loyal to the protagonist, and should contribute in solving the mystery as well as in making the story more entertaining.
- nature, character, values, personality, habits and behaviour of the protagonist should remain consistent, though character development with respect to life progression is expected.
- personal issues of the protagonist should not distract from the mystery, and the protagonist should be mainly contented in his or her life.
- the romantic life of protagonist should be stable, with the protagonist happily involved with a steady partner.
- if the protagonist is not a part of an established couple right from the first book of the series, then the romance should take it's natural course, from initial interactions, between the protagonist and a single member of opposite gender, to gradual friendship, to romantic relationship, to marriage...
- and there can be ups and downs, and some romantic tensions, in all of these phases, but the overall trend should always be to move forward and for the relationship to develop, grow and become stronger, so that there is no uncertainty about the happy romantic life of the protagonist.
- if there is no romance in the protagonist's life, then there should be a happy-ending romance between some of the other positive characters in the book.
- in all cases, the romance element should be secondary to the mystery.
- it should be possible to enjoy the book with a cup of tea and chocolates...!
The main objective of my blog, "A COZY MURDER IS ANNOUNCED", which is named after the book, "A Murder Is Announced", featuring spinster amateur sleuth, "Miss Marple", written by "Agatha Christie", is to share my knowledge of quality books by worthy authors, with eager and discerning fans of "MYSTERY", especially "GOLDEN-AGE" and "COZY" MYSTERY.
I hope to accomplish this by compiling a list of names of all the "MYSTERY" authors, whose books I enjoy, in one place.
Moreover, it's my intention to dedicate one post to each one of my favourite authors of this genre, and I will try my best to regularly update the posts to include new information about them and their books.
It's also my belief that sharing of knowledge is most effective when it's a two way process and both sides fully participate, so readers of this blog are welcome to offer their thoughts and provide such information that I may have missed, regarding the featured authors and their books, through their comments in the relevant posts. They are also requested to recommend their favourite authors of this genre. I hope that such contribution would enable me to improve this blog, expand my own list of authors, provide everyone with greater variety of quality reading material, and be generally beneficial to all of us...!
I would like to conclude by emphasizing that it's my desire that eventually only those authors and books be maintained here, which either fulfil most of the criterion that I have mentioned, or, failing that, must appeal to me instinctively.
The ultimate requirement would always be that the entire reading experience should be immensely joyful, ...and should leave me feeling contented and enormously happy...!