This article in The Age on October 13th by Jane Sullivan, titled ‘Are Richard Osman’s books a boon or disaster for crime fiction?‘ highlights how successful Richard Osman’s cozy mystery series has been. In my view, Richard’s success is good for crime fiction writers in general, and is a boon for Australian writers in particular. However there are reviewers cited who express a very negative view, and one such is James Grieg, who goes as far as saying that the recent success of cozy mysteries is “the single worst thing that could have happened to crime fiction.”
In terms of Australian crime writers, Osman’s success is great news. Cosy mysteries sell millions of copies in the USA and UK, but, until Richard Osman published his first cosy, this sub-genre had not been very popular with Australian readers. For too long, Kerry Greenwood was a lonely champion of cosy mysteries. Now Australians have read and enjoyed Osman’s books, crime writers have a little explored sub-genre to try their hand at, which can lead to an international readership they may not have tapped into before.
I also write crime thrillers as L.A. Larkin so I can say, hand on heart, that Grieg has misread the mood of the time. Since Covid, there has been an upsurge of readers switching to cosier novels that give people hope. Readers want to believe that good will vanquish evil and it’s okay to smile again, after years of fearing Covid and losing loved ones to the virus.
And finally, Osman’s novels are structurally complex and the characters are fascinating. The cozy mysteries selling well are those that are well written. It is unfair to condemn cozy mysteries to the badly-written pile. As in any genre, there are well-written novels and poorly written ones.
Long live cozy mysteries because they make us smile and give us hope. You can read the article by clicking here.