Friday, January 28, 2011

There Is No Such Thing As An Amateur Sleuth

Cozy mysteries are a subgenre of mysteries in which there is little or no sex or violence, the crime is usually solved by an amateur sleuth, and quite often the books are humorous. I read cozy mysteries. I talk about cozy mysteries. I write cozy mysteries. And that's absurd because there's really no such thing as an amateur sleuth.

Think about it. How many amateur sleuths have you met in your lifetime? Probably as many as I've met, which is none. I'm saying if they existed, you'd have seen one by now. Seems to me they're as scarce as unicorns.

Seriously, do you know people who would deliberately meddle in a police investigation? Or put themselves or the families in the sights of a killer? Because that's what amateur sleuths do.

That's one thing that makes them so much fun. I can read a cozy, and no matter how many victims fall to a killer, I can rest easy, knowing the book isn't even close to reality and there's going to be a happy ending. Cozies are pure escape fiction and the funnier and more over the top, the better I like them.

Sometimes I read the other kind of mystery, the ones where all the gory details are spelled out in the goriest of detail and the suspense ratchets up until people would have to resuscitate me if the phone rang. Too much of that kind of reading and I can't relax enough to go to sleep. Time to switch back to reading a good cozy.

Now we're talking. The main character is an ordinary person, usually someone with a strong sense of justice and who's nosy. The cast of supporting characters can be as real or as quirky as the author wants them to be and the same goes for the plot, which is often over the top.

I like to laugh, I like light reading, and I love cozies. In my book, amateur sleuths rule.

My amateur sleuth is Leigh McRae, a horsewoman who lives in a small Florida town with her daughter and her fiancé. She's nosy, she likes to help people, and she can't stand it when a wrong goes un-righted. Leigh and her sidekick, her wacky cousin Sammi, get themselves in a lot of trouble. Leigh is the first to admit she's a terrible detective. But somehow she manages to bumble her way to the truth.

I've just published the second of my Leigh McRae horse mystery books, The Witness Wore Blood Bay.  For now it's available at the introductory price of just $ .99. Draumr Publishing, publisher of Talented Horsewoman, has temporarily lowered the price of Talented Horsewoman from $6.99 to $2.99 to help  promote the series. If you want to read both of these, now is the time to buy. 

Very short excerpt from a scene where Leigh and Sammi are watching a movie while they discuss criminal activity in their town:

Sammi was too busy oohing and aahing at the vision in front of her to notice anything such as popcorn. The first scene featured one of her favorite actors stepping into the shower. They showed him from the back only, but it was enough to keep Sammi’s eyes glued to the set.
“Can you believe it? Isn’t that the most gorgeous rear end you ever saw in your life?” She leaned forward to get a better look, and I knew she was wishing I had a sixty-inch high def instead of my plain old nineteen inch, circa 1980, hand-me-down from Aunt Dorothy.
I snorted. “Drag your eyes back into their sockets, woman. That is soooo a stunt butt.”
“Is not.” She snatched the remote off the coffee table and hit pause. The picture froze and the well-tanned butt in question took up so much of the screen it looked like a ripe peach.

Talented Horsewoman                                     The Witness Wore Blood Bay


  1. You're so right, about the concept of amateur sleuths not being realistic. YET, cozies are SO fun to read. Especially yours! I've already read The Witness Wore Blood Bay, and I absolutely LOVED it. Leigh and her supporting cast of characters make for a very, very fun and entertaining read. :-)

  2. Linda, You're right on target. That's what makes cozies so delightful. They are all happily ever afters. Your fans and new readers are going to love The Witness Wore Blood Bay. Terrific title!
    An excellent read.

  3. Stunt butt! Oh Linda, you are so funny. I can't wait to read the book but have to wait for the print version. I love how the 'amateur sleuths' stumble into so many mysteries -- what are the odds of even one? but that's what makes it fun to read.

  4. Loved it. I love cozy mysteries. Can't write them, but I do love to read them. Definitely on my TBR list. And like Sandra--I love the stunt butt comment. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sandra, the print book is in the works. I just ordered my proof copy and if it passes muster, the book will be up on Amazon very soon.

  6. Loved the excerpt! I about spit out my coffee when I read "stunt butt".

  7. That Sammi! She's a character! Stunt butt!!! Leave it to Leigh to be "practical". I've ready both Leigh McRae's and LOVED them both. I really enjoy cozies, and have several authors to which I'm partial. Thanks, Linda, for a very good explanation of "cozies".

    BTW, am I the only one having trouble getting the trick word that you have to have to post the comments? It's not just here, but every Blogspot I've tried to post on, lately.

  8. Linda, I often have trouble with those trick words. Some of them I have to try several times. Blogspot isn't as bad as a few other sites where I've actually had to email the site for help. I mean it, it's like trying to decipher chicken scratches.

  9. I'm really looking forward to reading my copy! :)

  10. Sheilagh Lee said:It seems we both write in the same genre cozy mysteries.I love your sample it will make a great book.