What Cozies Are About for Me by Angela M. Sanders
Until recently, I valued cozies as what they aren’t. They aren’t too disturbing or cruel. Even the murders are easy to stomach, especially surrounded by such warm and engaging characters. Cozies allow me to get away from the pain of the real world, which—in my view, anyway—worsens at a scary pace.
Recently, I had one of those “duh” moments, something so obvious that I called at least three friends to talk about it: I read not just to put the real world behind me, but to indulge in my id. Light mysteries are literary cupcakes. They’re packed with pleasure that resonates on a gut level. And, like cupcakes, I can’t get enough.
So, what do I mean by “id”? I mean more than simply the pleasure of a well told story, although that’s great, too. No, I mean all those goofy, wonderful details that fill light mysteries. I mean English manors, secret compartments, girls’ boarding schools, and attics full of Victorian dresses. I mean friendly dogs, mouthwatering scones, covens of protective witches, wise grandmothers, sassy grandmothers, and handsome sheriffs. Mean girls who get their comeuppance. Mousy women who undergo makeovers and become sirens. Bizarre hidden talents.
Then I looked at my own novels and realized I’d instinctively packed them with id. In the five Joanna Hayworth vintage clothing mysteries I have not only loads of beautiful old dresses, I’ve included a hidden stairwell, nuns, carnies, identical twins, possible ghosts, drag queens, old film stars, and many, many icy martinis.
In the Booster Club capers, action centers on a retirement home for petty criminals. (Why this stokes my id, I don’t know, but I love it.) The cast includes an ex-priest getaway driver, a nightclub singer turned blackmailer, a few safe crackers, an art forger, rescued Chihuahuas, and a cook who churns out a five-star beef burgundy in the cafeteria.
In my alter ego Clover Tate’s kite shop mysteries, I couldn’t resist a seaside setting and few big wind storms. I love reading and writing about thunder and lightning. Rock Point’s coffee shop spins jazz albums on the turntable, and the owner makes a fine tuna melt, because—you guessed it—buttery, toasty tuna melts appeal to me at my core. Finally, I adore a good fire, and I’ve burned down a few buildings in my novels at key dramatic moments because of it, including one in a kite shop mystery.
So, I’ve started a list of things that delight me on a gut level, with the hope that they’ll delight readers, too. Paris is on it, and so is a stolen bottle of rare perfume, a stubborn Siamese cat, and a nightclub in Paris’s catacombs. But that’s a story for another time.
What is on your id list? What things, situations, or characters do you always love reading about? Come on, I know at least one of you has a thing for characters with one blue and one brown eye….
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Angela M. Sanders writes the Joanna Hayworth vintage clothing mysteries and the Booster Club capers. As Clover Tate, she’s the author of a series of Kite Shop mysteries set in the coastal town of Rock Point, Oregon. When Angela isn’t at her laptop, she’s rummaging in thrift shops, lounging with a 1930s detective novel, or pontificating about how to make the perfect martini. www.angelamsanders.com.