Monday, February 7, 2011

Mystery Monday Musings

A mystery is just a mystery, right? Wrong! This is something I've learned over the past couple of weeks. I've told everyone that I was writing a cozy mystery, easily defined in my mind. Small town, amateur sleuth (well, one of them anyway), murder happens off the page, sexy smexy stuff happens off the page and everything has a Jessica Fletcher feel to it.

Alas, it is not to be. There are some darker moments in my mystery plot which moves it out of the cozy realm.

I was then introduced to two additional types of mysteries. The hard-boiled and the soft-boiled.

The hard-boiled mystery is just that. Hard. It has a tougher edge to it, and could possibly showcase the violence and sex.

Nope, mine isn't that either.

On to a soft-boiled mystery. Ahh...this sounds more like it. Although some may say the cozy and soft-boiled are the same, I'm going to go with the popular belief that they are different. But, barely. Soft-boiled mysteries are a softer, gentler type of mystery. Oh, don't worry, still a murder in there, still a sleuth, but the mystery can take a few dark turns and a few light ones. Like coloring outside the lines.

I think the moral to this rather short story is, know your genre. And if you are blending genres, know that too.


  1. I'm still unclear as what soft-boiled is. Do you have any examples of it? Would Agatha Christie be called soft-boiled?

    I'm asking that because I'm a die-hard fan of noir. Hardboiled is a little old school in its structure, but it's mostly a story without any heroes. Everybody is tainted. Like noir, but hardboiled is like a team-based sports. Cops & Robbers. You just don't know which side you should root for.

  2. Hi Ben, Agatha Christie is still considered a cozy writer. A good example of a soft boiled mystery is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. You'll find that most soft boiled mysteries are written by women with women protagonists.