by Jennie Bentley
When you’re a cozy writer, you have to adhere to certain conventions of the genre. Cozies are traditional mysteries in the vein of Agatha Christie and the other classics, with an amateur sleuth, no graphic violence, no bad language, and certainly no graphic sex. Admittedly, I fudge a little on the language – some people curse, y’all, and if I’m gonna write about them, I feel I ought to portray them accurately – but I stay pretty true to the rest of it. Yes, Avery and Derek have sex (in case you wondered), but I don’t show it. They don’t talk about it much, either. And graphic violence creeps me out, so there’s no hardship there.
No, where I have the problem is with the cozy subject matter. Cozies tend to have a small cast of characters in a limited geographic (or otherwise) setting. A small town, a neighborhood within a bigger town, a college, a traveling acting company... I’ve got the small town, so no problem there either. But in the classics, the murders tend to be – for lack of a better word – very insular. It’s Cousin Freddy killing Aunt Alice for her money, or the seemingly devoted husband slowly poisoning his invalid wife so he can marry her sister. It’s all very small, very much rooted in the human condition, but not in a psychological thriller type of way.
Have a great February, y’all! Play nice without me!