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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Veronica's #WritersDiary: April's Mystery Topic; #CozyMystery Tropes & Themes!

“Use that fluff of yours you call a brain.”

Agatha Christie

Whodunnit fun today--this month's mystery topic is Tropes and Themes for all things cozy mystery! Get those spy glasses ready as we hunt for the delightfully, deadly elements that comprise this beloved genre...

First up, what is a cozy mystery you might ask? These are tales typically built around an amateur sleuth (usually female) main character who somehow gets in the way of law enforcement professionals, loveable/quirky family and/or friend sidekicks, not-so-nice victims, and a supportive, community-oriented setting (or castle, in my case💖👑). Mayhem, mur-dah most foul, and sex occur off page (sorry, lookie-loos!) ---and, said dastardly events are usually followed by healthy helpings of tea, sherry, or in my characters' case, a stiff brandy (or two).

Now let's talk about the details these tales are often built around:

Category/Key Word Examples:

  • British--English (Who doesn't want to be a guest at M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin's cottage in the Cotswolds? Personally, I'm taking up residence at Cherrywood Hall #JustSayin)

  • Animals (Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who mysteries are a treat, I adore Koko and YumYum 💕 They keep Qwill on his sleuthing toes!)

  • Culinary (Bakers, Caterers) Gemma always has the food near-by, thanks to Chef Karl...finding bodies builds one's appetite!

  • Vacation/Travel Mysteries (Hotels, B&Bs, Exotic locations) I'm looking forward to starting Helen Dixon's Miss Underhay Mystery series soon!

  • The Holidays (I love reading Amy Reade's Juniper Junction Holiday Mysteries!)

  • Hobbies (Gardening, Knitting, Book Club, Golf, Quilting) Miss Marple always keeps her knitting needles close-by!

  • Retail shops (Fashion, Bookstores) Did you know Lee Straus's Lady Ginger Gold runs a high-fashion boutique in-between those pesky mur-dahs most foul?

  • Professions (B&B/inn keeper, Architects, Almost Royals (a fav of moi 😍), Florist, Genealogy, Reporters) Cynthia Raleigh's Perri Seamore cozy series has a traveling nurse with a penchant for genealogy I'll be reading soon; KT McGivens's Katie Porter series features a young reporter who stumbles across crimes--a fab series!

  • Paranormal themes (ghosts in the house, seers, magic) Auntie Pippa keeps flipping those logs at Cherrywood Hall, keeping psychic-nanny, Figgy busy! #Boo

Now, let's get those goosebumps popping!

Tropes: Something recurring across a genre or type of art or literature... (definition courtesy of Word Hippo)

Examples often utilized:

  • Closed/locked room...up in the clouds...bumpy waves mystery (Murder on the Orient Express, Murder on the SS Rosa, Death on the Nile are favs of mine)

  • Suspect Under the Radar: I didn't have a clue, based upon reputation, demeanor, disability...Who, who, whodunnit! Agatha Christie's The Murder of Roger Ackroyd has a twist at the end you will not expect! 👀 #Sneaky

  • Everyone is a Suspect... Clue, keeps you in mystery stitches 😜

  • Punny Titles to Set the Scene: Author Amy Reade is a master; The Worst Noel; Fowl Play (coming this Thanksgiving), May Day, Be My Valencrime...As a reader, titles of this sort get my attention every time! 🎄🦃💌

  • Red Herrings/MacGuffins: Hook, line & stinkers...Must keep the readers using those little gray cells!

  • Poison Pen Letters/Cards...Readers of Blood on the Vines will be seeing these snarky, written assaults in play!

  • Right Under Your Nose: Miss Marple's Strange Jest tale hunts for a couple's hidden inheritance; Audrey and Cary track down a missing fortune, trailed by loads of bad guys in Charade...Pssst, don't throw away those cards and letters just yet...

  • Lights Off, Somebody Croaks: Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced is an intriguing tale using this trope!

  • Dark, Stormy Nights; traipsing around in cemeteries with flashlights, haunted attics: a Nancy Drew and Masterpiece Mystery signature!

  • Mysterious Strangers: Murder at the Vicarage has a few strangers lurking about the cobbled lanes of St. Mary Mead...

  • Whodunnit Reveal: Hercule Poirot is boss!

  • Ripped from the Headlines: These days there's NO shortage of material...😳😬🥴

  • Catastrophes: Hurricanes, blizzards, tidal waves...Author Bibiana Krall shared she loves mysteries set around these deadly, weather events during our #MurdersWeWrite chat held this past Sunday...what could possibly go wrong?

I hope you've enjoyed April's mystery topic! What are the tropes and themes you've seen used in your fav tales? Keep it cozy--it's Wednesday, time for #DearDiary:

Bibiana Krall and I Were on the Life, Love, and Money Show with Dr. Summer and Jen!

We were super stoked to be guest on Dr. Summer and Jen's Instagram live show last Thursday where we talked about our writing partnership and collaboration on The Haunted Series. Summer and Jen promote women and businesses on their weekly shows and are supportive of so many. If you have a few minutes, tune in and have a listen!

Blood on the Vines Hits the Professional Editing Zone!

I wanted to give a huge shout out to Theresa Snyder once again for talking on the editing helm for my latest tale. Theresa has been my editor for five of the books in my cozy series, and I have to say, I could not do it without her! We have a great, working relationship and I value her inputs and suggestions highly. Editing is nothing to skip around on--a must have for this Indie writer! You can check out Theresa's editing services here:

Reflections and the power of love this week from the writers of Twitter...

Author Sandy Bazinet, A Mother's Love, A LIGHT SO BRIGHT Book 1, 5

Author Bazinet delivers yet another, powerful, thought-provoking tale in A Mother's Love, Book 1 in A Light So Bright series. We follow the birth of two beings; one, known as Father, a much awaited and prayed for savior, who soon learns his appearance repels those very followers who hoped and wished for him. The second, known as Brother, is raised by the priests to destroy the being they refuse to acknowledge. Anger and fear are unleashed, with devastating, unforeseen consequences.

As their stories unfold, we see how both were influenced by the words and actions of the mothers who brought them into the world. Both come from vastly different environs, yet they connect, realizing the unwavering conviction and esteem these women held for them. In the worst of times, as they question their existence and actions, and have dark secrets and cruel manipulations revealed, comes a soothing reminder of a greater purpose that guides and lights.

This heartwarming story is filled with inspirational messages, spiritual reflections, emotional challenges, and thought-provoking situations as the characters evolve and ponder their direction. Sometimes we need to step back and remember the voices within that guide us in good times and bad, calming our soul, and renewing our light within. A highly recommended read!

Next up in the reading queue:

It's a Bunny V!

The Easter Bunny was very good to me this year. The Bunny V above (made by the fabulous Elegant Designs by Lulu) was waiting for me to find on our doorstep! I can't tell you how cute this is--I love the sparkle, crown, and those glasses look just like mine! This was an unexpected treat--I am smitten. 💕🐇

I wanted to give our neighborhood, golf clubhouse a shout out too--they've reinstated their holiday brunch buffets. We went this past Sunday for Easter brunch, and I had my go-to fav of prime rib & waffles #Yummo. This was the first holiday brunch held since 2019...I am so grateful! I indulged and loved every bite. 😋 Mother's Day is right around the corner...(hint, hint. OH!)

Welcome to my world. Enjoy your week and weekend friends!

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. Have a glorious week, friends. I wanted to share this awesome pic of the tulips that blossomed from the Easter flowers we received--so gorgeous! Gemma and Rikkhe approve 💖👑

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