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Wicked Wednesday: Lessons from Cozies

On Wicked Wednesdays, we all chime in on a topic. This week, what cozy series have you learned from? What has made that enjoyable?

Julie: Two series come to mind. First of all, Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody series. It is about Egyptologists at the turn of the last series. Really fun, funny, and I felt like I was learning about the scientific methods of the time. And then, when I went to Egypt, I brought Barbara Mertz‘s book Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphics. Interesting, since Barbara Mertz and Elizabeth Peters were one and the same person.

The other series is Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile series. I love learning about book binding, and the frame she has put around the series.

Jessie: I know I’ve mentioned her before but I love all the series by Charlotte MacLeod. Her books are lessons in silly fun that is balanced by well developed, meaningful relationships between people. Her characters are funny but they way she treats them celebrates who they are and the lives they live in a way that shows the regard she has for them.

Edith: Many years ago, when I realized I wanted to write a mystery novel, I was reading Katherine Hall Page‘s series, featuring caterer Faith Fairchild in a fictional Massachusetts town; Susan Wittig Albert‘s China Bayles herb shop series, set in Texas; and Diane Mott Davidson‘s Goldy Bear Catering Mystery Series. I drew lessons about writing a foodie cozy from all of these and kept them in the back of my mind, I guess. They all feature a female protagonist with a quirky female buddy. The amateur sleuth is courageous, funny, and an entrepreneur, and either at the start or later in the series they all have children at home, which I did at the time (and still do, blessedly, just not at home!). Who knows, my protagonists Cam or Lauren might acquire a child or two one of the these days!

Sherry: I came across Clare O’Donohue’s Someday Quilts Mystery Series because she was one of the authors on a panel I moderated at Malice. In the Double Wedding Ring, the characters, plot, and setting all were fully developed and felt real. I have several old quilts that my grandmother made. One of them is a double wedding ring. It was interesting to read about modern day quilt and pattern making while reading a great mystery.

Barb: I always mention Cleo Coyle’s Coffee House Mysteries. I love the way she turns Greenwich Village and the community around the Village Blend Coffee House into perfect cozy setting. Her characters are diverse and interesting and the back story (and how it plays out in the present) is fabulous.

I also learned a lot from three Maine-based series: Kaitlyn Dunnett’s Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mysteries, Sarah Grave’s Home Repair is Homicide Series and Leslie Meier’s Lucy Stone Mysteries. At first I was a little intimidated to jump into their ranks, but now that I have I realize what an inspiration these books are.

Readers, your turn: What cozy series have you learned from? What has made that enjoyable?

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