Welcome Author Sarah Osborne and a Giveaway!

All the Wickeds met Sarah Osborne at the Kensington Cozy Mini-Con in Cambridge, Massachusetts (our fair city) in April. Into the Frying Pan, the second book in her Ditie Brown Mystery series, just came out on May 28th, and we can’t wait to read it.

Take it away, Sarah!

It’s a Mystery to Me

I’ve read mysteries all my life, beginning with Nancy Drew, moving on to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, and finally to Elizabeth George, Louise Penny and the explosion of current writers, including all the Wickeds.

Most of the ones I love fall neatly within the category of cozy mysteries. They have one or more amateur sleuths who are quirky and smart. They have a handful of likely suspects, little blood and gore on the page, and a murder to solve. They keep me engaged but never make me too anxious.

These are the books I try to write.

It’s only when I try to fit my own cozies into a specific sub genre that I run into trouble. My Ditie Brown Mysteries (think Ditie from Aphrodite) don’t seem to land squarely in any subcategory.

As a person who has always had one foot out of the mainstream, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that my books find themselves in a similarly awkward position.

I love food, so I talk a lot about it—preparing it, eating it, and sharing it in the form of good recipes—but these aren’t culinary cozies. Ditie Brown is a pediatrician, not a local chef or baker. She doesn’t leave a large city to come to a small hometown. In fact, she does just the opposite.

History pops up often, especially Southern history, and especially in my second book, Into the Frying Pan. Ditie’s ex-boyfriend, Phil Brockton, the fourth, turns up in Atlanta for his beloved Civil War reenactments, and, as you might expect, murder on the battlefield isn’t far behind. However, my mysteries aren’t historical cozies because everything happens in the here and now.

Ditie and I both love pets, so they are always present. On occasion, they may help save a life, but these are not full-blown animal cozies. My pets don’t talk or solve crimes or become the star of the show.

So, what should I call my cozies? A pot-pourri, a melange, some kind of fusion?

Many cozies today focus more on character than plot, and I don’t fit into that mould either. I love them both. I want my characters to seem realistic and to behave in ways that make sense. I want them to be people you’d like to know as friends (the good ones, anyway), but I also want a twisty plot that keeps you guessing—hopefully to the end. As Sue Grafton said, “My job as the writer is to fool you. Your job as the reader is to see if you can catch me at it.”

Each book is meant to be a fast, fun read for a warm summer day or a cold winter’s night, and I always make sure everything comes out right in the end. The good guys triumph, and the bad guys pay for their crimes. Justice prevails.

At the same time, I don’t shy away from Ditie’s opinions and feelings, of which she has many. She loves herself as she is—short, a little overweight, with curly hair that never behaves—and she loves other people, however they come. She works in a refugee clinic and relishes the diversity. There are events that make her profoundly sad as well as happy.

Maybe it doesn’t matter where my mysteries fit. Perhaps I’m a lot more like most authors than I realize—I write what I love.

Readers: What kind of mysteries do you love? What kind of books draw you in, keep you engaged, and leave you eager to read more? One lucky commenter will receive a copy of Into the Frying Pan.

Sarah Osborne is the pen name of a native Californian who lived in Atlanta for many years and now practices psychiatry on Cape Cod. She writes cozy mysteries for the same reason she reads them–to find comfort in a sometimes difficult world. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Plot is the first novel in her Ditie Brown Mystery series. The second book in the series is Into the Frying Pan. Sarah loves to hear from readers and can be reached at doctorosborne.com or visit her on her Facebook Fan Page at Sarah Osborne, Mystery Author

66 Thoughts

    1. Hi Marla, I left a reply but it didn’t turn up, so I’m trying again. I also care a lot about characters. For me I want them to be believable. I don’t want them running into a burning building to meet a murderer when they should call the fire department and the police. I also want them to be interesting and funny when that’s possible. You can let me know how I succeed with that. Thanks.

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  1. Thank you Wickeds for introducing me to a new to me author! I am now following Sarah and can’t wait to explore her books. 🙂

    I love just about every cozy I’ve ever read and there are lots on my TBR list. To me a specific category isn’t as important as doing what you are doing – making it all realistic. If the characters aren’t human and and the situations realistic, it doesn’t make any difference what the story or category is.

    Love that your main character, Ditie, doesn’t fit in a mold as being perfect. To me that makes her more approachable and makes me want to get to know her better through reading “Into the Frying Pan” all the more. Of course since I live in the south, throwing in a connection to the south intrigues me even more. 🙂

    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book. I think it would be fun turning the pages and learning more about both Ditie and your writing trying to “catch you” before the last page.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Hi Kay, I loved hearing everything you had to say. You are my perfect reader, and I’ll be interested to hear how I measure up to your expectations. I lived in the South for a long time, so writing these books lets me stay close to a place I lived for years.

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  2. I think sub-genres and categories are mostly for publishers and booksellers, so they know where to put your book on the shelf. I’m not sure readers care.

    Me, give me a book with good characters and an interesting puzzle and I’m in!

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    1. Hi Liz, As I was writing this guest blog I realized readers may not care, or if they do care it’s about particular elements that they either like or don’t like. Some of the readers of my first book loved the reality of the situation the children were in. Others found it troubling. I know from my one reading, it all depends on where I am in life or what I need at that particular moment. I do know, for me, I love cozies because I want a comforting read with a good puzzle to solve as you mention. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like mysteries that have good characters and a great plot. I like it to be a surprise or close to a surprise but have the clues in the body of the work. Thanks for introducing us to this author.

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    1. Hi Kathleen, It’s a real challenge to leave enough clues so that when a person discovers the murderer, they say OK, that makes sense, but not so many clues that they say, well, that was obvious. I hope I will get better and better at leaving the right number of bread crumbs. Thanks for writing.

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  4. I love mysteries with strong likeable characters and jobs that interest me (cooking, needle arts, and baking come to mind). I also tend to prefer first person narration. Thank you for the chance to win – your series sounds delightful.

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    1. Hi Autumn, For me, first person is the natural way for me to write. It lets Ditie and the reader discover information at the same time and hopefully figure things out together. Food is a second love for Ditie and me. The recipes are tested, so if you like to cook, they are worth trying.

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  5. I love mysteries that open doors to new but continuing characters and environments so that the I stay involved over a whole series with anticipation for the next adventure with these people I come to care about. I also love connections to real events and cultures. Complex plots that drive me forward are great and I love it when I could not figure it out but then can look back to see that skillful writers did leave bread crumbs. I read very fast and read constantly so hats off to good mystery writers!

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    1. Hi Linda, Thanks for the wonderful comments. I couldn’t agree more. Except for the reading fast part. I’m a slow reader but that just means I savor what I love. These are the kinds of books I want to write as well as read.

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    1. Hi Sandy, If you like police procedurals, you’ve probably read Bruce Robert Coffin’s books. If not, check him out. He was a detective in Portland, Maine for years, and his books have all the authenticity you might love. As to cozies, what do you especially look for? What makes you finish a book and ask for more?

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  6. Sounds like a great new series, Sarah! I like true cozies with little or no blood and gore, believable “real” characters not perfect in every way, quirkiness, and with some setting or action that teaches me something new. I just read a book where the two main characters are just too perfect in every way. And very unbelievable….

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    1. Hi Ginny, You are the reader I’m looking for. I hope Ditie rings true along with her friends. And I hope I can teach you a little about the South. I’m not a Southerner, so my observations are those of a curious outsider. I’m also married to a true Southerner so that helps.

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  7. I like mysteries where there details are not too graphic, the clues are not too obscure, and there is interaction between the sleuth and their cohort.

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    1. Hi Barbara, I’ll be interested to hear if I fit the bill. There are a few inescapable details about the murders in Into the Frying Pan, but hopefully not more than you can tolerate. I also care a lot about the chemistry among my cluster of recurring characters. Thanks for writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I like pretty much any kind of well-done mystery—cozy, traditional, thriller, whatever. I just don’t like s book to be too graphic when it comes to violence, sex or language. Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi Ashley, I’ll be interested to hear how my writing works for you. Not quite culinary or historical but with lots of food and history thrown in. Test out my recipes and let me know what you think of them.

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  9. This is a new to me series that I must check out. I love all kinds of mysteries, from the cozies to the hard core thrillers. I like the fact that yours don’t fit in any particular box – all I need to do is that it’s a cozy and I can be pleasantly surprised from there.

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    1. Hi Sally, You are the second reader I’ve heard from who can go from cozy to thriller. I’m more of the “don’t scare me too much” kind of reader. I hope my books work for you. Thanks for writing.

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  10. Hi, I read almost exclusively cozy mysteries. Having said that I absolutely loved both your books! Can’t wait to read book 3 to see if you’ll reveal more about Lurleen and her background!!!

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    1. Hi Kimberley, Thanks for your enthusiasm. I will let you be the first to know that Lurleen’s back story gets revealed in the next book to be released may 2020. I thought I left everyone guessing long enough.

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  11. Most all the mysteries I read are cozy. Deborah Crombie and Elly Griffiths are more graphic. But since I watched the CSI’s and Bones, I can take some details of the murder(s). I’m happy that your sleuth is is a city since I live in one and sometimes get tired of the cute villages. Years ago we visited my mother’s cousin in the little town that she was born in. The cousin started complaining about Harrisburg so I reminded her of the rapes of old ladies that was happening in her area. Maybe that is the appeal of the murder in the perfect village – that no place is above evil behavior.

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    1. Hi Sally, I’ve read a lot of Deborah Crombie but don’t know Elly Griffiths. I’ll look her up as I’m always interested in another author to check out. Thanks I also like using a city setting, especially one I lived in for years–as the possibilities for mayhem are endless. I got a little tired of Midsomer Murders where everyone in the village died in each episode except for the crazy person who was the murderer. I also wasn’t too impressed with the detective’s skills in that series. I understand it’s been revamped, so I’ll try it again.

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      1. I got a freebie Midsomer Murder DVD and was very disappointed.  As you say, the detective skills were not up to snuff.

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  12. I love reading cozy mysteries. I like that they are fast paced reads with relatable and quirky characters and they keep you guessing until the end. I also like that they are set in small towns or a picturesque location.

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    1. Hi. My book may work for you in some ways and not in others. I want my stories to be quick fun reads that keep you guessing to the end, hopefully! They are set in a neighborhood in Atlanta, however–hardly a small town. However, I lived there for years and our neighborhood where Ditie now resides did feel like a small town. We knew our neighbors, could walk to stores and restaurants. My next book (due out in May 2020) is set in the picturesque town of Beaufort, South Carolina, so that might fit the bill for you.

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  13. New to me! I love finding new authors/books! I love everything about a cozy mystery..from the characters, to the atmosphere, towns/countysides, hobbies/or not, cooking /or not..all the way through to the Ah-Ha moment of Who-dun-it! Thanks and have a great day!! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  14. Thanks for visiting with the Wickeds. Sarah! I love Scandinavian mysteries and historical mysteries. I love contemporary PIs and police procedurals. I love laugh-out-loud capers and Golden Age mysteries. It really doesn’t matter to me what the sub-genre is as long as I love the characters and the story they take me along on!

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    1. Hi Jessie, You really read across the board. Scandinavian mysteries are sometimes a little dark for me although they are almost always well-written. I also love historical mysteries and the old classics. Whenever I discover an old author I didn’t know about, I’m happy. Their stories are usually really well-written, succinct, and amusing. Thanks for writing, and I hope I get to meet you properly at some future Sisters In Crime event like Crime Bake.

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  15. Sounds very interesting. Welcome to the blog. I love cozy mysteries. I love the settings, the characters and the flow. I can get lost in them and always want more. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of your book. kayt18 (at) comcast (dot) net

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      1. Hope Callaghan, Cleo Coyle, Susan Wittig-Albert, Diane Weiner, Jenn McKinlay, Sam Cheever, and V.M. Burns to name a few!

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    1. Hi. Sadly, Atlanta is pretty far from the ocean. However, the third book in the series, due out in May 2020 is set in Beaufort, South Carolina and it’s right near the water. I also love the covers Kensington produces. Again, the only caveat is that while a cat does exist in my story, Into the Frying Pan, he doesn’t do much except act imperious as cats tend to do.

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  16. I love cozy mysteries! There is nothing better than staying home on a rainy day with a hot cup of tea and a cozy mystery to read!

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    1. Hi Rena, I couldn’t agree more. I’m on vacation at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon. It’s a bed and breakfast for book lovers, and I spent most of yesterday lying on my bed reading a wonderful book–Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. It’s a mystery but not quite a cozy. If you don’t know the bed and breakfast and you get to the west coast, check it out on line.

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  17. I started reading mysteries with The Cat Who… series many years ago. I think that I have stuck with the cozies because I liked that series so much. I enjoy having an animal feature prominently in the book and the main character to be a little quirky but definitely smart and maybe a little more on the mature side age-wise.

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    1. Hi Sue, I was also very into the cat mysteries years ago. Not sure it’s the same series. The ones I read involved two siamese cats who solved mysteries. While a cat is prominent on the cover of my second book, it’s actually a dog who has a major part to play.

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  18. I love all cozy mysteries but my favorites are generally food based or animal based. I realized as I was writing that this list could go on and on. Never read a cozy I didn’t enjoy.

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    1. I’m glad to hear about your interest in unusual occupations. Ditie should fit the bill. My next book is set in Beaufort, South Carolina–that was an exotic location for me that required a couple of trips to get the facts right. All fun.

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  19. I love cozies and I don’t think they have to fit a “sub-genre” – your books sound super. Thanks for the chance to win one.

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