Hexes and Hemlines the 3rd in the Witchcraft Mystery Series came out last week and I am reading it right now and loving it! Juliet Blackwell is one of my favourite cozy writers because her books always have a paranormal element to them.
Enjoy her guest blog about Cozy mysteries and make sure you check out her books! Also enter the contest! Juliet is giving away a signed copy of Hexes and Hemlines!!!
Can Murder, and Magic, Ever Really Be “Cozy”?
Is it a cozy?”
“A what?” says I.
“A cozy. No gory scenes, no explicit sex, no one’s getting it on with a zombie dildo…” (actually, I added that last part. Artistic license and all that.) “In other words: would you be embarrassed if your mother read it?”
“Then it’s a cozy.”
That was my introduction to the sometimes questionable term of “cozy mystery”. A lot of folks in the field object to the moniker, implying as it does that we’re not dealing with heavy stuff (some prefer “traditional” mystery, some “amateur detective” mystery…as is usually the case with labels, it’s hard to find one that everyone agrees upon). But ultimately, since all of us mystery authors are penning stories about murder and mayhem, it’s hard to think of some of us writing cozily.
In a way, I think the lightness with which murder is treated by some of the “cozier” books out there is more disturbing than the dark and gritty noir thrillers. After all, homicide should be an inherently heavy subject.
That doesn’t mean there can’t be a lot of humor injected into the story. Hang around emergency personnel --be they cops, first-responders, emergency room medical workers—and you’ll hear a whole lot of morbid jokes. Black humor is a valuable psychological mechanism that allows humans to deal with sometimes inhuman cruelty.
Plus, since my Witchcraft Mystery novels feature a powerful natural witch, Lily Ivory, I’m even less cozy. When I set out to write about witchcraft, the last thing I wanted to invoke was the frivolous spirit of the old Bewitched television show. I’m not about cute witches that turn pesky neighbors into frogs.
(Okay, I’ll admit it, it was my *favorite* show when I was little, and I SO wanted to be Tabitha, or Samantha if she’d just dump that idiot husband of hers.)
Because after all, what’s so cozy about potbellied pigs, vintage clothing, murder, and magic?
In Hexes and Hemlines, powerful witch Lily Ivory steps into a murder investigation that has the police stumped: the leader of a local rationalist society is murdered amidst symbols of bad luck: a black cat, a broken mirror, on the thirteenth floor. As someone with special paranormal talents, Lily is in a unique position to help figure out whether the man’s death had anything to do with tempting the fates. And when the main suspect turns out to be someone Lily knows, and a friend is threatened by an evil practitioner, and an aging Satan worshipper enters the mix…a witch might be compelled to use magic to find the murderer before everyone’s luck runs out.
Secondhand Spirits, 2009;
A Cast-off Coven, 2010;
Hexes and Hemlines, June 2011;
If Walls Could Talk launched the Haunted Home Renovation series in 2010;
Dead Bolt, the second in the series, comes out in December.
As one-half of the sister duo dubbed Hailey Lind, Blackwell wrote the Art Lover’s Mystery Series--including Agatha-nominated Feint of Art and the most recent, Arsenic and Old Paint (September; Perseverance Press). A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet has worked in Mexico, Spain, Cuba, Italy, the Philippines, and France, and is now a painter in Oakland, California. She served two terms as president of NorCal Sisters in Crime.
Contact her through her website or join her on Twitter and on Facebook !
Juliet is giving away a signed copy of her latest release, Hexes & Hemlines!
How To Enter
I am always looking for a good cozy! So let us know which ones you like to read!
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The contest will stay open until Wednesday 22nd of June 2011 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.