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Funny cozy mysteries aren't for everyone. I get that. It's unfortunate, in my humble opinion, that some people can't let go and let themselves have fun with a story, but I've seen enough reviews from disgusted readers who find this type of mystery “silly” and “stupid” to know that not everyone can do it. That's okay. May the force be with them. I prefer to embrace humor in my mysteries because, though it may seem gratuitous and silly to some, it's really a very important component of the mystery.
Why? I'll explain.
The interrelationship between tension and humor is well known. This is why some of our favorite action films/books use strategic dollops of humor throughout the story to give the watcher a short breather…a chance to de-tense for a moment before the next big action sequence. Without these breathers there would be action fatigue. Too much of anything, no matter how good, is still too much. #:0) Humor gives us that release and ups the endorphins so that the next dose of action hits us right in the gut, taking us on a powerful ride that will stay with us long after the viewing/reading experience.
Humor also serves as a diversion in a mystery. A good writer can create just enough chaos within a story to obscure something that might give the mystery away too soon. You might be thinking that the writer could just omit the telltale clue. But that wouldn't be honest. If the mystery author is being fair to the reader, she needs to provide all the information in the story to enable the reader to figure out “who dun it”. Rabid mystery readers expect and strive to solve that mystery before the big reveal. It's a source of pride for them to see past the chaos and glom onto the specific details that, if put together in just the right way, tell them who the villain is. A mystery writer who denies them this through trickery will pay a price with the true mystery lover.
And finally, humor is good for the soul. You've heard the old adage, the best humor is based in truth. That's absolutely true. When I created a series about older women who live in a senior and singles residence, I knew that many of my readers (and I) would relate to these women because they're us. Getting older can be scary. The idea of being put into a specific place for our own good is terrifying. But what if I could take the sting out of that idea by using what I've experienced (with parents) in real life and turning it into something not only palatable but fun? What if I could make these characters so relate-able…so likable…that the reader is not only happy to get to know them, but actually wants to embrace their situation too? Sound impossible? Maybe for some it is. But for the overwhelming majority of my readers, it's very possible because we want to believe we can still be viable and entertaining when we're in our seventies or eighties. We want to believe we can still solve mysteries and save lives, no matter how old we are. We want to believe we can not only like our new residence if we go to one, but love it! And thrive there with lots of friends. And we can believe it. Because it's all about your attitude. Life is as fun and happy as you make it. That's why humor in series like Silver Hills is so vitally important. And why so many readers love to read it!
What do you think about humor in mysteries? Do you have a problem embracing it? Or is it something you really enjoy? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Comment below for a chance to win a book or goodie box from me. There will be one new winner every month!
Come to Silver Hills. Where petting a cat can be a death sentence and yoga is all about survival.
Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence isn’t exactly a boring place. Home to a death predicting cat named Tolstoy, a night manager who may or may not suck blood and float above the floor, a cook with mad voodoo and pie baking powers, and a trio of nosy sleuths who are determined to get to the bottom of the corpse in the library (maybe literally)…some might say things couldn’t get any weirder.
Some would be wrong.