(Originally posted March 2, 2018)
Researching a new novel is always exciting. With the last one in the editing stage, I’m already working on the next one: A Cozy Mystery. In case you might not be familiar with the genre, it’s where a murder occurs usually “off stage,” without the gore. The crime usually takes place in a small community and is solved by an amateur sleuth. Think Jessica Fletcher on Murder She Wrote or the gang on Scooby Doo. Okay, that last one was stretching it. But, you get the idea.
I’ve been reading Cozies for a while. My favorite series was by a husband and wife team known as Robin Paige. Their books were set in Victorian England in the late 1800s, early 1900s.
Research for any book is fun and challenging, but more so with a murder mystery. Needing to find a way to murder the victim – my browser history is quite interesting. I hope the FBI doesn’t come calling. If so, they might find searches for “How to Get Away with Murder,” “16 Ways to Kill Someone and Not Get Caught,” and the ever-popular “The Only Murdering Murder Guide You’ll Ever Need.” Hmmm.
I’m really trying to stay away from disgusting murders and find a nice, yet unique way to do someone in without using the overused methods like poison or electrocution in the bathtub.
I’m also doing a lot of research on “Why” and what would provoke a person to do the dirty deed to another person. So far, my best find was a list of 192 reasons. That’s a lot of unhappy people.
On a positive note, I have located my small town. Even had a wonderful conversation with the Sergeant of the Sheriff’s substation in that town. Not only was he very helpful in answering my questions, but I also have an open invitation to visit and receive a tour of the substation.
I’ve chosen my “victim” – the one who no one likes. And I’ve cast the tangled web of characters, all with reasons to bump off the victim (that list of 192 reasons came in handy!)
I still need to ‘scout out’ a few locations where the body might be found. Local gathering places, businesses, etc. I want to make sure the body won’t turn up at a popular establishment, although familiar places will be part of the setting – making it more real to the readers.
The Sergeant already asked if there might be a character ‘like him’ in the story. One never knows who might pop in, pop out, or check out during this project. I do know, my characters are already telling me their stories and giving me their alibis. And by the way some of them are talking, I have a sneaking suspicion quite a few of them are stretching the truth.
While I must give this one some serious thought and pre-planning, I’m still a pantser, meaning I don’t outline my whole story ahead of time. That’s what really keeps it fun for me because I don’t always know what’s going to happen next. And that’s why I enjoy writing so much!