Staci here, in my new every-other-Thursday slot, talking about the topic of sex and violence. You won’t find much of either one in my mysteries, I’m afraid. They’re cozies, after all, which requires a rather gentle hand. Sure, Dana (my main character) and her boyfriend might kiss here and there or make suggestive comments to each other, but any sex happens behind closed doors. To be honest, I’m not even sure if those two have slept together yet. I leave it up to the reader to decide what happens off page, as do so many other books and movies.
Years ago, I watched The Last of the Mohicans with a college friend. When we reached a particular
scene with Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, my friend said, “Yup, they just did it.” I had no idea what she was talking about. In my eyes, the movie hadn’t so much as hinted at a sexual liaison, but she insisted they’d done the deed because Madeleine Stowe’s hair had been in a bun earlier and now her hair was down. Apparently flowing hair was all the proof my friend needed.
That’s kind of how I’m handling the situation between Dana and Jason. Some readers might decide they’ve uncovered little clues that the two are intimate, while those of a more reserved nature can just as easily conclude that they haven’t yet reached that next step in their relationship.
The same goes for violence in my stories. At least one person is killed in each book, but the reader (and Dana) never sees the actual crime. She’s found a body or two, but usually these people look like they’re sleeping. No one finds body parts spread out over a five-mile radius. The formerly
pristine walls of a hospital room aren’t covered in arterial spray. I’ll leave those scenarios to the thriller writers.
Instead, I keep the murders rather tidy, because in a cozy mystery, the focus is not on the viciousness of the crime, but rather the process of putting the pieces together to figure out who the killer is. And if my characters want to “hook up” for a little alone time, we’ll just let them do
that behind closed doors.