So You Want To Commit Novel: Why Mysteries?

Today the last Chapter of “Lacing Up For Murder” rotates to the front page of Book View Café.  And so I come to the end of my regular blog on Thursdays.  I’m not disappearing, just fading into the background for a while.

I’d like to leave you with a few last thoughts about my novel writing process.  Why did I, a fantasy writer, choose to write a cozy mystery?  Because I read cozies for fun.  Reading science fiction and fantasy can be fun, but it’s also part of my job.  I have to approach it with a different mind set.  Mysteries I can gobble whole.  After indulging in hundreds of them I thought I had to turn my hand to the genre.

Which leads me to another thought: mysteries almost always involve a murder, a heinous crime.  Even though we don’t see much violence on stage in a cozy, the threat is there.  By reading mysteries are we endorsing violent crime and the death of another human being?

I don’t think so.  Part of the formula of a cozy is that the villain always gets caught and pays for the crime.  Well almost always.  But in the few cases where the perpetrator gets away with it, the author paints the victim, and the person who takes the blame as truly awful people who need to be removed from society.  I’m sure there are police procedural mysteries, or hard-boiled detective mysteries where the murderer remains free.  But its cozies that attract me.  The ordinary citizen with an insatiable curiosity who solves the puzzle.

That seems to be the key: puzzle.  Whether it’s a jigsaw, crossword, or jumble of stereo wires, the human mind seems to want to make order out of chaos.  There is a thrill to finding the elusive piece that finishes a big section of the jigsaw, or remembering an obscure word, or getting the right arrangement of components and wires.

And that is why I wrote a mystery.  I needed to lay out all the pieces and put them together properly so a reader can follow the convoluted path of discovery along with me.  And I have to admit, I didn’t know who done it until half way through the first draft.

I hope you enjoyed the journey with me.

Phyllis Irene Radford is a founding member of Book View Café and blogs here regularly on Thursdays, the same day her cozy mystery “Lacing Up For Murder” by Irene Radford is serialized on the front page rotation.

For more about her and her fiction please visit her bookshelf here on BVC

Or her personal web page


About Phyllis Irene Radford

Irene Radford has been writing stories ever since she figured out what a pencil was for. A member of an endangered species—a native Oregonian who lives in Oregon—she and her husband make their home in Welches, Oregon where deer, bears, coyotes, hawks, owls, and woodpeckers feed regularly on their back deck. A museum trained historian, Irene has spent many hours prowling pioneer cemeteries deepening her connections to the past. Raised in a military family she grew up all over the US and learned early on that books are friends that don’t get left behind with a move. Her interests and reading range from ancient history, to spiritual meditations, to space stations, and a whole lot in between. Mostly Irene writes fantasy and historical fantasy including the best-selling Dragon Nimbus Series and the masterwork Merlin’s Descendants series. In other lifetimes she writes urban fantasy as P.R. Frost or Phyllis Ames, and space opera as C.F. Bentley. Later this year she ventures into Steampunk as someone else. If you wish information on the latest releases from Ms Radford, under any of her pen names, you can subscribe to her newsletter: Promises of no spam, merely occasional updates and news of personal appearances.

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