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I am writing a series of cozy mystery novels, and this blog is where I intend to document my success at getting them published.

Cozy mysteries are generally defined as those that do not have any explicit sex or graphic murder scenes. Such things may happen in the context of a cozy mystery, but they generally happen off stage or prior to the account in the novel. Cozies are sometimes defined by the presence of cats and coffee and usually have a female protagonist who is not a professional crime fighter. She is generally a clever person who finds herself facing a mystery and somehow solving it. Often it is with the help of a police detective boyfriend.

Yet while nearly all cozy mysteries involve a murder at some point, and thus require a police detective character somewhere on the fringes of the story, I don’t believe that murder and mayhem are required to sustain a reader’s interest. And while I realize that many people like to read a familiar formula, I think it is insulting to readers to assume that a murder is the only thing that will entice them read.

The mysteries I am writing, as a consequence, are a bit of a genre buster. I don’t intend to have mysteries involving murders. Nor will coffee play an important role. Cats are pretty much out of the picture too. Instead my protagonist drinks iced tea — lots of it — and has a beloved Border Collie by the name of Jack. I think that the Aunt Dimity stories, the Hetty Wainthrop character, and the #1 Ladies Detective Agency show that there is a strong and growing market for murderless mysteries. Agatha Christie’s Parker Pyne character more often dealt with people’s problems than actual crimes.

I actually have two protagonists, a husband and wife team named Greg and Ann Finnegan. She is a free-lance travel journalist and he is a retired college English professor. They stay at bed and breakfast inns a great deal because of her work, and it is here and in the inns’ picturesque small towns that the stories take place.

Importantly, these stories don’t deal with crimes, at least not in the legal sense. I think that there can be plenty of wrong things done by people that are not illegal. Indeed, I think most of the wrongdoing in the world is not illegal. It may be unjust, or unfair, or unkind, or born of ignorance, or born of venality, or a host of other reasons that aren’t actually criminal. But it is no less wrong. These are the problems that the Finnegans solve, and because they deal with regular people, the problems are usually kept secret and thus become mysteries.

Conan Doyle said that most of the Sherlock Holmes stories did not involve murder and that many did not even involve crime. That is what I am trying to do with my Finnegan stories. I believe that day-to-day life is full of puzzles and mysteries and that a satisfying resolution of them can provide a good read.

I hope you agree.

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