I debated whether or not I was going to read any mysteries right now, just because I didn’t want them to influence me. However, as I’ve been researching cozies I realized there’s a lot I don’t know and I decided to read several different ones.
The first book I ended up reading was The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. I wanted a mystery involving a crime-solving couple and this comes up in a lot of lists. It ended up not being what I was looking for, but I still learned a few things.
First, the thirties are not my era. Nora was basically a glorified side character and the only positive female character in the whole book. I was not fond of the depiction of women and didn’t like anything about that time period.
Second, I like the idea of the main police officer being smart, not bumbling, and using Nick and Nora to help solve the case. I’m leaning toward a character that is really focused on fighting crime and can sometimes have too narrow a focus. I like that character because they can still be likable, but their intense focus often puts them on the opposing side, depending on where the evidence is pointing.
Third, and final, I might want to find a way to make my dead people seem like they deserve it. I read something like this in a list of what cozies should have, but it’s nothing I had thought about before, and The Thin Man did a good job of making you feel like the murder victims got what was coming to them. Of course, I kind of wished a few more people had been killed too.
I wasn’t a huge fan of The Thin Man, but at least I was able to learn a few things that I want to do, and don’t want to do, with my own book.