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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Leave a comment during Nancy’s blog tour and enter to win a free signed book.

27 comments:

Dru said...

I like my sleuths to have an on-going romance in the series I read.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

So do I, Dru. :) Marla's relationship with Detective Vail progresses through the series.

Books by Heather said...

I prefer to have a romance thread, too (obviously, since I write romantic mysteries!). For me, it's like having the bet of both worlds.

Thanks for being with us today, Nancy! The new book sounds wonderful.

cyn209 said...

so want to read this!!!
thank you for the giveaway!!

GoodLuck & Congrats to Nancy!!!!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Nancy,

I absolutely prefer reading a mystery series that has a romantic thread running through it. I also write my novels that way. I believe the characters should be like real people with real lives. Complexity makes for much more enjoyable fiction. I refer to my Kim Reynolds series as romantic mysteries.

Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH
THE DROWNING POOL
THE INFERNO COLLECTION

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thank you, Heather. I guess you could call mine romantic mysteries, too. So many subgenres!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Cyn, thanks for stopping by.
Jacqueline, I'm with you. Our sleuths should have normal lives with all the joys and trials that ensue. Although, since I write humorous mysteries, I have to be careful not to cross the line into too serious.

Kat said...

I've missed your series - welcome back.

Karen B said...

Ongoing - you become more vested in the characters that way.
kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

Katreader said...

I enjoy a touch of romance too!

Marta's Mess said...

I love the tension of the mystery to lead to the romance that otherwise might not have been. And/Or the romance to bring an extra twist or two to the plot.

Edel said...

I enjoy a sleuth having an ongoing romance as she is trying to work out a mystery and trying not to get killed. :0)

Maureen Hayes said...

I know it is the same answer as everyone else, but I prefer an ongoing relationship as well. It allows us to get more invested in the lead herself as well as whoever she gets involved with. Over time we learn more about each of them as well as their dynamic as a couple. I would think as a writer this would be more fun as well because you get to develop the characters and the relationship more than you would if she got involved with a different person each book.

Kaye said...

As long as the romance thread does not overtake the mystery plot, I'm ok with it.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Kat, I missed my series, too! Sorry that it took so long for another book to come out but I had to change publishers. As you can see, the whole process took years.

Nancy J. Cohen said...

It is gratifying to develop the relationship over time, and not have to get the couple together so fast as in a single title. But I get frustrated by heroines who are dating several guys and can't make up her mind after several books.

Whalehugger said...

I like my sleuths (and characters in general) to have relationships. It makes them believable and human. I also agree with Kaye, as long as the romance doesn't take away from the mystery aspect.

Morgan Mandel said...

I love romance in my mysteries. Makes them more interesting.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmanel.blogspot.com

kiki w said...

I like for the sleuth to have a relationship through out the series. Thanks

wfnren said...

I take 'shear' pleasure in entering this giveaway. I'm just starting to read cozy mystery's and cosmetology is in my family, my mother did hair, my ex-sister-in-law (who's still a very good friend, and my granddaughter is going into that business after graduation in May.

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Oh my, wfnfren, the Bad Hair Day mysteries are made for you! Consider giving some of the books as gifts to your family members in the cosmetology biz.

Aurian said...

Hi Nancy, thanks for the guestpost. I do like cozies with a slowgoing romance thread, but the emphasis has to be the murder mystery and investigation for me. A cozy is a break from romances for me, so not too much please.

auriansbooks at gmail dot com

Vickie said...

The new books sounds great! I do like my sleuths to have a romance!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Aurian, I understand what you're saying. The focus of a cozy is and always will be the whodunit. Relationships round out the sleuth's life and provide her personal angst. As for my mysteries, I leave the spicy scenes for my romantic adventure stories.

Anonymous said...

A little romance can be nice as long as it is subtle.

boots9k at wowway dot com

mollie bryan said...

I love a little romance in my mysteries, too, and I admire the writers that do it well. The balance can be tricky. Good luck with your book!

Nancy J. Cohen said...

Thanks, Mollie. And thank you to the Cozy Chicks for having me as a guest on their blog. I appreciate everyone stopping by!