I have a confession to make.
When I started writing DYING TO BE THIN, the first installment in the Fat City Mystery series, I was not fully aware that the mystery sub-genre known as “cozies” had to follow certain restrictive guidelines. With some glaring exceptions, most cozies are written according to the following rules:
• They have “kinder, gentler” story lines.
• There is little graphic violence.
• Murders are mostly presented off-stage.
• Sex tends to be delivered in “fade to black” mode. (You know, like the couple in From Here to Eternity; you get to see them thrashing around in the surf. But then, just when the action gets interesting, the scene ends.)
And so…ahem. In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that even though DYING TO BE THIN often gets lumped in with cozy mysteries, readers will encounter a few “uncozy” passages:
• Murder victims are presented splat on the page, complete with a discussion of the deceased-one’s physical appearance (including, in the case of one victim, the impact of weaponized fondue forks).
• There are frequent and colorful references to a fictional S&M scene in the story’s locale, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.
• The plot line is neither kind, nor particularly gentle. But it is often humorous.
My thought is that the concept of a "cozy" mystery is expanding in terms of the amount of sex and violence that readers will accept. What do you think?