Well that’s what I assume mine are, although I’m not entirely sure what the proper definition of a”cosy” murder mystery really is. To my mind, the mere fact that a murder has taken place at all renders matters far from cosy, but, apparently, this has little bearing on the meaning of the term.
So far as I can tell, the main ingredients of a “cosy” murder story seem to be that the action takes place in a fairly small community where the inhabitants sit around drinking tea; and that there is hardly any blood on the scene, and certainly no horrific details to scare the punters. So, to this extent, I think I can tick all the boxes: my stories generally unfold in a domestic setting with plenty of tea, coffee, and the occasional glass of wine for sustenance, and I certainly don’t go in for gory descriptions, not least because I am one of the most squeamish people I know.
This being the case, what draws me to murder mysteries?
I think the answer has to be because I’m interested in working out the complexities of the plot and the motivation of the characters involved – both the murderer and the person who solves the mystery. Moreover, as time has gone on, I’ve become more and more attached to my heroine, Julie, and I find myself asking all the time how Julie would react in any number of situations.
But each new mystery has to take place in a different set of circumstances, and, in common with all my fellow writers, I’m constantly on the lookout for new ideas. However, I would have to say that today’s outing to the Old Operating Theatre near London Bridge did not inspire me. Gruesome instruments, which in other hands would make ideal murder weapons, do not commend themselves to me, and I made my excuses early, taking refuge in the light, airy church underneath, where I felt I could breathe again.
No, not my cup of tea at all, but for those who are interested in such matters, I’m told that the Old Operating Theatre is an excellent visit, and this weekend it was free as part of London’s Open House scheme.
But to get back to the theme of murder: next time, I’m contemplating the possibility of writing a mystery with a complete lack of blood, and, for that matter, an almost total absence of corpses – surely the cosiest of all murder mysteries!
I hope to publish Looking for Murder in early 2015.