Tag Archives: cozies

The Love of Puns, or punishment denied…


HK8861I knew a man once who was a pro at puns. Well, that’s not true – I’ve known three men who were pros at puns. My dad, my older brother, and another fellow, lets call him Paul. Not his real name of course, except, yeah, it is. Oh, and Mark. So four, at least.

Men all, and I can’t help but think there’s something in that. I never feel safe with them. They may burst into puns at any moment.

Each one of them is capable of stringing off puns, one after another, until I lie, writhing, on the ground, laughing and groaning and wincing with pain all at once. I remember one gruesome car trip where my brother and father riffed on puns about fish for an hour or more. I was trapped in the back seat, trying to block out the endless “I have a haddock!” “Perhaps it’s a cod coming on”, until my ears were about to rupture.

It takes brains to rig a pun. You’ve got to see parallel universes and be able to link them, you’ve got to adore word play, you’ve got to be literate and silly and not afraid of shunning.

Because shunned you will be.

Like dirty limericks or sleazy romance novels or lurid poetry, a little punning goes a long way. Remember, punning and shunning rhyme, and could probably be used in a limerick or lurid poem as such. To wit (as it were):

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Click on the photo for more…

For whom life was one terrible pun

He gathered no wife

Nor friends all his life

When they saw him a-coming, they’d run.

Now, I hasten to add that I like a good pun now and again. They can add spice, lighten up an otherwise turgid conversation, and when done well, can impress others with your wit. In writing, they don’t scan, really, except on a t-shirt. It’s sort of a “you had to be there” kind of thing. However, as book titles, they are fabulous. More than once I’ve grabbed a book based on the pun in its title. This author, I rationalize, must have a wicked sense of humour. I’m rarely disappointed.

Some of the titles I’ve seen:

The Long Quiche Goodbye (CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY) by Avery Ames

Affairs of Steak (A White House Chef Mystery) by Julie Hyzy

The Gingerbread Bump-Off: A Fresh-Baked Mystery by Livia J. Washburn

Liver Let Die (A Clueless Cook Mystery) by Liz Lipperman

One Foot In The Gravy: A Nashville Katz Mystery (D… by Delia Rosen

Due or Die (A Library Lover’s Mystery) by Jenn McKinlay

The More the Terrier (A Pet Rescue Mystery) by Linda O. Johnston

Shoe Done It (An Accessories Mystery) by Grace Carroll

You Better Knot Die (A Crochet Mystery) by Betty Hechtman

Ghoul Interrupted: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie

See? Dontcha want to read these? As for me, I’ve just ordered up a huge helping of Mary Jane Maffini books from the library. I feel the need for a well-written cozy as the snowflakes continue to fall, and she’s the queen of those. (Some of the others – well – a cute title still needs some good credible writing behind it!)

A good cozy is a welcome break from the very grim (but also wonderful) more realistic mysteries, like those by the inimitable Giles Blunt, or Mark Billingham. Like meringue after steak, they are a treat on the tongue, light and frothy and totally enjoyable and you don’t feel the need to check in your closets before turning out the light.

But use those puns sparingly, please. As one gardener pointed out to another, while looking at the beans sprouting from his compost pile, “The mung is the lowest form of humus”…

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On the HUNT!!! Mystery authors needed…


I am thrilled to have been made the chair of the 2015 Bloody Words Mystery Conference to be held here in gorgeous Halifax, NS. I think EVERYONE should come. Halifax is a glorious city, the conference is full of surprisingly nice people who have vented their anger at red lights and cell phones and traffic through fictional murdering, and the information and meetings with agents and writers and all is beyond compare.

And did I say how lovely the Halifax area is?

Check out Nova Scotia Webcams and have a look. In the next few weeks the tall ships are coming, so you can see them sailing around. You can see Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse on the cam, the shores all over, resorts and gold courses and ski hills and a lobster cam and a parrot cam.

If you come to the conference, you can even cadge a ride on one of the tall ships. But that’s in the future…

One of the big responsibilities of the chair and his/her bloody gang is lining up the guest speakers – especially the Canadian and International guests of honour. So I’m planning to read mysteries by the zillion, looking for those wonderful souls who write thrilling and day-stealing mysteries and who might be good conference speakers. I need suggestions! We all have favourites and tend to read them most, and I’m working on broadening my reading, but I can use help, guideposts to good places to hunt. Would love your help, dear reader…

Leave me a message with your favourites, or if you are already in Halifax, bring suggestions to our table at Word on the Street in September.

And keep your eyes peeled for Bloody Words 2014 in Toronto. It’ll be fantastic, too.