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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The World of a Cozy Mystery: Part Two


Almost like a character of its own, the setting is also very important part of the cozy. You need to limit your suspects so you don’t end up with the population of New York City on your list. Most cozy mysteries are set so that the list of suspects is narrowed down to a handful of interesting people. A shopping mall on a busy Friday night isn’t a cozy setting.
A mountain resort, secluded island, isolated mansion, or private dude ranch with a small town sheriff in the wings is much more. . .well. . .cozy. J

I set Recipe for Murder in the Colorado Mountains at a small, upscale hunting lodge, so I could limit my suspects to the guests and staff. Remember your amateur sleuth isn’t going to have a great knowledge in forensic science and will need to rely on her own skills to solve the crime. A good setting will help her be able to do this.

Weather can also play a part in the cozy. Bad weather might isolate the suspect for example. Susan Davis’s upcoming Homicide at Blue Heron Lake with Barbour is set on a small chain of islands called Grand Cat Island. The secluded setting and occasional bad weather helped to not only set the scene, but make it become another character in the book.

Lastly, if you’re writing a cozy mystery, take a good look at your setting.

· Is it unique enough that it becomes a character of its own?
· Does your setting allow you to limit the number of suspects involved?
· Does it have that cozy feel?

If you said yes to these three questions then you’re on your way to a solid cozy setting.

Happy writing!



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