I posed a question to myself the other day… If I was to try to convince a non-cozy "addict" (I’m afraid that the word "addict" does indeed describe some of us!) that the cozy mystery genre is worth pursuing, what would I do? Hmmm… I could give the person the definition of a cozy mystery novel and then try to convince the person that everyone who tries one goes back for another… sort of like potato chips. OR, I could try to liken cozy mystery books to books that the person had more than likely read. OR, I could pay the person a large amount of money to make it worth his/her while to read a cozy mystery novel, knowing that, again, the analogy with the potato chips. OR, I could give the person the first novel from Anne George‘s Southern Sisters cozy mystery series.
Now, I know that a lot of people prefer the ve-dy British types of cozy mystery series, and a lot of people prefer the cozy mystery series that feature… oh, say an older spinster aunt-type, or an unmarried, cerebral bachelor-type. But, if you haven’t yet tried "Murder on a Girls’ Night Out" (#1 in the series) then you should reserve your comments!
I read the first of the eight books of Anne George’s series as a monthly pick for one of my reading groups… I think it was the (now defunct) Mystery in the Morning… It was the chosen book of the month for all of us to read.
I might have "gone into" the book thinking… hmmm… another southern cozy… just what I need! Well, let me tell you, it was just what I needed! I cannot say enough good things about the Southern Sisters series of books.
The books feature Patricia Anne "Mouse" Hollowell, and Mary Alice "Sister" Crane. You can probably tell which one of the sisters is the ex-teacher and which one is the country western tavern owner…by their nicknames… If you guessed that "Mouse" didn’t own the tavern, you are right!
These two sisters actually talk and act like sisters. There is nothing false about their relationship… and, as a sister to my sister, I can vouch for that! Anne George based Mary Alice’s character on her cousin, and Anne shared the fact that she had been a school teacher with Patricia’s character… Hmmm….
The mysteries the two sisters solve involve a whole lot of fun for the reader, and the characters really are three dimensional, not flat cardboard personalities that lay flat on the paper.
The next book in the series, Murder on a Bad Hair Day ( #2) continues with the fun… as do the rest of the books:
Murder Runs in the Family (#3)
Murder Makes Waves (#4)
Murder Gets a Life (#5)
Murder Murder Shoots the Bull (#6)
Murder Carries a Torch (#7)
Murder Boogies with Elvis (#8)
As I sit here typing this blog, I am smiling to myself as I remember how much enjoyment I got when I read these books. Also, I am thinking about a very good friend of mine who absolutely loves Anne George’s books. This particular friend found out that Anne George had been nominated for a Pulitzer for one of her poetry books. My friend wrote to Anne George and asked her where the book was available to buy. The very gracious Ms. George lost no time in sending my friend a signed copy of the particular poetry book. So, my friend and I found out that "Mouse" and Ms. George had more than just being school teachers in common… they were both very caring and generous.