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The Golden Age Of Mysteries

The cozy murder mysteries of the 1920s and 30s, the Golden Age of detective fiction, were written either by a British author, such as Agatha Christie, or had the British touch. Using “red herrings” to lead the reader in the wrong direction while skillfully protecting the identity of the murderer, the author convincingly reveals the villain in a surprise ending.

These mysteries were called “cozies” because any sex or violence occurred off stage. Moreover, the setting was often a secluded English mansion, where a closed circle of suspects assembled for the weekend. Each had a reason to dislike the victim, who is killed early in the story, perhaps in the library before even the first chapter.

In addition to a cast of likely characters, perhaps a handsome gentleman and his beautiful fiancée, an aspiring author, and a suspicious stranger, an amateur detective fulfills, for the time being, the function of the police, who are unavailable. An early favorite of mine, voted by the British Crime Writers Association as the best crime novel ever, was Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, first published in 1926.

So, when attempting to secure a publisher for The Deadliest Lie, I pitched my story as an “almost-cozy mystery” because it features a circle of suspects gathered for dinner at the young Miriam bat Isaac’s home, a few red herrings, and a surprise ending. To learn more, click here.


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