As mystery writers, we are trained to place our sleuths within a distinctive milieu that becomes a character in itself. Whether it’s a small town, a neighborhood in a big city, or a regional locale, this setting imbues our stories with a unique flavor. Then we assign an occupation to our sleuth that further extends this world.
Recently, I realized that for each story, we add another circle. Think of concentric circles each enclosing the other with the sleuth in the center.
In watching traditional mysteries on TV, I’ve noticed how each show focuses on a narrow group of people, same as we do in a cozy mystery novel. It’s easy when we pick a setting with built-in suspects. Here are some ideas in no particular order:
Craft Emporium, Gift Shop
County Fair, Crafts Fair
Classes—Cooking, Crafts, Dance, Yoga, Acting, Quilting
Charity Organization, Fundraisers
Competition—Art Show, Bake-Off, Sports Tournament
Health Care—Clinic, Doctor’s office, Dentist, Hospital
Food—Catering, Cookie Store, Coffee Shop, Restaurant, Chefs, Winery, Farm
Museum or Historical Site
Theatrical Performance, Circus, Carnival, Concert, Live Stage Show
Holiday Event, Parade, Christmas Sale, Fourth of July Committee
School or College
Party, Wedding, Celebration
Bank, Financial Center, Insurance Agency
Transportation—Car Dealership, Bus Trip, Train, Road Trip
Cruise Ship, Private Charter Yacht
Hotel or Resort
Beauty Care—Salon, Day Spa, Wellness Clinic
Book Club, Knitting Club, Gourmet Club, Bridge Club
Conference or Convention
Anyway, you get the gist. Tell us where you’ve set your latest novel or where you might like to see one take place.