Why Humor is Important in Mysteries…

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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.

iBookstore: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/dose-vidanya/id1102484761?mt=11

Amazon.com: http://samcheever.com/blog/dosevidanyaamus

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Dose-Vidanya-Silver-Hills-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01CYDCIK0

Amazon.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dose-Vidanya-Silver-Hills-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01CYDCIK0

Amazon.com.au: http://www.amazon.com.au/Dose-Vidanya-Silver-Hills-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01CYDCIK0

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dose-vidanya-sam-cheever/1123515169?ean=2940157659424

Kobo Books: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/dose-vidanya

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sam_Cheever_Dose_Vidanya_Humorous_Cozy_Mystery_wit?id=IaJGDAAAQBAJ

Paperback: http://samcheever.com/blog/DVprint


About Sam Cheever

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
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42 Responses to Why Humor is Important in Mysteries…

  1. Sharon Forrest says:

    Most of the books I read are cozy mysteries with a dose of humor. I enjoy the light hearted quirky characters and settings. Thanks for introducing me to your books. I haven’t read them yet, but they’re now on my list.

  2. Cheryl Arcemont says:

    I am very happy to say I have a lot of humor in my life as I am married to a very funny Cajun! Laughter is what makes the world go around MUCH smoother. Thank you for adding a little humor to your delightful cozy mysteries.

  3. Sharon Jesse says:

    I have already read books 1-4 and I swear I have never laughed so hard in my life. These books are so much fun to read. I would love to have book 5 but I haven’t been able to get it yet. I can’t wait to find out what ole Vlad is up to. He certainly has the creep factor going. lol Thank you for such wonderful stories.

  4. Barbara says:

    Oh, I definitely look for humor in my mysteries. I think that’s a big part of what makes a cozy a cozy. One of the 1st cozies I ever read was by the late Joan Hess, Malice in Maggody. I don’t know if the term cozy was even in use back then. I laughed my ass off. I have since read both the Maggody & Claire Malloy series several times each & they have never stopped being funny & enjoyable.

    • Sam Cheever says:

      I read several of the Maggody books and recently rediscovered them, Barbara. They’re a lot of fun. I don’t think I’ve read Claire Malloy. I’ll have to check those out. xx

  5. Barbara Harrison says:

    Considering the world situation, one could use all the humor that comes one’s way!

  6. Marisa Fort says:

    I love humor in mysteries. I enjoy the light-heartedness – I feel like if a mystery takes itself too seriously, it can make it cheesy. What’s to like about a character who never sees humor in anything? It makes them feel more two-dimensional if they lack a sense of humor; definitely makes the story less fun!

  7. sally says:

    I love humor in all types of books. Sometimes I just need “silly” and am happy to get it. I don’t expect COZY mysteries to be too serious although some are.

  8. MaryJane says:

    I love a good book with humor throughout, it makes the book more enjoyable and keeps my heart filled with love.

  9. Michelle Fidler says:

    Yes, I like humor in cozies. Animals are a plus too.

  10. Helen Kozmiuk says:

    Love a little laugh with my murders

  11. Vicki H says:

    I read a book by an author that I’ve read her books before. She writes thrillers. At one point I cracked up VERY loudly. I was reviewing the book and did the review and said how it was funny in parts too. Afterwards I decided I’d best email her to make sure it was supposed to be funny. Thank goodness it was. It was great though. It breaks the tension sometimes so unexpectedly that it is even funnier. I loved it.
    Nothing like a good dose of laughter in your life!!!

  12. I love humor in mysteries. I love to laugh, and I realize that all detectives, investigators, etc., use humor to defuse stressful situations. Additionally, I’m often a klutz, so I use laughter at myself in order to keep from being constantly embarrassed. What’s the point of wasting time on humiliation? Life’s too short. Laughter is far more fun – as long as it’s only at my own expense.

  13. Deb Nelson says:

    Your books are so funny…in this day in age we need humor

  14. Anonymous says:

    I love all of your books!

  15. Linda Lee says:

    When reading a mystery it is (for me) important that the characters are human. I love a plot that pulls me in where the characters are arguing or doing whatever and that moment comes when you laugh out loud. It us like your soul has been brushed by sunshine and after a hard day this for me is a form of escape that has become important.

  16. Kathleen Kendler says:

    Laughter is the best medicine. I enjoy it in a mystery.

  17. John Presler says:

    I cannot even imagine a life without humor – I love the humor in my reading and my wife and I both love to make jokes out of some of the advertising (taking the literal meaning of something, rather than the implied meaning). As an example, when an ad says “up to 50% off”, but does not list a price, that must mean that it is not all there. Right? LOL

  18. Linda Herold says:

    One of the things I like most about cozy mystery writers is the humor they put in their books! They give us quirky characters, a lovable pet, fun situations, and laughs!!!

  19. Catherine Maguire says:

    I do like humor in mysteries. Humor can enhance a story and make it more enjoyable to read. It can lighten up a scene that has gotten too serious.

  20. Sue says:

    I agree with everyone, humor adds to the story and definitely make it more enjoyable to read.

  21. Melanie Stanley says:

    If a good story is realistic it will include humor. I use sarcasm daily. One of my favorite lines is from Anchorman where Ron Burgundy said “well that escalated quickly!” As you said we all need that pressure release valve to relieve the tension if only momentarily.

  22. mary kazen says:

    I need to have humor!

  23. sally says:

    I personally love humar or a bit of pop culture thrown in. To me it makes it more fun to read. I don’t actually think a cozy is cozy enough without humar. I actually notate the “silly” or “stupid” parts and go back and laugh again.

  24. Latifa Morrisette says:

    I love humor in Mystery books. It makes it more enjoyable

  25. Jennie Ersari says:

    I agree with everything you said. We need humor in life to survive. It really does ease the tension. I enjoy a mystery with humor thrown in. It makes the book more enjoyable and more realistic.

  26. Sydney says:

    I love humor in mysteries, makes them fun to read.

  27. Jean Tarduno says:

    Reading a mystery book with a little laughter makes it seem more realistic and brings warmth to your heart. Three things make a mystery. Good-laughter,
    Bad-mystery and Ugly-Depression. Imagine life without laughter.

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