A recent rash of reviews delighted, surprised and puzzled me.
People from Germany, the USA, Australia and Brazil not only recommend the Beatrice Stubbs series as crime novels but also appreciate the sense of humour.
Despite the horrors of the case involved, there is always a dash of humor throughout the story, with credible characters and dialogue. Whilst Beatrice is the central character, there is a great ensemble cast of personalities that I felt brought this novel vividly to life. More than once I found myself giggling along at the team members’ interactions as they worked and socialized together.
For me, a sense of humour is fundamental to every aspect of life, love and creativity. Whether writing an epitaph or falling in love or creating a crime series, there must be room for laughter.
… it is the characters that made this a truly enjoyable, original read. Their banter and interactions, their quirks and the inimitable sense of humor had me laughing out loud. I particularly loved Beatrice’s odd turns of phrase and her love-hate relationship with Herr Kälin, who ended up growing on me.
Is there room for comedy in crime in today’s environment of darker and grimmer noir, or does one instantly get labelled as ‘cosy’?
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Human Rites by J.J. Marsh when I first started the book. For some reason, I was afraid it was going to be a cozy mystery.
Advice on book marketing says ‘know your shelf’. What are you like? Dan Brown stalks Lara Croft? Agatha Christie snuggles Alexander McCall Smith? Karin Slaughter splatters Tess Gerritsen?
Beatrice Stubbs isn’t cosy. But neither will she make you gag on your macaroni cheese (apart from one scene in Raw Material – apparently it turned one reader vegetarian).
The books address politics, culture, society and morality, but keep plot and character on centre stage.
Certain bits might raise a laugh, especially if you are of the black-humoured sort.
One reviewer put it best.
The easiest comparisons to make with Marsh’s writing are Golden Age detective writers like Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham. Don’t run away with the idea that this means cosy crimes solved by some old dear in between knitting a bed jacket and planting out her spring bulbs… if you like your crime fiction propelled by wit and intelligence rather than by violence, you will love this book.
So where to find Beatrice Stubbs? Turn left after cosy.
Colin Bateman on wit and balls. It’s No Crime to Be Funny.
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