Wicked Wednesday: Themes in Cozies

It’s Wicked Wednesday, when we all weigh in on a topic. This month, we’re talking about themes in cozies. The underlying, harder-to-talk-about themes, over and above the fun stuff like food, pets, farming, and the like. So Wickeds, what are your series really about?

Til Dirt do us Part CoverEdith: I hate questions like this, but I’ll go first and give it a stab (uh … figuratively). The Local Foods Mysteries are about a woman having the courage to change her life and herself. Cam Flaherty is a geek who uses her smarts to figure out farming, but when she realizes she has to connect not only with plants but with the people who eat them, she goes deep. Even though it doesn’t come easy to her, she gradually figures out how to care for her fellow humans, one customer at a time. Is that a theme?

Boiled Over front coverBarb: I love this topic. I remember a New England Crime Bake where Dennis Lehane said, “There are hours and hours  of police procedurals on TV. Every plot that can ever exist has been done. So if you’re going to spend a year writing a book, make sure it’s about something.” All of my Maine Clambake mysteries have examined themes of insider and outsiderness, of feeling a part of something and feeling excluded. I think the small town setting that is common in cozies really lends itself to that.

maplemayhemJessie: Mine are about family and the complexities of those relationships. I write about finding ways to grow into the sort of person you want to be while keeping and deepening life’s most important relationships.

Tagged for Death mech.inddSherry: I love the Lehane quote, Barb! One theme in the Garage Sale series is finding your way and who you are after a life-changing event, in the case of Sarah, a divorce. She has to figure out who she is after being a military wife for nineteen years. The series is partially set on a military base and it looks at what life on a base is like.

Liz: The Pawsitively Organic Mysteries tackle one of my favorite subjects: animal A Biscuit, A casket.inddwelfare. While good animal nutrition is the main theme, I also write about animal rescue in the books. It’s a topic that I feel very passionate about, and it’s fabulous to be able to translate that into mysteries.

Julie: The ClockShop series that will be coming out next year is about the importance of community. Like all cozies, there is a disruptive event that attracts that world, and the protagonist rights it. But she is also going to be building up the community over the entire series.

7 thoughts on “Wicked Wednesday: Themes in Cozies

  1. Theme! My favorite topic! To guarantee lots of page views, use “thematic statement” in the title of a post. Every Sunday night, hordes of desperate college and high school students will Google their way to your blog!

    Faulkner said it best in his Nobel speech–the only things worth writing about are “love, honor, pity, pride, compassion and sacrifice.”

  2. I must admit, I don’t often look for the theme in a mystery beyond the superficial. But all of those themes are so good and important in real life. I love it.

    • Thanks, Mark. I agree the theme shouldn’t stick out or hit the reader over the head. if it’s doing the job its providing a narrative coherence, but like floor joists–not overtly seen.

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