Definition Of The Broad “Cozy Genre”.

My blog celebrates its fifth anniversary!  Please enjoy the kitty photographs I share relating to the formation of RIEDEL Fascination.  My blog’s foremost purpose is to furnish a writer with a public place to write and invite conversations.  One of my first articles was an essay on the gothic mystery;  the standalone dominant fiction genre from the 1940s to 1990, replaced by “cozy mystery series”, in terms of mass-production.  Thankfully there are still “standard” and “gothic mysteries“.  I recommend starting with that article because it covers a lot of ground on the path today’s genre has taken, of which readers are likely unaware.

The natural segue leads me to an essay on “the cozy mystery”, in which my readership is as unpredicable as my bowling.  I am among the throngs owning these career-themed products, however I am not often enamoured by their quality.  I propose that “the cozy mystery” is derived of two types.  First, let’s settle the vagueness of its core!  I have never seen a more mislabelled genre, with authors like Agatha Christie lumped into it who do not belong, (not the Hercule Poirot suite) and any mystery with a pretty cover painted with the same brush.  A genre is defined by content.  I strongly recommend that we forget “Wikipedia” and the commonly-quoted “cozy” website, in favour of a fundamental definition we readers and reviewers agree upon!  If this core criteria matches your gauge of these books, we could clarify its definition once and for all and quote *this article*.

WHITTLED DOWN TO BASICS:  “cozy” refers to mysteries that aren’t gory or violent.  If they contain a murder (a crime is not necessary, nor synonymous with a mystery), we do not witness it.  A character encounters the aftermath.  Sexuality, unfortunately for adult readers, is watered-down and hinted at more than it is demonstrated.  This genre comes in the form of series that highlight a career:  a psychic, book collector, baker….  Plots are normally simple.  The usual blueprint is a body and a protagonist who does not rely on police to discover why.

Tone is as light as plot singularity.  Few of these series generate suspense;  these novels aren’t scary.  To the contrary they are pervaded by jocularity.  These things comprise the skeletal definition of a “cozy mystery”.  I loathe this diminutive term but imagine this title is going to stick.  I add lastly that novels of a “Nancy Drew” and “Hardy Boys” nature do not belong, with a youth demographic.  “Cozy mysteries” are for all intents and purposes, an adult genre.

SECONDARILY:  I have observed an expanded trait, submitted separately from the basic definition.  In the majority of cases, unfortunately there is also a spareness of quality.  There are exceptions I treasure and then hesitate to put in this category!  However the fact is, “cozy mysteries” do not tend to be the domain of the masterful writer.  This is why an avalanche of these novels tumbles forth every week, including the endless appearance of new authors;  or re-named ones who abound with ideas for yet another series.  If you can think of a new career theme, like a florist, and contrive a reason why an ordinary person would discover a corpse and enlist themselves to investigate its presence:  you have yourself “a cozy mystery”.  Quality writing, fascinating dialogue, brilliant plotting seldom factor into these carbon-copied productions and readers know that.  They simply love to knit, for example and are in it for the hobby.  If we possess the discernment between a masterful author and a trundled-out story, there is nothing wrong with that.

My favourite authors, in this genre, exemplify a gratefully-appreciated pallet of exceptions!  JULIET BLACKWELL pens a witch series containing the most creative mystery of all:  stories that do not feature a crime!  Some characters were villainous for other reasons;  dilemmas of a paranormal nature for instance.  Canada’s LYN HAMILTON too, did not always depict crimes and even when they occurred, her premises focused on archaeological legend and mystique.  In subject matter, Canada’s CHARLOTTE MACLEOD is admittedly as “cozy” as it gets.  It is her creative situations and literary skill that set her apart.  She is one of those authors with such an elevated calibre of eloquence;  it dawns on us that our vocabularies aren’t as vast!  Her way with words enthralls me by itself.  I get very pissed off if anyone automatically dismisses an author’s writing as “fluff”, because a lighter atmosphere places their premise under this heading.  Writing talent needs to be considered with open eyes, on an author by author basis.  CHARLOTTE’s writing is exceptional.  JULIET’s subject matter can be dark.  Neither of them are “fluff”.

For this reason, it has occurred to me that “the cozy genre” comes in two forms.
An author or series might receive this categorization because their mysteries aren’t very complex, their subject matter indeed light, and writing prowess not very high.  It is another “found a body” mystery, with a career backdrop slid into place, like a hastily-changed theatre production.  Same scenario, different coffee shop, right!?

ALTERNATIVELY, we have seen that it is possible for a superb author, with more compelling subject matter, to fit this genre because sexuality, gore, and violence are toned-down.

When there is a skilful author, heavy subject matter, and impressive plot complexity:  I call it a “STANDARS MYSTERY“.  Depending on its style and not necessarily age, it might also be defined:  a “CLASSIC MYSTERY“.  This is where I feel Agatha Christie’s “Hercule Poirot” series belongs.  The detective’s personality might be amusing and infinitely familiar to us but Agatha’s vocabulary was astounding.  Her plots wove in unprecedented directions, some of the situations gruesome, and characters have perished on-stage.  This series should most certainly not be called “light” or “simple”.  Does this make better sense, after defining genres at the bare bones level?

I caution against this mistake with pretty covers.  A cute cover does not equal “a cozy mystery”.  CLEA SIMON is a stark example because her chief topic is cats:  a loveable topic to me without question.  Her subject matter however, is too dark for this label.  The opener of one series contained a a threat of sexual assault.  Her character was also in danger of ingesting drugs at a night club.  This novel discussed the mistaken stigma of hoarding and execution of stray animals was threatened!  THERE IS NOT ONE “COZY” THING ABOUT ANY OF THIS.  Unfortunately, most people would categorize Clea’s series this way.

There is the fundamental definition of this genre and its two forks:  quality authorship with light subject matter, or simple writing altogether.  I hope I have guided readers on how to gauge content on an author by author basis.  “Cozy” writing cannot automatically be called “fluff”, no more than all series with eyecatching covers can be compounded into this genre.  Please always consider that there are “gothic“, “standard“, and “classic” mysteries too.

For fun:  which series or authors have you found mislabelled?  DAVID HANDLER is another.  The crime backgrounds are horrible and dialogue is adult.  JASMINE GALENORN’S ghost mysteries are dark and sexuality, hardcore.  Not our usual tea shop owner!

All of my reviews are in the menu called “Mine“, above.  If we have read the same books, I would love to see your reviews.  Mystery and other readers are certainly invited to my four groups:  like My Kind Of Mystery!

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A subject that has prompted me to a post is something I noticed on the Oscar awards show.  I seldom watch.  Sad, dreary films that tend to win are no more what I watch than what I read.  I understand dismal emotions are tough portrayals worth recognizing.  Fun, fantastical films that spark imaginations in a happier way, like the upcoming “Ghostbusters III”, don’t get on the bill.  I watched this time because my spouse was.

I was pleased for the lovely woman JENNY BEAVAN, winning her second Oscar thirty years apart, as BEST COSTUME DESIGNER of the year.  She was responsible for the “Mad Max:  Fury Road” costumes.  Dystopia isn’t my thing but I applaud her.  I see articles about disapproving of her casual outfit but that is not what I am speaking of.  Her acceptance was nice, at a reasonable length.  In closing she very briefly and respectfully added, as I remember:  “I think “Mad Max” is prophetic because what it depicts could happen.  We need to take care of our world to make sure that doesn’t ever happen“.  How many of you observed the same thing I am relating?

What was rude and appalling is that the instant JENNY BEAVAN politely, briefly said she had one thing to add and was clearly closing a reasonable speech:  the Academy awards personnel blared music!  Goodness, she wasn’t saying anything convtraversial and she only proceeded for one more very polite and important sentence!  There was no soapbox, it wasn’t about politics, it is the nicest, gentlest cautionary remark about the environment I have ever seen.  If only everyone were so brief and calm on this subject.  People are ruffled about “Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy” getting cut off by the Academy, which was inappropriate too.  Good on you for speaking up, Ms. Chinoy!  Nobody appears to be talking about the same happening to JENNY BEAVAN at her brief addendum;  therefore I am writing about it.

A remark arose that was more appalling than the Academy’s rude, unnenecessary censorship attempt.  Thankfully I did hear JENNY BEAVAN.  Joy Behar of “The View”, did not.  She declared:  “Leonardo DiCaprio was the only one who said anything of substance”.  I could have slapped Joy Behar.  The same woman who snubbed nurses for representing themselves with stethescopes, only to find this is part of their equipment.  I dislike “The View”, since Rosie O’Donnell’s departure for a family crisis.  I channel-flipped on February 29, after I show I did watch, had closed.

I was appalled that Leonardo DiCaprio’s longer acceptance speech was not curtailed.  He launched into more assertive climate change cautions and warnings.  Please know my objection has nothing to do with his win.  It was a Canadian story that his film told.  Additionally, he spoke on a subject I support:  safeguarding our environment.  My question is, why did the Academy solely approve hearing from him?  I am certain Leonardo would agree and would like his peer to be heard as well.  He plodded on less gently than JENNY BEAVAN, at greater length, and possibly made the point less well than she did.  But it is not Leonardo DiCaprio the Academy interrupted by blaring music over him.  Why not?  Because he is a larger celebrity?  Was the music-blarer touchy early in the show and lax when it was nearly ended?  This was appalling.  Joy Behar is obviously one who missed the costume designer’s well-meaning message.

JENNY BEAVAN said it first.  Simply, amiably, calmly, respectfully:  “Mad Max” has the capacity for being prophetic, so let’s take care of our world.  I applaud this two-time Oscar-winning woman.  Did you catch her nice message through the censor attempt, as I was glad to?  Why do you think that rude moment has gotten missed?  How many of you managed to hear and appreciate what she had to say?

Jenny Beavan's Award 2016

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RIEDEL Fascination’s Anniversary!

Five and a half years ago, Ron & I moved to this country town because our apartment complex would stop accepting pets after renovating.  Our cats, McCartney (15 today) and Spirit (11 today) are our lives, our sons.  Promising to help animals more when I had a house:  I welcomed young, pregnant Marigold as a foster one month in.  Her children – and ours – were born four days later:  ANGEL, LOVE (gone a year from heart failure), PETAL, and CONAN.  They are the loves of our lives, five years old now and Marigold, six.  Two metamorphosed into the happiest family of seven kitties I have ever known and I miss our seventh dearly.

Love on March 3, 2014.

As soon as our kittens were born, I told the shelter they needn’t bother enlisting me to foster.  I would keep all of them (and spay all of them of course) right here, where the infants were born.  Even Marigold had never entered the shelter but had been driven to a meeting place and given to me after being checked by a veterinarian.  I would reinburse that check-up fee and not one of them would ever see a cage.  To my shock and stress, instead of leaping at six instant homes;  the shelter was reluctant to wipe our family from their “to cage” list.  They were never officially with the shelter, could stay together, which is exceptionally rare;  and no one would love them more than Ron & I.  But because we believe in giving them air and exercise outside, this city shelter fought me.

For two months we had no one over, nor hung photographs in our new home, because we needed desperately to convince these stubborn people we would cherish our cats.  I had always wanted a blog.  I am a writer.  Five years ago, today, I suddenly had something very important to talk about and unload from my soul.  Even though I run reading groups, RIEDEL Fascination was always meant for any subject that matters to me.  My first article was published five years ago on this day, February 11, 2010!  I discussed the sinister feeling, that well-intentioned rules could have deprived five cats from the world’s best Father and Mother, had we not put our feet down and fought.  They have the right to go outside:  supervised, in daylight.



Winter Feline Parade

Familar? A portion of this extraordinary memory became my RIEDEL Fascination banner!  For the first time, I am showing you our whole photograph, today!


On the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” today, she ran a humorous segment with videos about how dogs allegedly welcome their people with more enthusiasm than cats.  She did not have a video of all of the faces that greet Ron in the window:  EVERY DAY THAT HE ARRIVES HOME from work.  By the time he opens the door, they are standing upon a ledge, couch edge, and on the floor at his feet.  Those at eye level reach up with arms to hug him, tap him with a paw, and meow at him eye to eye.  Not all cats are aloof.  Our babies have always been excited to show their love for us and are very tactile and chatty.

My New Family, Sept 2010

I love to chat too.  Every time you leave me a comment, even better than pressing the “like button”;  I feel like it is a present and I am thrilled!  I want to be read, I want to start conversations, I am very glad to know you.  So to you, subscribed to me and everyone who ever reads my words:  thank you!  I share my blog’s fifth anniversary with you today.  May our words keep flowing and be reciprocated!  Yours gratefully in central Canada, Carolyn.

Carolyn & The Four, Nov-20-2010

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My winners in 2015!

I announced this news in my tiny Goodreads sister group but it is time my blog had a nice post about the outcome of my 2015 reading group draws. I look forward to having comments recorded for posterity, as I always do. Here are my groups’ winners of 2015! I hope all of these folks return this year. The good Lord knows we need them, this dry membership year. ;) Congratulations to all of three of these guests.

The winner of Gentle Spectrums is KRISTI!  She lives close to Canada, in Illinois, USA.  Her blog is called “Books And Needlepoint”.  It is lovely that Kristi belonged to two of my 2015 challenges.  She is finializing her choices from among my prize lists.  I am pleased and curious about her selection of a previously banned but highly-awarded Manitoba classic:  “A Jest Of God” by our own Margaret Laurence.

The winner of My Kind Of Mystery is KARI!  Her blog is “Know It Not So Much” and she has been in at least two of my groups since I started, which means a great deal.  She let me choose her prizes, with a little guidance.  They left Manitoba just ahead of a blizzard.  LOL!  I am sure the treats will love living with her technologically-sound family in California, USA.

The winner of Ethereal is LuAnn!  She belonged to all three of my 2015 groups, with her blog “Back Porchervations”.  She is a home school Mom in Kentucky, USA.  She won an unusual prize.  For 2015, a sweet person I acquainted from Malaysia offered her talents for that group’s gift.  LuAnn had a choice of a numerology or tarot reading, from Hazellie!  It will be fun to hear what she picked and how she enjoyed it.

Thank you, Hazellie, for having joined ETHEREAL 2015.  I hope you return to Canada.  Offering us this prize along with your membership, was a boon to our group and generous of you.

My Kind Of Mystery 2015

Honourable mention goes to Neeru!  A warm and enthusiastic player from India, who has been in all three of my reading themes, she identified this mystery book that was our logo!  It is:  “The Black Dudley Murder” by Margery Allingham in 1929!  This gave Neeru an extra entry into our year-end prize.  Well done.  :)  Neither of us liked the book but what a colourful, enchanting, moody cover.  Please do browse our book reviews, for previous years and our new sessions.  My menus are at the top of this blog.

This year’s new MY KIND OF MYSTERY logo is very whimsical.  I would be thrilled and impressed with anyone who solves it.  We could use many more participants in the 2016 session, which now comprises a quartet of themes.  Let’s cheer our winners and wish this year’s participants a fun time.  :)

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Non Fiction And Translation

I need to refresh my skills but one thin blogosphere friends might not know about me, is that I am an accomplished linguist.  I don’t merely mean with animals.  :)  Languages are something I have always taken to with ease.  As a tiny child, I was already enthralled to make friends of other cultures.  The rare time Ron & I travel, it is our pleasure to honour host countries by doing our best to use their language.  We don’t do everything the Romans do though.  ;)  We request vegetarian food!

Pertaining to Canada, a good portion of my reading has turned to non-fiction.  Michael J. Fox’s memoirs are a must;  exceedingly well-written with a vocabulary surpassing mine visibly and hilariously engaging all at once.  I love details about Canada, be it history or autobiographies of authors, like Margaret Laurence.  A special favourite are true ghost records from individualized regions of our country.

For the third time, I’m linking my non-fiction and translation reading material with these groups.  This year:  I seriously urge Jen to visit my post and grace it with a comment from her, being hostess and all!  I don’t conside challenges without prizes a waste, if I have the pleasure of the hostess reading my contributions.  :-)  Check back for the literature I add to both places.


Just A Beginner 01-03  ~  A Conversationalist 04-06
Carolyn Is Trilingual 07-09  ~  A Top Linguist! 10-12

I will reach “Conversationalist” level for certain.  Let’s see how many more translated works I read.  A few might be in their originating languages.  :)


“The Tin Flute”  Gabrielle Roy  1947
“The Road Past Altamont”  Gabrielle Roy  1966
“The Hidden Mountain”  Gabrielle Roy  1961
“Wildflower”  Gabrielle Roy  1970
“The Secret Supper”  Javier Sierra  2004
“One-Hundred Years Of Solitude”  Gabriel García Márquez  1967


Dilettante 01-05  ~  Seeker 11-15
Explorer 06-10  ~  Master 16-20

I see I have already cleaned up the “Dilettante” level.  There will be many more.


(1)  “Lucky Man”  Michael J. Fox  2002
(2)  “The Kids Canadian Bird Book”  Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins  1995
(3)  “Let’s Go! The Story Of Getting From There To Here”  Lizann Flatt, Scot Ritchie  2007
(4)  “Eyes Of An Angel, Spirit Guides, Reality Of Love”  Paul Elder  2005
(5)  “Andrew Goes Fishing In Manitoba”  Carol & Kristin Szuminsky, Jack Brown  2008
“Made In Canada: 101 Amazing Achieve”  Bev Spencer  2003
“Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw”  Will Ferguson  2004
“Bathroom Book Of Canadian Trivia”  Angela C. Murphy  2005
“The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be”  Farley Mowat  1957
“Owls In The Family”  Farley Mowat  1961
“The Prophet’s Camel Bell”  Margaret Laurence  1963

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7 Continents & Africa

7 Continents 2016

It is my pleasure to meet Dorothee, whom I look forward to knowing as I participate in “7 Continents“.  You see immediately she is a strongly-connected hostess, answering all of her guests’ comments.  I read that she is a cancer survivor;  awful for anyone of any age to face.  It is special for me that she is German.  This is one country of my heritage I have not seen yet.  Even though I only speak and read the language mildly so far;  I always feel there’s something magical about befriending a German, right in the country.  It is as if German friends bring a stronger piece of the heritage to me.

A very happy benefit is, as a third generation Canadian RIEDEL:  I will get a break from misspellings and mispronunciations of my name!  In German-speaking countries, it is common;  the opposite of my constantly-correcting experience here!  Go on, English-speaking friends:  guess how these six little letters are supposed to be pronounced.  The goal of 7 Continents is easy on the surface:  only 7 books from each continent, with permission to replace the seldom lived-in Antartica.  That can be a book in which there is travel between any continents.

My rule is that I always draw my literature from our library.  With about 3,000 unread books here at our home – I have not counted – I can fulfill any requirements.  I will see if something connects with Antarctica.  Dorothee’s twist, to challenge us, is that authors be from the continents.  That’s a little trickier than selecting any old book depicting a country but I can do it and will keep adding literature that applies!  It is my way to keep surpassing limits all year, with whatever I find.  Please revisit my post to see the list I build.


The Kids Canadian Bird Book”  Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins  1995  (Canada)
The Union Street Bakery”  Mary Ellen Taylor  2013  (United States)

The Wyndham Case”  Jill Paton Walsh  1993  (England)
“The Hills Is Lonely”  Lillian Beckwith  1959  (Scotland)
“Central Line”  Maeve Binchy  1978  (Ireland)

“Secret Of The Samurai Sword”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1958  (Japan)

“The Forgotten Garden”  Kate Morton  2008  (Australia)

“The Midnight Side”  Natasha Mostert  2000  (Africa)

“One-Hundred Years Of Solitude”  Gabriel García Márquez  1967  (Columbia)

“The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax”  Dorothy Gilman  1971  (USA to Bulgaria!)


Kinna is a lovely, popular advocate of African and women’s literature, in Ghana.  I am rejoining her a second time, in eagerness to exceed the four books I contributed last year.  She asks for five books pertaining to Africa, with a request that three be written by Africans and not merely depicted there.  That is her twist that challenges me but drawing literature from our home library, I can do it!

Below, I will build a list of everything about Africa that I read in 2016.  It is always my intention to keep on reading beyond minimum instructions.  I must have other African-born authors but will read more by Natasha if need be.  It is handy that Margaret, from my province, lived in Africa with her husband for a few years.  Between the two, we have Kenna’s African-born literary content.


“The Midnight Side”  Natasha Mostert  2000  (Born in Johannesburg)
“The Prophet’s Camel Bell”  Margaret Laurence  1963  (Lived in Somaliland)
“The Cow-Tail Switch & Other West African Stories”  Harold Courlander  1947
“Secret Of The Tiger’s Eye”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1961  (Cape Town)
“The Mummy Case”  Elizabeth Peters  1985  (Egypt)

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Gothic Fiction 2016

Gothic Fiction 2016

I occasionally encounter reading groups that are right up my alley and which my own circles have been offering since 2014.  Even though “ETHEREAL” used the word “gothic” every year but this one, beginning on February 1….  it got missed by the audience that belongs with us!  :)

I am very happy to acquaint Diana Leigh.  It sounds like she might join “MY KIND OF MYSTERY” too;  also created with gothic mystery in mind.  Why wouldn’t everyone, who loves this stuff?  I might offer gothic paperbacks as prizes!  They are treasures to acquire.

I’d like to bring attention to a short essay I wrote three years ago.  When referencing websites that describe what “gothic mystery” is:  there are none better than the one I wrote!  Please visit it here.

Diana Leigh makes her theme easy by not sticking to books labelled “gothic”.  She welcomes us to let the feel of our reading be our gauge and so, I shall.  Please stay tuned for the material I will list, including reviews I hope you read.

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100+ In 2016


More and more, I am choosing challenges with hostesses who reward participation. So many closed crisply after new year’s eve and I spent days tallying them.  It became clear some were a waste of time.  More than not offering a prize incentive, I didn’t think the hostesses would read the posts I spent valuable holiday time filling in.  I wondered why I was bothering.  “The thrill of finishing” is insufficient.  I could do that on my own.  Hosting takes more attention and heart, than pasting a logo and thinking of a name.  I am happy to rejoin Freda because she makes doing so rewarding!

She will welcome me by visiting this post, answers comments at her blog, and is a warm Canadian I am happy to support.  Speaking of which, it is year three for my groups, girl!  :-)  The most special thing, which I cannot fathom making time to accomplish as a Mother and new wife, is looking at our reviews.  She reads all of mine!  The “helpful” button at Amazon Canada is never gladder than when she visits.  I am an author-in-training who carefully polishes 300-word reviews.  It’s my guess this is why I get away with some brief children’s literature.  I do the same full-fledged review for every book.  To be read – my articles at my own blog, as well as my reviews – is the number one gift to me.

This post will show everything I read all year.  Please give the last linky page a day or two after new year’s eve.  Nine of my books were left out.  I hated telling friends “I’m too busy with ‘reading challenges to visit during the last week of the year”.  That isn’t right.  Better still, I’m encouraging hostesses to begin in February.  I go right until the end, to push the number of books I read and review every year.  I broke 150!  My goal is to see if I maintain that with greater ease this year.  :)  Thank you for caring about our entries, Freda.  I am happy to return!


(1)  “Lucky Man”  Michael J. Fox  2002
(2)  “The Kids Canadian Bird Book”  Pamela Hickman, Heather Collins  1995
(3)  “The Sunflower’s Gift”  Ann Marie Brezovski, Patricia Trudeau  2014
“Let’s Go! The Story Of Getting From There To Here”  Lizann Flatt  2007
“Eyes Of An Angel, Spirit Guides, Reality Of Love”  Paul Elder  2005
(6)  “Andrew Goes Fishing In Manitoba”  Carol, Kristin Szuminsky, Jack Brown  2008
(7)  “The Wyndham Case”  Jill Paton Walsh  1993
(8)  “Feint Of Art”  Hailey Lind  2006
(9)  “The Union Street Bakery”  Mary Ellen Taylor  2013
(10)  “Ghost On Black Mountain”  Ann Hite  2011

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Mystery Tally & Cover Of 2015

My Kind Of Mystery 2015 guests:  have you identified this book cover, author, and year for an extra entry into our year-end prize draw?  There are no e-mails yet, so here are the hints I promised and they might as well be blunt.  ;)

My Kind Of Mystery 2015

This cover is gorgeous but I did not feel that way about its contents.  You might have seen me reading it at Goodreads.  I discussed disliking it in my mystery update post recently, on January 5.  That’s as blatent as hints can get.  All you have to do is revisit my last few books of 2015 in a Goodread’s shelf, or scan our mystery close-out post.  Heck, if you knew my books were listed in reading order, one could just check the list right here.  ;)  This is an English, female author no longer living.

Full Mystery Levels

I finished 75 mystery-related books.  Remember:  we include it all.  Phyllis A. Whitney’s excellent tutorial about how to organize ourselves to become authors helped me very much and is advice I will always remember!  Stephen King’s discussion about what horror is and how it works differently over time and via various mediums, was remarkably educational.  I gleaned far more from it than I imagined, not caring for horror but certainly applying the information to spooky moments and suspense.  Would you believe I had it on a shelf at least twenty years?  This is how it is with most of my hardcover Stephen collection.  I am reading each in that queue very occasionally.

From time to time someone opens a mystery or gothic-type group, missing mine or simply eager to do their own thing.  There is the longstanding vintage niche, the cozy niche, and an excellent gothic hostess for 2016, whom I am going to join.  Now for the third year:  there is no group like ours;  none encompassing the scope we do.  I am happy about filling that spot in our community and am determined that more clue into us.  If you enjoy the heart that goes into my circles, please help people find them.


Here are the top 6 books I treasured reading this year!
They exemplify the unique reach of “My Kind Of Mystery”.  These would not all suit other groups.  These reinforce how glad I am that our special twist works.

1.  Guide To Fiction Writing  (Genuinely helpful to my stalled manuscript)
2.  The Haunting Of Maddie Clare  (A fantastic, award-winning Canadian)
3.  The Tale Of Halcyon Crane  (Atmospheric, new Minnesota author)
4.  The Boarded-Up House  (100 year-old masterpiece!  Free as an e-book)
5.  The House On Tradd Street  (Such rare treasure-hunting for grownups!)
6.  Secrets & Mysteries Of The World  (I loved covering these mystical places).

Our 2015 review pages will be open another month at least, should you review later, when you have time.  If you are keen to start with 2016:  it doesn’t matter to me if you introduce what you’re reading now and finish in December.  I will be pleased to see you rejoining me.  A post and an e-mail is all you need this year (or an e-mail with a Goodreads shelf, if you don’t blog).
Thank you for making our groups the bright, friendly community they are!


(1) “The Palace Guard”  Charlotte MacLeod  1981
(2) “The Corpse In Oozak’s Pond”  Charlotte MacLeod  1987
(3) “Tempest In The Tea Leaves”  Kari Lee Townsend  2011
(4) “The Cat, The Quilt, And The Corpse”  Leann Sweeney  2009
(5) “Larceny And Old Lace”  Tamar Myers  1996
(6) “The Christie Curse”  Victoria Abbott  2013
(7) “The Cat Who Played Brahms”  Lilian Jackson Braun  1987
(8) “A Novena For Murder”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marrie  1984
(9) “Dyeing Wishes”  Molly MacRae  2013
(10) “Aunt Dimity Beats The Devil”  Nancy T. Atherton  2000
(11) “Mystery Of The Piper’s Ghost”  Zillah K. MacDonald  1954
(12) “Death Of A Literary Widow”  Robert Barnard  1979
(13) “The Half-A-Moon Inn”  Paul Fleischman  1980
(14) “The Riddle Of The Lonely House”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1935
(15) “Shattered Silk”  Barbara Michaels  1986
(16) “Body Of Intution”  Claire Daniels  2002
(17) “House Of Dark Shadows”  Robert Liparulo  2008
(18) “Fool’s Gold”  Juliet Blackwell  2013
(19) “Tom’s Midnight Garden”  Philippa Pearce  1958
(20) “The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe”  Penelope Lively  1973

(21) “When Midnight Comes”  Carol Beach York  1979
(22) “The Mystery Of The Other Girl”  Wylly Folk St. John  1978
(23) “Shadows At The Fair”  Lea Wait  2002
(24) “Whose Body?”  Dorothy L. Sayers  1923
(25) “The Mystery Book Mystery”  Wylly Folk St. John  1976
(26) “Charmed”  Barbara Bretton  2011
(27) “A Vision In Velvet”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
(28) “Greystones”  Antonia Lamb  1966
(29) “Murder On Location”  Howard Engel  1982
(30) “The Unmasking Of ‘Ksan”  Eric Wilson  1986
(31) “The Lost Treasure Of Casa Loma”  Eric Wilson  1979
(32) “The Missing Chums”  Leslie McFarlane  1928
(33) “Lament For A Lounge Lizard”  Mary Jane Maffini  2003
(34) “Gold Digger”  Vicki Delany  2009
(35) “Too Hot To Handle”  Mary Jane Maffini  2007
(36) “The Sayers Swindle”  Victoria Abbott  2014
(37) “The African Quest”  Lyn Hamilton  2000
(38) “Deadly Appearances”  Gail Bowen  1990
(39) “Witchery Hill”  Welwyn Wilton Katz  1984
(40) “The Castle In The Attic”  Elizabeth Winthrop  1985

(41) “The Witch Lady Mystery”  Carol Beach York  1976
(42) “Look For Me By Moonlight”  Mary Downing Hahn  1995
(43) “Spinning In Her Grave”  Molly MacRae  2014
(44) “How To Tail A Cat”  Rebecca M. Hale  2012
(45) “Watcher In The Woods”  Robert Liparulo  2008
(46) “Danse Macabre”  Stephen King  1981
(47) “Guide To Fiction Writing”  Phyllis A. Whitney  1982
(48) “A Haunting Is Brewing”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
(49) “Too Many Secrets”  Betty Ren Wright  1997
(50) “The Cat, The Professor, & The Poison”  Leann Sweeney  2010
(51) “Advent Of Dying”  Sister Carol Anne O’Marie  1986
(52) “Secrets & Mysteries Of The World”  Sylvia Browne  2005
(53) “Murder Buys A T-Shirt”  Christy Fifield  2012
Lost Treasures, True Stories Of Discovery”  Larry Verstraete  2006
(55) “Artifacts”  Mary Anna Evans  2003
(56) “The Chardonnay Charade”  Ellen Crosby  2006
(57) “Murder Under Cover”  Kate Carlisle  2011
(58) “The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax”  Dorothy Gilman  1970
(59) “Murder Sees The Light”  Howard Engel  1984
(60) “The Haunting Of Maddie Prue”  Alfred Silver  2000

(61) “Fruit Of The Poisoned Tree”  Joyce Lavene  2006
(62) “Murder At The Mendel”  Gail Bowen  1991
Girl Sleuth, Nancy Drew & The Women Who Created Her”  Melanie Rehak  2005
(64) “The Boarded-Up House”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1915
(65) “The Girl Next Door”  Augusta Huiell Seaman  1917
(66) “Poisoned Petals”  Joyce Lavene  2007
(67) “A Killer Plot”  Ellery Adams  2010
(68) “The House On Tradd Street”  Karen White  2008
(69) “The Night Of Four-Hundred Rabbits”  Elizabeth Peters  1971
(70) “Waiting For Willa”  Dorothy Eden  1970
(71) “The Haunting Of Maddy Clare”  Simone St. James  2012
(72) “The Tale Of Halcyon Crane”  Wendy Webb  2010
(73) “The Mystery Of The Stone Tiger”  Carolyn Keene  1963
(74) “Hunting For Hidden Gold”  Leslie McFarlane  1928
(75) “The Black Dudley Murder”  Margery Allingham  1929

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My Celtic Coasts Page

CELTIC COATS is new in 2016 and I hope you love the wide-open forum for all three countries, as much as I do!  My few Welsh books at last, have somewhere to go and I read speckled amounts of my Irish and Scottish literature.  I am excited that presenting them in unison occurred to me and hope many benefit from it.  This is my page to share what I read.  A bit of description follows.  Please click this gorgeous logo, to see my home site and how to join.


Celtic Coasts 2016


I am happy and excited to present:  CELTIC COASTS!
Mom is part Irish and Scottish, so I was ecstatic to visit Scotland in 2009.  My spouse & I wanted to visit Wales but hope to learn about it, through reading and friends we have there.  I have Welsh content in our library but not enough to fill challenges.  I have considered hosting a group for Ireland since 2013 and Scotland before that.  Here:   savour Celtic literature over all three of these gorgeous countries!  I imagine many would love to.

–  Authors born or residing in Wales, Ireland, Scotland.
–  Books in which any part visits these countries.
–  Welsh, Irish, Scottish connections.

I am immediately finding a lot ofconnections, like “Bridge Of Friendship” by Mabel Esther Allan, whose literature I cherish whenever I acquire it.  She is English and this book is in the United States.  A girl welcomes and befriends an Irish family.  I anticipate a lot of fun with this new group!  I can’t wait to dive in.

(1) Join by making a post to promote this group.  Send that link via e-mail!
(2) If you review, use our alphabetized page all year.
(3) Attend any conversation and activity you like.


The Stars Of Riedel Cards

Our boys, McCartney & Spirit, have their own line of cards!

There is one event with a prize, plus our year-end draw.  Other activities will be for fun.
See my other groups here!  *


My reading is varied.  Here are ideas for everyone keen on joining us.  I will link reviews here as I finish each book.


“Bridge Of Friendship”  Mabel Esther Allan  1975
“Keeper Of The Castle”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
“The Hills Is Lonely”  Lillian Beckwith  1959
“Central Line”  Maeve Binchy  1978
“Victoria Line”  Maeve Binchy  1980
“Echoes”  Maeve Binchy  1985
“Into The Fire”  Jodi McIsaac  2013
“The Trickster”  Muriel Gray  1994

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My Kind Of Mystery Page, 2016

MY KIND OF MYSTERY is ready for 2016!  How about you?  I will be nice to see us growing.  I have learned a lot since it premiered and made tweaks every year so we always have a purpose together, while never being complicated so anyone is shy about chiming in and playing.  This is my page to share what I read.  A bit of description follows.  Please click this year’s very whimsical logo, to see my group site and how to join.  When the author of this book logo is identified, you will most certainly understand the whimsy!


My Kind Of Mystery

Welcome to year three!

There are sub-genre groups.  Mine was born because I wanted to furnish a place for all mystery content.  Folks rejoining me:  your continued presence makes me smile.  I hope you enjoy our subtle changes.  Newcomers:  please think of yourselves as my guests in a friendly mystery lounge!  As low-key or active as you might be:  you make up our party!

Include anything you consider a fit:  children’s and non-fiction too.  Writing tutorials, author autobiographies, conspiracy theories;  all the way to mystical mysteries of the world.  “Crime” is one kind of mystery, not a synonym.  There are many others.  These creative, rare types are my favourites.


The Stars Of Riedel Cards

Our boys, McCartney & Spirit, have their own line of cards!

See my other groups here!  *

New Mystery Levels


These levels I had fun thinking-up, are now progress signposts for us to use, rather than decrees.  I know I will succeed at “Invisible Floor” level for sure but the point is to tell later, how we did.  Here are books I think I will read.  They will be linked to reviews as they are finished.


“The Wyndham Case”  Jill Paton Walsh  1993
“Keeper Of The Castle”  Juliet Blackwell  2014
“The Novice’s Tale”  Margaret Frazer  1992

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My Gentle Spectrums Page, 2016

GENTLE SPECTRUMS is ready for 2016!  I hope we keep growing like in 2015!  This is my personal page, with a bit of description.  Please click this year’s pretty logo, to see my home site and how to join.  If you can’t imagine answers to every subject yet, come for the party.  :-)

I had no books in mind when I created these ‘Gentle Subjects‘;  just had fun brainstorming them.  I printed them, carried the list and a pen around our house, and worked out titles the same as you will!  I’m certain my examples will spark ideas.

Gentle Spectrums 2016

Welcome to year three of GENTLE SPECTRUMS!

I created this dual game, initially for a place to continue with more colour titles than older challenges included.  There are many among my books.  Opposite from narrowing material, one hue at a time, we collect as many as we find.  Since everything may repeat, I request titles bearing actual colours and their spectrums.  For example, brown and beige;  not “chocolate”.  There is a list of additional vocabulary that makes “Limitless Palette” easy.

I also love matching titles to broad subjects.  With ample room for creativity and the fun air of a scavenger hunt, these naturally metamorphosed into one group.  Thus it has two options.  You need only join once.  If your material fits a second game, you are set!  Note:  games A and B are separate.  The same “Limitless Palette” book may fulfill a “Gentle Subjects” category dually.




“Ghost On Black Mountain”  Ann Hite  2011
“Grey Mask”  Patricia Wentworth  1928




“The Propet’s Camel Bell”  Margaret Laurence  1963


“Eyes Of An Angel:  Spirit Guides, Reality Of Love”  Paul Elders  2005
“The Hills Is Lonely”  Lillian Beckwith  1959


“A Wee Christmas Homicide”  Kaitlyn Dunnett  2009

4.  FOOD

“The Union Street Bakery”  Mary Ellen Taylor  2013
“The Bordeaux Betrayal”  Ellen Crosby  2008


“Cloaked In Malice”  Annette Blair  2012
“Spellcasting In Silk”  Juliet Blackwell  2015
“Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw”  Will Ferguson  2004


“Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library”  Chris Grabenstein  2013
“Here Lies The Librarian”  Richard Peck  2006


“The Album”  Mary Roberts Rinehart  1933
“Photography & The Art Of Seeing”  Freeman Patterson  1979


“Home From The Vinyl Café”  Stuart McLean  1998
“Voices After Midnight”  Richard Peck  1989


“The Etruscan Chimera”  Lyn Hamilton  2002


“One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”  Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel)  1960
“Bridge Of Friendship”  Mabel Esther Allan  1975
“The Night Travellers”  Sandra Birdsell  1982


The Stars Of Riedel Cards

Our boys, McCartney & Spirit, have their own line of cards!

See my other groups here!  *

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