The “Wannabe” Sleuth
I’m delighted that Mitzi Kelly, a writer I know because of our Avalon connection, agreed to stop by and share some thoughts about writing. I was first attracted to Mitzi’s Silver Sleuths Mysteries because, like my Jennie Connors mysteries, they feature sleuths who are bit older than the typical amateur detective.
First, a bit about my guest: Mitzi Kelly was raised in El Paso with her three brothers, and credits her parents, Lewis and Lucretia Rothman, for providing an idyllic childhood. There hasn’t been a sport invented that the family was not involved in, and Mitzi vividly remembers weekends where the family rushed from a gymnastics meet to a football game and then to the golf course, and still somehow fit in chores and meals! Her parents are her true heroes and there aren’t enough words to express her gratitude. She loves everything about the huge state where she grew up, from the stark beauty of the desert plains, to the majestic glory of the mountains, to the intense power of the ocean, she’s never had a desire to live anywhere else. Traveling is nice, but there’s no place like Texas!
And now, let’s hear from Mitzi.
In the “whodunit” sphere, the cozy mystery continues to be one of the most popular genres in fiction writing. Personally, although I love all mystery/suspense novels, I have a particular affection for the amateur sleuth(s) who stumbles into danger during the quest for truth and justice. But there is a fine line to walk in writing a cozy mystery where you have to contrast the truly amateur sleuth and the skilled detective. The amateur doesn’t, and never will, get paid for what they do. And they always think they are much smarter than everyone else thinks they are.
When developing the characters for my cozy mystery series, The Silver Sleuths Mystery Series, I knew they had to be believable protagonists involved in believable situations. And, yet, the entire premise for a cozy mystery demands that the reader engage in a suspension of disbelief. I mean, how many ordinary, everyday people do you know who routinely trip over dead people? Having said that, though, writers of the cozy mystery genre share a unique relationship with their readers who want to suspend their belief, even for just a little while. It’s great fun to cheer on an average person who can bring down a bad guy!
I think it’s safe to say that the oldest of my characters, Millie Morrow, age 82, is anything but average. But what she does have are real feelings, and a real compassion for what effect crime has on the victims—attributes that are a real plus for someone who has a deep passion for righting wrongs. That she jumps into the crime-solving mode at the explicit displeasure of the chief of police is of no matter, because with the help of her two best friends, Trish Anderson and Edna Radcliff, Millie feels their activities actually encourage the police to do a better job. Did I mention that Millie is a little eccentric?
My trio of amateur sleuths are unusual in the genre of cozy mysteries in that their age is . . . um, way up there, and in their relationship, and the methods they use in investigating. But they do share many important traits of the cozy mystery sleuth. They don’t use weapons (I’m not counting Millie’s shotgun because more often than not, she forgets to load it), they don’t use foul language, they’re not involved in explicit sex (eeeewww . . . I don’t even want to think about it!), and they are not entangled in crime scenes full of horrifying violence and gore.
So, while some complain that the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries are not real, I beg to differ. They may not be “real” crime fighters with the latest in technology and training, but they are very real people trying to make a difference in their communities. I will, however, accept the argument that they are nosier than most people with perhaps too much free time on their hands, but if I ever find myself in need of a friendly investigator, I think I’d rather have a nosy neighbor interfering in my life than a SWAT team peeking in my windows!
To read an excerpt from Deadly Policy – http://www.sandracareycody.com/guestexcerpt.html
Thanks, Mitzi, for sharing your thoughts on writing the Silver Sleuths Mysteries with us. If I’m in trouble, I believe I’d prefer a nosy neighbor to a SWAT team too.