I've been toying with writing a cozy mystery. I know, I know. I have a contemporary fantasy I need to get finished and really shouldn't be thinking about anything else. But, I haven't written anything new in a really long time, and I think I'm finally sorting through my writerly issues and am ready to soldier on (I'll need to do a blog post on that some day.) And the plotting of a new story is some of the best fun I have in writing.
So, anyway...back to why I should write a cozy mystery... I love Murder She Wrote and mystery dramas on television, read reams of cozy mysteries, and realized many of the thrillers I've enjoyed over the years owe much to the mystery genre as well. Even my own books are kind of mysteries hidden behind a fantasy veneer. And my love of mystery, specifically of the cozy variety, came early to me, as I loved the Encyclopedia Brown books, Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew as a child.
My home town (the current one) kind of lends itself as a setting. It's not very big (25,000 people) but still big enough to have complex relationships. We've got a college, a community college, a museum, library, courts, crime, (limited) retail, a nifty downtown area, bike paths, and will be at totality of the solar eclipse this summer. Seventy-five percent of the population is retired, and people still wave and smile at each other, go to the parks on a hot summer day, and attend high school sports events. And it's beautiful here! Lots of trees, green grass and flowers. There is a seedy underside, of course. My husband is a probation officer and I hear about some of the problems of the area from co-workers, too. It's not perfect, but it seems like a nice setting for a cozy mystery, a la the Cat Who books.
So, I thought I'd take you on a tour of our town today. My family and I went for a bike ride this morning, and I took some photos of a couple of the places we went by. I'll share just a few that give an idea of what I find appealing about this little town.
We started off by going to the park where bricks were made many years ago. The stacks are still standing and the size of the park is immense. It's more like an over-sized meadow than a park, with lush green grass and graceful trees sharing the space with an amphitheater and some pretty ancient playground equipment my kids adore.
|This picture was actually taken on a different day.
Then we headed downtown and decided to stop for a bite to eat.
I always forget how expensive Jimmy Johns is. So much time passes between our visits to the restaurant, because of how expensive it is, I forget and then am always shocked at the tab when we do go. Today was no different. It will now be another 9 mos to a year before we eat at Jimmy Johns again.
This is one panel of a connected row of buildings whose rear exteriors are painted in a colorful mural along the bike path. I liked this one because of the flying moose. Just joking. I'm actually quite perplexed at the flying moose. It's not like there are moose in Nebraska. In any case, all the panels are whimsical and bright. Very interesting to look at, and I imagine have meaning to the area.
Just a picture of my family going down the bike path. I'm so enchanted with the amount of trees in this town. Very different from where we lived in Wyoming.
The bike path follows a viaduct over the train tracks. I love how train tracks look when seen from above. They seem to hold a promise of travel and novelty. Even if you aren't going to be hopping a train soon!
This was new along the path. We can't tell if it's someone's personal tree house or if it was built along the path for the public to play in.
And then finally we ended up at a different park than the morning. Actually, by taking the bike path in a big (10-12 mile) circle, we managed to go through the three major parks in town. This one has new equipment, old equipment and a spray park. We enjoyed all three, proving once again that playgrounds aren't just for children, they're for the young at heart.
I hope everyone had as nice a Saturday morning as we did. I decided to limit my social media/internet usage today, so as to not taint the day with the craziness of the outside world. I wish all of the world could have some of the peace and contentment I had today.
Have a wonderful week and I'll see you next Saturday!