Sunday, February 5, 2012

Love and Murder

by guest blogger Nancy J. Cohen

Love can fuel passions as deep as jealousy, as sharp as envy, and as agonizing as unrequited affection. It can become an obsession as dark and dank as a cellar or a bright light as intense as one shining from heaven. With such potential to create havoc, is it any wonder that love is the basis for so many tales of murder?

Yet the two go hand in hand. Witness the genres of romantic suspense, intrigue, and mystery. Cozy mysteries often include a romantic relationship between the sleuth and the handsome detective or reporter or other town official. Why is this? The answer is clear. Our heroine sleuth, besides solving murders, has normal relationships with those around her. She has friends, relatives, and love interests and goes about her business when not investigating the crime.

My sleuth, Marla Shore, is a South Florida hairdresser. Over the course of the series, she’s fallen in love with Detective Dalton Vail. The ultimate mix of love and murder comes together when she’s a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s wedding, at the same time that she’s weeks away from her own nuptials. Wedding rituals and new beginnings form the theme for Shear Murder, the latest tale in my series. Just when everyone is deliriously happy at Jill’s reception, Marla finds the matron of honor dead under the cake table. Joy turns to horror.

Haven’t you seen this happening at your own family gatherings? Have you gotten together at Thanksgiving or the holidays when everyone is polite on the surface but resentments run deep? Love, such a positive emotion, can quickly turn sour. That’s why it’s such a wonderful motivator for a villain. Weddings can be the perfect backdrop for chicanery. Everyone is supposed to be happy, but are they? What are people really feeling when they gaze at the fortunate couple? How many of them harbor murder in their hearts fueled by jealousy, greed, or envy?

Hopefully, my sleuth’s nuptials will go off without a hitch, but in a mystery, you never know. Danger lurks around the corner. Appearances can be deceiving. And that’s what makes writing about family events so juicy and enticing for an author.

Do you like for a sleuth to have an ongoing romance throughout a series, or do you prefer love to lead to murder in the stories you read?

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Shear Murder Who knew weddings could be murder? Hairstylist Marla Shore is weeks away from becoming a bride herself when she walks down the aisle as a bridesmaid at her friend Jill’s ceremony. Things take a turn for the worse when the matron of honor ends up dead, the cake knife in her chest. Now what will they use to cut the cake?


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