We are so excited to welcome back Mary Angela, author of the Happy Camper cozy series and the Professor Prather mysteries. Mary has kindly brought a giveaway: commenters today will be entered to win an ebook of Midnight Spells Murder!
Halloween is a holiday that allows you to be someone else, if even for one night, and maybe that’s why it’s popular with kids and adults alike. Witches, goblins, superheroes—they’re all within the grasp of the costume rack at the local drugstore.
Luckily for readers, we can be anyone we want to be when we open our favorite cozy mystery.
I live a quiet life—except for the kids, the dog, and the cat. But relatively speaking, my days are unexciting. I take the kids to school, I write, I care for an elderly parent. Then I pick up the kids, take them to their activities, and, if I’m lucky (or if my husband isn’t so lucky) make dinner.
After the kids are in bed, though, I become a different person. A store owner, a librarian, a quilter, a baker. Yes, I’ve been all these people when I dive into a cozy mystery. But unlike my life, the amateur sleuth’s life is filled with murder and mayhem.
It’s easy to put myself in the sleuth’s shoes, especially when she leads a normal life, except for the unreasonable number of bodies she stumbles over. She might have kids, a job, a store, or pets. Yet she also has the skills to solve a murder.
For me, that’s the appeal of the cozy mystery novel. Sleuths don’t have to work for law enforcement or the FBI to solve a mystery. Without supernatural powers or super-sized muscles, they solve what seem like impossible crimes all while running homes, businesses, or organizations.
Critics of the cozy mystery novel might say the opposite, that it’s unrealistic for an untrained citizen to solve a mystery. (And I’m sure all cozy writers have had reviews from non-cozy readers who wonder why in the heck the main character keeps interfering with a police investigation!) As a cozy reader and writer, I would disagree. I think we find ourselves in the middle of mysteries every day, relying on our intuition and problem-solving skills to solve them.
The sleuth in my Happy Camper series, Zo Jones, finds herself involved in two mysteries: the one she solves in each book and the ongoing mystery of her birth parents. She’s searching for her biological mother and father. She doesn’t have much to go on except her unique name and a necklace that was left with her as a baby. In Midnight Spells Murder, Zo will not only find the culprit behind the murder of an author who does a signing at her Happy Camper gift shop. She will also find a key piece of information about one of her parents.
Some magic happens with the help of a witch’s spell. But another type of magic happens when you open a book. You can be transported to another place, time, or—in the case of the cozy mystery—crime. The wonderful thing about reading is, unlike Halloween, it doesn’t last just one night. It can last as long as you keep turning the pages.
Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, and several short stories.
When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.