June 17, 2013

The Curious Reader - Have you got what it takes to be a cozy mystery heroine?

In case you don't know it by know (as you well should) I have a tremendously soft (and deadly) spot for cozy mysteries. Next on my list? Becoming a cozy mystery heroine myself ...

Have you got what it takes to be a cozy mystery heroine?

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All right, I am well aware that not everyone will want to spend their days stumbling over dead bodies and then snooping around to find out who's responsible for this nuisance that pretty much ruined your day (and the one of the corpse too, come to think of it). Still, let's just assume that you kinda like the genre and would be inclined to go Miss Marple if need be. Not sure if the following traits will help solving murders in real life, but as to fictional murders there seem to be some eerily prevalent characteristics for every cozy mystery heroine.

1. You are single. Now that doesn't mean you are some old spinster (though that might happen too occasionally), but our cozy mystery gals usually start out single, because their marriage failed or their husbands died (not at the hands of the heroine, mind you). The good news is that over time and at least by book five in the series, she will have shacked up with her new love interest and put an end to the single life after all.

2. Your love interest is that buff handsome detective. Apparently there is something about those law enforcement officers who are not just easy on the eye, but even more so, extremely helpful in times of crime-solving distress. Then again, maybe it's just that cozy mystery heroines have a not so secret uniform fetish.

3. You are short. Admit it, that one surprised you. It's true, as much as out fictional snoops can come in all shapes and sizes, a surprising high number seems to be of the short kind. Maybe I'm the only one who even noticed this, but every time I read that the heroine barely measures 5' I wonder if this is because the author thinks it's somehow easier to nose around when you're tiny.

4. You're no spring chicken. I'm not saying you need to be some old granny to apply for the job as cozy mystery heroine, but usually the age group is in the 30+ range. My guess is that the whole been there 'nd done that which comes with real life experience, gives our girls just the right amount of verve for putting two and two together.

5. You have a pet. This one is pretty much mandatory. And you won't just have any pet, but one with a wacky name and an even wackier attitude.

6. You have an attitude. Just like your pet. But seriously, most cozy mystery ladies are, shall I say, a little rough around the edges? Or let me rephrase that by claiming they have this propensity to not just be unduly curious and obsessed about finding a murderer, they usually have trouble actually listening to common sense and are often prone to lying too.

7. You have your own shop/business. Contrary to what sleuths like Miss Marple might suggest, only few cozy mystery women are retired. In fact, they usually work hard for their money and most of them have their own little shops or cooked up some one-woman business venture. I guess, the average typist or cashier isn't cut out to solve crimes.

8. You are addicted to tea/coffee/chocolate/etc. Of course you might argue who isn't hooked on any (or all) of these things in real life. Good point, yet the average person usually does not enjoy a, say, glass of red whine as reverently as our fictional heroine. In a cozy mystery world tea/coffee/chocolate/etc. is treated with a borderline-religious worship and adoration.

Would you make a great cozy mystery heroine? Any character traits or personal circumstances you'd like to add to my list?

7 comments:

  1. Great analysis! The only one I am not sure about is the shop/business. It definitely helps the storyline if the heroine can just duck out whenever she wants, which 9-5 jobs frown on, but it seems to me there are a lot of librarian sleuths out there as well. I don't think I would make it as a cozy heroine -- too tall, married, no pets, no beverage obsessions, not that keen on uniforms. I think a Nora Charles type role would suit me better.

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    1. Now that you mention it, there are indeed quite a few librarian sleuths snooping around, but are they even working full time? I don't even remember ... too many books, too old a brain, ha!

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  2. I am the perfect spy, with my height (actually, years ago I was offered the chance to join the special services, so yeah, that seems to work) and my attitude :) Funny post, Birgit :)

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    1. I kinda figured from your photos that you're a bit on the short side, but hey, if it comes in handy when you're secretly snooping around, why complain? ;-)

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  3. Not only attitude! You put that mildly. I would call them prejudiced and rather narrow-minded. The number of times I wanted to smack those heroines I can't count.

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    1. Ah, I suspected that would catch your attention! To be fair though, not all are on the same level of deserves-to-get-smacked, in fact, some cozy mystery gals are actually on the mellow side which is always nice for a change.

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  4. Hmm, I've seen a few with a tall heroine :) And yeah, almost all of them have some sort of business/shops. Lovely post, Birgit!

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