By Laura Bradford
Author of Dial M For Mousse, an Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery
When you write a cozy mystery you have certain aspects you must adhere to, not the least of which is the whole small-town/amateur sleuth backdrop. In and of itself, basing a story in a small town provides lots of background fodder—gossip, connections, fights, secrets, etc. But when it comes to the mystery component and the fact that murder must happen in this small town again and again (and again), you need your readers to be willing to suspend reality to an extent. Still, just as they need to accept the fact that ten murders have happened in quaint little Nowheresville, Ohio in as many (or less) years, you, as the writer, must make your sleuth’s reason for getting involved believable. Because really, why is the average-Joe bookseller going to keep putting herself in harm’s way to solve yet another murder?
It’s that challenge that I find particularly fun about writing a cozy mystery. I like seeing how the main murder plot can draw my main character toward it, rather than away from it like most normal people would go.
Just by the very nature of my Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, my main character, Winnie Johnson, is on the go—delivering her emergency themed desserts to college dorm rooms, businesses, personal residences, and even local politicians. So the potential for her to stumble across something out of the ordinary is higher than, say, a bookseller who stays in one place. But even if she comes across a body, there has to be a reason she’d want to get involved rather than just go home, detox with a hunk of chocolate, and let the local cops do their job.
In Éclair and Present Danger, the debut book in the series, grief propels Winnie to get involved when her elderly neighbor is murdered.
In The Silence of the Flans, book #2 in the series, desperation propels Winnie to get involved when the victim dies while eating one of her desserts.
And in Dial M for Mousse, the latest book in the series, anger propels Winnie to get involved when a routine delivery is manipulated into an alibi for murder.
So while it may be hard to fathom stumbling across dead bodies on a routine basis, everyone, on some level, knows grief…and desperation…and anger. And as long as we can identify on some level, suspending reality for our small town backdrop isn’t all that difficult. In fact, it’s actually kind of fun…
Dial M for Mousse, book # 3 in the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries by Laura Bradford, is now available wherever you buy your cozy mysteries. It’s available in both mass market paperback and E-book.
Laura is the national bestselling author of several mystery series, including the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, the Amish Mysteries, and the brand new Tobi Tobias Mysteries. Her first women’s fiction novel, Portrait of a Sister, will release in June 2018. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, and being an advocate for those living with Multiple Sclerosis.
To learn more, visit her website: www.laurabradford.com, or hang out with her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor/?fref=ts. She can also be found occasionally tweeting at: @Bradfordauthor.