Post by Default User
The best fantasy detective books thread brought to mind some books I
read. For the most part, they are straight-up mysteries, except that
the protagonist is visited regularly by the family "haint". This the
ghost of a former family slave (the books are set in the Mississippi
delta) who during and after the war helped the protagonist's
great-something grandmother keep the plantation after both their
husbands were killed in the fighting.
Now, the ghost doesn't help a lot with the ongoing mysteries, in fact
she kind of indicates that such would be against "the rules" She does
drop the occasional vague hint or opinion on something. At one point
she says she doesn't believe in magic, earning the retort, “Very
interesting. A skeptical ghost."
Mostly her appearances are to meddle in the protagonist's personal
life. You see, she's currently the last of her line, so unless she
breeds another generation, what's a family haint to do without a
family to haint? Tick-tock on the biological clock.
Unless the protagonist is seriously nuts, then I guess we have to
assume the ghost is real. No one else has seen her (so far) but the
pets seem to recognize something when she appears.
Fantasy? Not fantasy? How involved does the supernatural element have
to be in the mysteries?
I wouldn't put them the SF/F section of my hypothetical bookstore. The
people looking for a book like that would be readers of cosy mysteries.
I'm given to agree, because that's about as supernatural as Qwilleran's
cats, and we all /know/ where Lillian Jackson Braun was shelved.
Incidentally, if we ever have need of physical bookstores again, can I
suggest that cosy mystery be separated from the rest of the genre?
I'll admit that *I* liked reading both Dave Robicheaux and Qwill, but I
think I'm rare in that (and also a mystery fiend in my girlhood--half of
Paretsky and all of Grafton up to 2006, as well as Hillerman and other
Four Corners mystery writers) and at any rate I've only read "In the
Electric Mist with Confederate Dead" out of Burke's work--
(which incidentally is as dangerously /over/ the fantasy line as Ed
McBain's *Candyland*, and that latter even legendarily got McBain to use
BOTH his bylines and bill it as a collaboration because it was so far
off from either of his typical /limited/ oeuvres as to need to be passed
off as from both of them, even though 'both of them' were /him/, so I
guess this sort of goes back on not only the general but the specific
topic--which genre do you shelve *THOSE* novels in?)
1/2 anthrocat, nearly 1/2 anthrofox, all magical
Transgoddess, quick to anger.
Call me Chrysi or call me Kat, I'll respond to either!