Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Merry Maids and Mayhem

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There are a few cozies whose main characters make their livings by running cleaning services. Here are just two of them.

Barbara Colley writes about Charlotte LaRue, owner of Maid-For-A-Day, a cleaning service in the Garden District of New Orleans. Like many Cozy writers, Colley's titles are catchy - "Maid for Murder", "Death Tidies Up", "Polished Off", etc. Charlotte is in her late 50's, and gets in there and cleans with the rest of her crew. This is how she finds all those bodies, and has to solve all the mysteries. And, every now and then, she gives a cleaning tip or two, which I can certainly use.

Charlotte has raised her son, now a doctor, all alone, since her fiance was killed in Vietnam before they could marry. He never knew she was pregnant. She tells us about this in each book, which is fine, but she tells it over and over and over in each book. All the angst and gnashing of
teeth gets a bit old. She agonizes over the fact that she had kept from her son the little tidbit that she and his father never married. If these books sound a tad "romancy", it's probably because Colley also writes romances, under the name Anne Logan.

However, the plots are pretty good and the characters are interesting enough to keep reading them. I especially like how Charlotte is forever explaining to her niece, the police woman, that she never gossips about her clients and that is why she doesn't tell the police when she finds clues until she is backed into a corner and has to tell. When she finally tells all, though, she really tells all.

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Ann Purser writes British Cozies. Her main character is Lois Meade, who owns a cleaning service in the village of Long Farnden with her husband, her two children and her mother. Lois, who is in her 40's, has been involved in numerous murder mysteries and has cooperated with Chief Inspector Cowgill, which makes her husband a bit jealous. In the ones I've read, so far, she involves some or all of her family in the mysteries.

Purser's titles don't give you a clue as to the occupation of the main character. Their "gimmick" is the use of the days of the week - "Murder on Monday", "Terror on Tuesday", Weeping on Wednesday", "Theft on Thursday", etc.

I love the British cozies. They are set in picturesque villiages and the characters are teddibly British. And, Purser's are among my favorites. She also has a romance series, Round Ringford. I haven't read any of them, but they are touted as being about small village life, and humorous.

8 comments:

Kell said...

I hadn't heard of either one of those. I really like the British ones, too.

saz said...

I haven't heard of them either. I'm drawn to anything with New Orleans as a location but the Purser books really sound like what I'm searching for. And the list grows longer........

saz said...

I haven't heard of them either. I'm drawn to anything with New Orleans as a location but the Purser books really sound like what I'm searching for. And the list grows longer........

saz said...

Well obviously I was so excited about your new book review I had to do a double comment. BUT this gives me a chance to ask if you ever read "84 Charing Cross Road". I noticed that was one of your favorite movies....book was great too.

Betty said...

Saz: I haven't read it, but I want to.

saz said...

It's one of my all time favorite books. I rarely go back and read something I've read before (too many books - too little time) but this one is so charming and a quick read. There is a great story about the author on the net if you do a "search" on her name.....kind of mysterious!

Cazzie!!! said...

Hi Betty, seen you on Lucy's blog and thought I would call on in. It is always a favourite thing of mine to talk to people of books I have read..and also to get people's perspectives of good books to loan from the library, I will be sure to chase these ones up.
I once read a book when I was pregnant with my 2nd baby and I cannot for ther life of me remember the name of the book or the Author. It was set in Wales int eh 1920's and a young girl became a nurse. She was a coal miner's daughter,and she began to date a young doctor from the town of Pontypridd. It set the scene for many a nice day trip through the townships in Wales, and the author also researched the whereabouts of shops and houses and libraries as to put the descriptions in as reported from elderly locals. Do you know the book? I believe it had a sequel. I will chase it at the library this week. :)

Kell said...

Susan--that sounds like a Catherine Cookson novel, but I can't be sure.