Thursday, April 28, 2016

Male Amateur Sleuths!

When I think of cozy mysteries, I think of a female main character acting as the amateur sleuth, solving murders in a small town populated with somewhat quirky neighbors. But there is the rare exception--the male amateur sleuth.

One of my favorite T.V. series is Grantchester, based on the series by James Runcie. I haven't read the books yet (they're on my exceedingly long TBR list), but set in the 1950's in a small, English town of Grantchester, they feature Sydney Chambers, a vicar, who teams up with Inspector Geordie Keating. And I can't forget Sydney's black lab, Dickens!

Sometimes I define a book as cozy, but it's not categorized as such. For example, the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). The description for The Cuckoo's Calling does say it's a mystery in the classic vein, which, to me, suggests an Agatha-esque novel. If you've read The Cuckoo's Calling or The Silkworm, let me know if the comments if you would classify them as cozies.

It seems as though most detective or mystery novels with a male lead character are hard-boiled or feature a man associated with a crime-fighting agency, such as an FBI agent. For the cozy-loving reader, it's a nice to have diverse options for our beloved genre. I will always adore my strong heroines, the bakers, realtors, and book collectors who stumble into murder and can't resist the urge to figure out who done it. But every now and then it's nice to find a series that opens the door wider, broadening the cozy landscape.

What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy reading from a male POV, or do you prefer to stick with female sleuths? Any recommendations? Please let us know in the comments!

If you're looking for male amateur sleuths, here's a list from The Cozy Mystery List Blog:
Mystery Books With Men As Sleuths*

*note - this list is dated 2012, however, it's been updated in the comments


Sally Carpenter said...

A fun post! My books are not as well known as the ones you mention (LOL) but I write a male amateur sleuth. 38-year-old Sandy Fairfax is a former teen idol and TV star who's making a comeback and literally stumbling over dead bodies along the way. My books have a large number of strong women characters, so female readers still have someone to connect with. And Sandy is still cute!

Unknown said...

Grantchester is an awesome program. I love Sidney and totally addicted to thee program. We need more of this type of programming. I watch just about every series that is on PBS station but Grantchester is my favorite.

Michelle F said...

I would say several come to mind, but, of course, the only one I can think of is the one I'm reading now! The lead's an artist-cum-investigator, Chris Honeysett, living outside of Bath, who's a rather sauntering rather than striding sort. Author is Peter Helton. Also, GM Malliet's charming Anglican Father Max Tudor series (wonder if he's crossed ecclesiastical paths with the divine Sydney?). Memory echoes tells me there are others, and I suspect they're mainly Brits.Thanks for an interesting subject.

Mike Welch said...

Dear Jamie:
Loved your post! As it happens, I am a crime writing blogger too. I hope you will check out my stuff at the Crime Writers' Chronicle:
I write book and movie reviews, cultural commentary, travel, and meditations on the craft of writing. I would love to write as a guest for your blog. I can be reached at

Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

I love Grantchester. I'm working on a cozy series with a male sleuth, inspired by my dad actually. It's great fun to write. I hope readers will respond well as I know female sleuths in cozies are very popular.

Susan D said...

Interesting question.

There have been discussions all over the place about defining cosies (recipes, hobbies, etc), but I'd say not all books with amateur sleuths qualify as cosy. Take Phryne Fisher, for example. Amateur, yes. Cosy, not so much.

And Cormoran Strike? PI mysteries are their own genre, and not even close to cosy.:^)) I'm into the 3rd book, Career of Evil, and if you thought the first two were gritty, well....