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Writing Cozy Mysteries

The Hazards of Writing a Cozy

by G G Collins          (Copyright 2017)

Available at Amazon September 15, 2017

Mystery cozies were originally just called mysteries. Even before Agatha Christie, there was Mary Roberts Rinehart. She introduced the “had I but known” device. I devoured  Rinehart’s books but soon attacked Christie’s as well. But I owe it all to a book by Shirley Jackson entitled We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The ending blew me away and it was my introduction to mysteries.

Cozies, a term introduced during the 1980s, have a few things in common. The murder happens “off screen” and is usually poison, a simple wallop to the head with say a candlestick or a clean shot without a lot of blood. Please no hollow R.I.P bullets, a .22 will do nicely.

These murders happened to people and in places where, well, these things just don’t happen: a mansion, bookstore or in my case a book publisher who specializes in mysteries. Did you see that coming? Often the sleuth is an amateur, although they can be a promising amateur.

In the early days, the emphasis was on the puzzle and the suspects. And everyone was and is suspect. The cats, recipes and delving into characters backgrounds and careers is a more modern concept. And if there is romance, it’s discreet. Like those kisses from the early movies that only allowed a 3-second kiss. And please, no bedroom scene unless you only see the lights go off from outside.

But here’s where I got into trouble; swearing! I admit it. I curse. And frankly, I don’t see how a someone who kills people would not use profanity. “Excuse me,” the killer said. “I’m going to cut your blankety-blank throat now.” Really?

Okay, I get it. Cozies are about having fun with murder. Someone gets the axe and we spend the rest of the book drinking tea, petting cats and maybe do a little baking until the perp is identified and all’s well with the world again.

My first cozy is due out in October 2017. I’m having a ball writing the Dead Editor File. But I’ve had a really difficult time, er, not cussing. I’ve even got my protagonist trying not to, you know; swear.

However, there is nothing I can do about her Abyssinian cat, Oscar. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life with an Aby, and believe me he could let loose with the four letter words; in Cat of course. He lives on in Oscar. Oscar is known to leave “surprises” for Taylor when he isn’t fed on time or in the way he’s grown accustom to dining.

So I’ll be washing my mouth out with soap and tossing quarters in the “swear jar” before the book is complete as I try to think of clever ways to not write well, you know.

And when I use the term “dang it,” well I think you’ll know what I was thinking. It’s the cozy way.

I hope you enjoy mystery editor Taylor Browning in her first outing in the Dead Editor File. Available on Amazon October 15, 2017.

 

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