Actually it was only for a few hours last Friday evening when I participated in a Murder Mystery Dinner as a fund raiser for our library; the Haverhill Library. Strange things can happen when one is a trustee, and this was one of them.

I really didn’t want to be the countess for even a few hours. But they promised me a tiara, and that swayed me, only to find out it was cardboard and had Happy New Year 2015 written on it in faded silver ink. What a blow to my psyche.

Then I found out that my job description had me shimmying up fishing line and climbing into a cabin’s porthole to find this cardboard tiara. Really? I don’t think so. Especially after that particular cabin’s resident had recently been found dead.

That I shimmied up fishing line and squeezed my bod through a porthole was told to the audience as a done deal at the end of the evening. Fiction is wonderful. I never could have done those things in real life. In fact the general age of the participants forbade a whole lot of physical activity, with the possible exception of the young jewel thief. The main job of the actors, in case you’ve never participated in one of these things, was to go from table to table and regale the attendees with clues. I must have done a good job as no one suspected me at the end.

Now that those few hours that I agonized over before hand are done I can look back and say that in retrospect it was a fun evening. Most things were either fun or deeply regretted in retrospect. I’m reminded of Edith Piaf’s song, Je Ne Regrette Rien (I don’t regret anything). How is that possible? I don’t think she was a psychopath. They’re the only ones who never look back and are sorry for anything they’ve done. I guess her song was  literally licensed to make it seem she never did anything really wrong, or only maybe wrong but fun. Fiction again. Certainly I regret things, and it’s a great theme in a book. My characters regret lots of things they’ve done in their past lives, it makes it easier for readers to identify with them.

Do psychopaths read cozies? That’s a thought. What’s in it for them? If there’s no regret for what has been done then there’s seldom a turning point for the better for our characters, or our readers, and that’s rather important in a cozy, and not so important to a psychopath. Of course not all literature revolves around regret, but it’s a theme most writers can identify with being, as it is, a daily occurrence in most lives (I wish I hadn’t eaten that, I wish I hadn’t said that, I wish I hadn’t done that, etc.). And when you add a change because of regret it rounds out a character.

Do I regret being a countess for those few hours? Certainly not. I easily caught up on all the sleep I lost beforehand. And I thank Gloria B. profoundly for the loan of her real tiara to wear instead of the cardboard one.

About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on May 23, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. “Do psychopaths read cozies?” Now, there is a frightening question. If they do, why? Would they be able to figure out whodunit faster than a sane person? And if so, what does that say about people who choose to write cozies?


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