Monday, March 2, 2009
Suspension of Disbelief
I’m as eager as the next guy to suspend disbelief. In fact, I do so on a daily basis. My daughter is in college and I prefer to believe that she is in her room at 7:30 pm, diligently working on her term papers, then accept the alternative that she is blithely walking the streets of her inner city campus. Seems a reasonable leap of faith.
How about the time that my mother took me to see the opera, Samson and Delilah. I was so caught up in the soaring arias that I ignored the fact that Delilah, the Biblical siren, outweighed the puny baritone playing Samson by a good 125 pounds.
My willingness to put on hold my rational brain may explain why I’m the perfect person to write cozy mysteries. By definition, these traditional whodunnits demand that, at some level, you park your common sense at the door. Cozies celebrate Ms. Average Citizen, the only person in town, regardless of her profession, who can figure out the who, what, when, where, and how of a murder mystery that has confounded the police. One of the reasons we love these stories is we want to believe that in a pinch, each of us would step up to the plate and do what needs to be done, even if it means putting Sherlock Holmes to shame.
Murder Takes the Cake, the second in the Sullivan Investigations series, will be published in May and is now available for pre-order. When creating it, both halves of Evelyn David wanted to craft a mystery full of red herrings and clever clues, with enough humor to make you laugh out loud, while avoiding the Jessica Fletcher syndrome. Remember? Jessica, a mystery writer, lives in a small town in Maine where there is a murder a week. Amazing that housing values didn’t plummet when potential buyers looked at the crime rate.
My job as an author is to write a story with enough believable elements and characters that ring true that the reader is willing to suspend disbelief and go along for the ride. When the aria – or the mystery – is thrilling enough, that’s not hard to do.