Guest post by Lynn McPherson
The Girls Dressed for Murder is a light-hearted, character-driven whodunit set along the New England coastline in the 1950’s. It is the third book in the Izzy Walsh Mystery Series and belongs to a sub-genre of crime fiction called Cozy Mystery. You may want to know the characteristics that define a cozy before choosing one for your book club. Let’s take a look.
First of all, the violence is done primarily off-stage. There are no gory details in any part of the novel—even the murder itself. In addition, cozy mysteries usually take place in a small town with an amateur sleuth as the protagonist. They are always whodunits and often incorporate a cast of recurring characters in an ongoing series. In The Girls Dressed For Murder, the central characters are all women who befriended one another during the Second World War while working in a munitions factory. Izzy Walsh relies heavily on the support and insight of her friends to help unravel the twisted truth in every case she stumbles upon.
Cozy mysteries are a lot of fun. You will shed no tears or experience any restless nights due to disturbing images. At the end of each book, justice has been served and order has been restored. While the books may be a part of a series, each one is a complete novel with no loose ends.
What makes a cozy mystery a great choice for a book club?
Like any novel, loads of research must be done to get it right. The Girls Dressed for Murder is set in 1958. The clothing, dialogue, cars, and setting were all carefully chosen. Pop culture is rarely the focus of history books, so a discussion of research is always fun. For example, some of the best insights I found were online in old magazines. Thanks to Google, every issue of LIFE magazine is archived. Both the articles and the advertisements were key to help me create the perfect fictional world for my books.
Let’s not forget the mystery. The best part of a cozy is trying to figure out who is the murderer. A cozy will keep you on your toes. Red herrings and real clues are sprinkled throughout the story—the reader must step into the detective’s shoes to figure out who to trust and where to look.
So what will you discuss at your next book club if you choose a cozy? Will it be the murder? The characters? The research? Any or all will guarantee an evening full of laughter and fun.
Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo, where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. Lynn serves on the Crime Writers of Canada Board of Directors, currently representing Toronto and Southwestern Ontario, and is the author of the Izzy Walsh Mystery Series. Her latest book, The Girls Dressed For Murder, came out in August 2019.