by Julie, making soup in Somerville
I’m delighted to welcome Patricia Sargeant, otherwise known as Olivia Matthews, to the blog today. Patricia and I recorded a great conversation for the Sisters in Crime podcast recently (it will be released later this winter), and I’m thrilled to let you know about this multi-published author.
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Situations
Thank you to The Wickeds authors for inviting me to spend the day with your community. I’m honored and excited to be here.
I write cozy mysteries as Olivia Matthews. My first cozy mystery trilogy, the Sister Lou Mysteries, debuted in 2017. The amateur sleuth was a Catholic sister. I’m working on my second cozy mystery series, the Peach Coast Library Mysteries, which features a fish-out-of-water librarian as the amateur sleuth. I’m looking forward to introducing my third cozy mystery series, the Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries, in 2023. The amateur sleuth is the owner/manager of a family-owned West Indian Bakery.
One of the reasons I enjoy writing cozy mysteries is that I love putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances to make them find the Hero Inside. Even when I wrote romantic suspense, my protagonists were people like me. One was a sci-fi writer. The other was a newspaper reporter. But I digress.
With cozy mysteries, we don’t have to feature law enforcement, or active or retired military personnel. Our protagonists don’t have to be experienced or proven when it comes to fighting crime. They just have to be motivated and earnest. They just have to try. If they bumble and stumble their way through an investigation, we grade them on a curve. We understand this isn’t their usual dance. If they need a pep talk before confronting a suspect, we empathize. We’re not comfortable with confrontations, either. And there’s no shame in screaming in fear during a dangerous scene. Heck, we’d scream, too.
Featuring people like me – people without experience, without training – as the sleuths in my stories also is a form of positive visualization. I imagine I’m in a situation like the one I’m writing. What would I do? How would I handle it? If my first guess doesn’t work out, I can revise it, hoping for a better outcome. That way, I’d have a plan if a homicidal maniac ever chased me along a jogging trail.
What about you? Do you prefer investigators who are “ordinary” people like Agatha Christie’s Ms. Marple or law enforcement protagonists like her Hercule Poirot? Do you put yourself in the role of the sleuth? You can tell us. This is a safe space.
Thanks again for allowing me to hang out with you. I look forward to reading your thoughts on cozy mystery sleuths.
About the Author
Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym of national best-selling and award-winning author Patricia Sargeant. Her mysteries put ordinary people in extraordinary situations to have them find the Hero Inside.
About the Peach Coast Library Mysteries
Marvey’s a librarian from Brooklyn who makes book-themed jewelry as a hobby, looks after her cranky cat, and supports events for readers and authors. She’s still adjusting to quirky small-town life in Georgia—and that’s before she discovers a dead body in a bookstore.
When her new best friend becomes a suspect, Marvey develops a new hobby: solving a murder mystery. With her talents for research, her knowledge gleaned from crime novels, and a whole lot of determination, she pursues the truth. But even as she gets closer to it, could she be facing a deadly plot twist?
Congratulations on your various series, Patricia – they all sound wonderful! As a fellow cozy author, I’m always putting myself in the shoes of my poor amateur sleuths.
Hi, Edith! Thank you so much for your kind words. LOL! I love acting out some of my scenes before writing them. LOL!
Hi Olivia / Patricia!
I really like the sound of the Peach Coast Library series so I’m going to have to get my hands on it.
As for whether I like sleuths to be amateurs or professionals, I don’t have a preference. I read a lot of different types of books and they feature both kinds of crimefighters. It’s all about the story. That determines if I like the character / series or not.
Hi, Jay! I love that you enjoy all types of books. Do you read fiction and nonfiction?
I should’ve been more clear. I read a lot of different types of fiction books. I do occasionally read a non-fiction book but they are usually biographies on musicians or sports figures I like. And it is not something I pick up all that often. The most recent ones are about actress Hayley Mills and Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French.
But I tend to avoid real world topics when it comes to reading because I read for pleasure and dragging reality into my entertainment makes it far less entertaining for me.
Hi, Jay! I couldn’t figure out how to respond to your post below so I’m responding up here. I completely understand about wanting to focus on fiction for pleasure reading. I read a lot of nonfiction, most of it for research purposes.
Ooh, a third series, can’t wait to read it. Depending on the book, the sleuth can be either an amateur or a professional. When I read these books I do put myself in their role and try to guess who is the killer.
Dru Ann!!!! How are you? Like you, I love trying to guess the killer and the motivation. So fun!
Welcome, Olivia! I don’t have a preference for one type of sleuth over another. As long as they’ve been drawn as real people not caricatures, I’m good.
Hi, Liz! I agree. I’m not a fan of caricature characters. I prefer three-dimensional, realistic protagonists.
Welcome, Olivia! I don’t have a preference for one type of sleuth over another. As long as they’ve been drawn as real people and not caricatures I’m good.
Welcome, Olivia! I don’t have a preference for one type of sleuth over another. As long as they are drawn as real people, not caricatures, I’m good. (Apologies if this comment shows up 3 times. It won’t post on my computer.)
No worries, Liz! I’m very grateful to you, Edith, Jay, Dru Ann and Judy for joining me today and posting comments.
The main character in a murder mystery can have any occupation as far as I am concerned, but needs to be someone I can like. Each of your series sounds inviting and I wish you the best of luck with them all.
Hi, Judy! I agree that it’s important to like the main protagonist. That’s one of the reasons I try to wait until I’m in a good mood when I’m writing. LOL!
Love ordinary people in cozies! It shows that there is a little bit of hero in all of us – if we only accept the challenge. I love the diversity where the main character doesn’t have to be young, in perfect shape and their life all laid out perfectly for the happily ever after. Personally, I don’t know anyone like that. 🙂
Excited to meet a new to me author and to explore your books! Already connected with you on social.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Hi, Kay! Thank you so much for your interest in my work. I really appreciate that. And thank you for connecting with me on social media. I look forward to chatting with you in the virtual space.LOL! I love the way you put it, there’s a hero in all of us if we accept the challenge. 🙂
Hi, Patricia! Like Liz, I enjoy sleuths of all sorts-amateur, P.I., cop. The big thing for me is to have the emphasis on the puzzle. Cheers!
Hi, J.C.! That’s one of the reasons I love mysteries. I love puzzles.LOL!
Welcome to the Wickeds! Congratulations on your books! I love your line about finding the hero inside that is so true. I imagine myself as a sleuth, but know I would probably run and/or faint. Thanks for joining us!
ROFL!!!! Sherry, I’d probably be right behind you. With “flight or fight,” I definitely believe I’m in the “flight” column. Hopefully, we wouldn’t faint until we got to a safe place. ROFL!!!
Welcome to the Wickeds, Olivia. Best of luck with your three series. I am happy with either amateur or professional sleuths, as long as the amateurs aren’t ninnies and the professionals have some personal investment in the case that makes it more than a dry procedural.
Hi, Barbara! Thank you so much for the welcome and for letting me spend time with the Wicked community. Thank you also so much for your well wishes for my series. LOL! I agree; no ninnies allowed. LOL!
Hi Olivia – Best of luck with your cozies! They all sound wonderful. As for me, I enjoy both amateurs and professionals depending on 1) the story, and 2) my mood. There are times, especially the past 2 years, when I don’t want to venture any further than the cozy worlds I’ve come to know and love.
Hi, KaitCarson! Thank you so much for your kind words about my cozy series. I agree that a reader’s mood can have a strong influence on the type of book one chooses to read in the moment.
I’m reading Murder by Chapter One right now. I’m enjoying very much!
Kimberley, wow!!!! I’m so excited!!!! Thank you for taking a chance on Murder by Page One. I hope you enjoy the story! 🙂 🙂 🙂
While I will read about the professionals, I tend to enjoy the ordinary person stories more. Yet another reason why I enjoy reading so many cozies.
Enjoyed Murder by Page One last year.
Hi, Mark! Oh, my word!!!! Thank you so much for taking a chance on Murder by Page One. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it. So excited!!! And I really do enjoy the ordinary person mysteries and suspense, too.
How come I never heard of any of these series? OMG, do I ever have a lot of catching up to do!! I much, much prefer amateur sleuths because they are real escapism, the reason I love to read cozies. Off to the bookstore…
Hi, GinnyJC! Your response made my day! Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the stories. I’m walking on air. LOL! And I think you put it perfectly: Amateur sleuths are real escapism. LOL! Love it.
Thank you so much for spending the day with me! This is such a lovely community. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’m so grateful for your warm welcome and kind words. Happy reading, everyone!
Comments are closed.