by Becky Clark
Hi. Barb here filling in for Edith who’s out with hand surgery. Speedy recovery, Edith!
Today my, er Edith’s guest is Becky Clark. Take it away Becky!
Of all the tropes I like most about cozy mysteries, I think my favorite is the amateur status of the sleuth.
Moving houses as much as I did as a kid, I’ve always identified with the “fish out of water” comedies. There are a million of ‘em—and I’ve probably seen ‘em all—but these spring to mind:
- Private Benjamin
- My Cousin Vinny
- Back to the Future
- Groundhog Day
- Beverly Hills Cop
- School of Rock
All of these main characters suddenly find themselves thrust into a completely different life from the one they were happily leading. But by the end, they’ve conquered, if not embraced, the unfamiliar and have made a new home for themselves in their strange new world, or learned something important to take back to their old life.
Just like amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries, at least the ones I write.
Because I have an affinity for these fish-out-of-water sad sacks, most of the sleuths in my cozies are reluctant heroes. They don’t want to investigate this crime. They don’t want to stick their nose in other people’s beeswax. They want to pretend it never happened.
At least at first.
But then they realize that justice won’t be served if they don’t get involved. The wrong person will languish in jail. The bad guy will skip off into the sunset unpunished and unrepentant. The previously unsullied family name will live forever besmirched.
They won’t be able to get back to their “normal” life until they’ve solved this mystery.
The sleuth in my Mystery Writer’s Mysteries is a mystery author who keeps having real-life mysteries drop in her lap when all she wants is to craft fictional mysteries. She has her moments of wanting to curl up under the covers with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich, but knows she has to figure out whodunit.
In Puzzling Ink, the first in my brand-spankin-new Crossword Puzzle Mysteries, Quinn Carr has enough personal problems without finding a dead man face-down in his biscuits and gravy in the diner where she works. She’s happy to let the police investigate, at least up until her boss is arrested, throwing further chaos into her life.
I remember very clearly my genesis from reading mysteries to writing them. I was engrossed in a novel with a really kick-ass heroine and I thought, “Oh my. What would I do in that situation?”
Spoiler alert … it was nothing kick-ass.
It was more along the lines of eating grilled cheese under the covers.
But I found the question equally engrossing. How does someone with no police training solve a crime?
And the answer? The same way one writes about them … step by step, decision by decision, clue by clue.
Readers, what do you think about reluctant heroes? What is your favorite cozy trope? Do you think you could solve a crime? Comment and get a chance to win an ebook of Puzzling Ink! Follow the blog tour for more chances to win … and join us for the 24-Hour Launch Party for Puzzling Ink on Nov 3rd! Tons of prizes and fun! All the details at BeckyClarkBooks.com.
Award-winning author Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” Subscribe to her mailing list to apply to be part of her Review Crew and read her books before they’re published. She writes the Mystery Writers Mysteries, and the Crossword Puzzle Mysteries, among other things.
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