Let’s pretend for a minute, we’re an author considering writing a new cozy mystery series. What is the secret of a successful cozy mystery series? After careful analysis of numerous successful cozy mystery series,’ we begin to notice a certain template to the storyline of each novel.
If we follow this template of success, our story should begin with a beautiful, blonde, female sleuth, recently divorced with, or without child. She must have a dog or a cat to capture the hearts of animal lovers. The pet doesn’t have to solve crimes, but it helps. Her sweetheart, (who likely resists a committed relationship) is connected to an inept police department, which gives her access to official information and documents generally withheld from the public. She must have a quirky friend, either of another race, gender or combination there-of.
She also needs an unusual profession or hobby. The best jobs or hobbies have already been snagged by other popular mystery series’. These include book store owners, catering services, dog groomers, travel agents, writers, pet sitters, private detectives, cruise ship directors, bakeries, college professors, librarians, etc.
For any hope of a successful series, she’ll need a career that hasn’t been done to death, but one that gives her access to plenty of potential murder victims or crimes. It is a series, remember? She will need lots of suspects. In the end she must succumb to temptation and make terrible judgment choices and at the last moment be rescued by her boyfriend.
We begin the cozy mystery template. Let’s have our potential sleuth own her own septic tank truck giving her access to plenty of overflowing back yards where she is able to spot various, nefarious ‘going’s-on’.
The lady septic pumper-outer and her quirky sidekick find a body in the pump house. Proceed to red herrings, unrequited love, and suspicious characters. Sadly, all have alibis.
Toss in some plumbing trivia, stopped up toilets, (a humorous scene or two involving overflowing toilets, or embarrassing bathroom scenes) and move right on to the climax where our heroine agrees to meet the Home Depot plumbing salesman in the plumbing warehouse, but neglects to tell anyone where she’s going. This is vital to any cozy mystery, a must-be-included situation.
The killer-plumbing salesman strings her up to the rafters, because she’s ‘flushed him out.’ Her death is imminent. However, her dog (or cat, raccoon or gerbil), tracking her scent, leads her detective boyfriend, having finally realized his true commitment to her, to the warehouse.
He arrives just in the nick of time. The killer is apprehended, every toilet is unstopped, and the heroine rides off into the sunset in her sewer truck.
This is a sure-fire formula to a red-hot New York best seller. Several folks have suggested I write this novel, and, stay tuned, I just might do it.
Check out my already published books on Amazon:
Black Cat’s Legacy, Thumper pursues a cold case murder. http://tinyurl.com/lrvevgm
Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Thumper goes to Texas and confronts an embezzling attorney. http://tinyurl.com/q3qrgyu
Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and his companion are left behind following an MVA... http://tinyurl.com/y6vhncq
Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot, Eccentric Mrs. Odboddy encounters Nazi spies and conspiracies on every hand. http://tinyurl.com/hdbvzsv
Mrs. Odboddy-Undercover Courier, Mr. O carries ‘secret documents’ by train to President Roosevelt. http://tinyurl.com/jn5bzwb
Mrs. Odboddy-And Then There was a Tiger, Falsely accused, Agnes seeks the missing war bond money. https://tinyurl.com/v96qhuv
All Things Cat, Twenty-one short stories about cats. http://tinyurl.com/y9p9htaj
I never realized a "cozy" mystery was a certain style for the story. Thank you, we all learned something today.
Of course this was humorous exaggeration just for laughs. It was just almost true!
Glad you enjoyed it Ellen.
This article is terrific!