Cozie mysteries are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are minimized and the crime and its solution take place in a small, socially intimate community. The detectives can be professional but most frequently are amateurs and can be male or female. The Miss Marple mysteries of Agatha Christie, the Mr. and Mrs. North series by Frances and Richard Lockridge, and three different mystery series by Rita Mae Brown represent some of the best of the cozie genre.
Time for them to move over and make room for another writer who should also become a Queen of the Cozies: Trisha Sugarek. Ms. Sugarek, author of the blog Writer at Play, has been writing for four decades. She began her career acting, directing and writing stage plays, but this multi-talented author has also penned two novels, two books of poetry, and a group of children’s books. She began writing The World of Murder series in 2013, and this reviewer popped into the series with book four, The Angel of Murder, published this year.
New York Police Department Detectives Jack O’Roarke, a big, tough Irishman, and Stella Garcia, whose sweet quiet demeanor is his perfect foil, have evolved through the series. This time they have a serial killer on their hands. The bodies of little girls, dressed for a Catholic First Communion and wearing a gold cross on a chain around their neck, are turning up in all five boroughs of New York City and there are no suspects. The story opens with the unexplainable disappearance of a girl from Garcia’s son’s school, and she and O’Roarke have the unenviable job of interviewing all the parents. To complicate their investigation, a private detective has been hired by one of the families to find one of the missing girls. In spite of all their effort, O’Roarke and Garcia hit dead end after dead end. Who is this monster and how does he manage to walk off with these girls without being seen? When will he strike again?
The author writes in a spare style but draws the characters with precision. She keeps the reader engaged and moves the plot along a breakneck speed with action and good dialogue. I intend to go back and read the three previous books, but it’s not necessary to enjoy this one.
You can visit Trsha at her website, Writer at Play: http://www.writeratplay.com/