RHYS: Today I'm delighted to welcome my good friend, bestselling author and former Lipstick Chronicle blogger par excellence ELAINE VIETS. Elaine has two fun cozy series going and this month celebrates the publication of her latest Josie Marcus, personal shopper book called MURDER IS A PIECE OF CAKE.
And she reveals some surprising things about cozy fans. Take it away, Elaine:
“I hear Josie Marcus gets married in your new mystery,” a reader said. With her stylish silver hair, mild blue eyes and fluffy pink sweater, she looked like Miss Marple’s younger sister.
“Sure does,” I said. “Josie marries Dr. Ted Scottsmeyer in ‘Murder Is a Piece of Cake.’”
“And he dies, right?” Now the light in those blue eyes wasn’t quite so mild.
“No,” I said. “In fact, he looks quite handsome in his tux.”
“But he turns out to be a total rat and she divorces him.”
“Er, no,” I said. “They’ve been dating for three books now. Josie knows him well. He’s still the same Ted.”
“No,” I said. “Josie is the protagonist. If she dies, so does the series.”
“Then Ted cheats on her and she kills him.” A gentleman joined in the conversation, also demanding blood.
“Certainly not, sir!”
I edged away from these two bloodthirsty fans. A third woman stopped me, “I know,” she said. “They get married, but Ted dies in the next book.”
I heard the hope in her voice and crushed it. “No,” I said. “Ted and Josie have a happy marriage. In the next book, they’ll move into their new home with Josie’s daughter, Amelia.”
Jeez. I thought cozy readers were supposed to dislike violence.
But ever since “Murder Is a Piece of Cake,” my eighth Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mystery, was published readers have been hot for Ted’s head.
Cozies are supposed to be mysteries in the tradition of Agatha Christie with no gruesome scenes, foul language or bloody bodies. So why are my not-so-gentle readers demanding Ted’s death?
Can’t Josie have a happy marriage to her veterinarian, Dr. Ted?
I understand that a contented married couple can be a challenge for mystery authors. Even Sue Grafton said she won’t marry her Kinsey Milhone because she doesn’t want to write Nick and Nora Charles dialogue.
And I gave into temptation in my Dead-End Job series. Helen Hawthorne was supposed to marry Phil Sagemont in “Killer Cuts.” But when the minister asked, Does anyone know why this couple should not be joined together in matrimony? I had a surprise guest say I do.
Many mystery writers see that “till death do us part” vow as an opportunity. Thriller writer Ian Fleming turned James Bond into a widower on his wedding day, when his new bride, Tracy, was killed by the spy’s archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
James Patterson gleefully murders the bride and groom in “1st to Die,” but there was nothing cozy about that book.
But cozy culinary cook Diane Mott Davidson went on a killing spree on Goldy’s wedding day. The priest is killed and Goldy’s fiancé is kidnapped in “The Last Suppers.”
I could have had Ted kidnapped on the way to the wedding. His family has money. Lenore, Ted’s mother, married a big-bucks Boca plastic surgeon. Josie could have killed her meddling future mother-in-law after Lenore flew in on her private plane to “help with” – read “control” – Josie’s wedding. Josie wished someone would lock up Lenore, and she got her wish.
Lenore is arrested for shooting a crazed woman who’s been stalking her son. Josie has to find the real killer so she and Ted can marry. It’s not easy, but she does.
The wedding takes place at the Jewel Box, an art deco conservatory in St. Louis, beloved of brides for generations. The newly married couple drive away in Ted’s vintage orange Mustang without a hail of bullets. They survive a romantic honeymoon in the islands – another fatal time for wedded bliss in mysteries.
When Ted and Josie were happily hitched, I kissed good-bye four books worth of deadly plots: Ted could have been killed before, after or during the wedding in one book. Josie would have spent the next book solving Ted’s murder. In the third book, Josie would fall in love with the police detective investigating the case. Finally, she’d marry the detective.
See what I gave up for you? Now, readers, tell me, please: Why do you crave a wedding murder? Is killing husbands your secret fantasy?
I’m dying to know.
Elaine Viets is the author of two bestselling mystery series, the Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries and the Dead-End Job mysteries. “Murder Is a Piece of Cake,” her eighth Josie Marcus mystery, is available as an e-book and a paperback from Obsidian. Elaine has one the Agatha, Anthony and Lefty Awards. Visit her website www.elaineviets.com
And Elaine will be around today to answer questions on JRW.
And a message from Jan.
And a message from Jan.
have won copies of Michael Sherer's thriller, Night BLIND! Please email Jan at Janbrog@comcast.net so she can send you your copies.