Lombard Author's New Book Challenges Your Inner Detective

  • Cover design courtesy of Paul Faber

    Cover design courtesy of Paul Faber

Loretta Martin
Updated 9/16/2020 10:22 AM

Mystery is ... well ... a "killer" hit in the west 'burbs. Helen Plum Library's upcoming virtual genealogy mystery workshop and mystery dinner packages offered by Millhurst Charhouse in Oakbrook Terrace are two examples.

Mystery writing is a big market, including the sub-genre called the cozy mystery. According to K-lytics, a resource that analyzes e-book marketing trends, between 2012 and 2018, Google bestseller sales ranking for the cozy mystery category improved by up to 55%, while 2018 e-book royalties grew 29% over 2017. In 2019, Book Ad Report announced that crime and mystery fiction overall banked $728.2 million in sales.


As a Lombard author, I'm in good company. So is my new book, "Five-Minute Cozy Mini Mysteries (with Solutions): 26 Whodunits That Test Your Amateur Sleuthing Smarts." These solve-it-yourself mysteries -- most under 600 words -- can be tackled during a coffee or lunch break, or when you need a time out (especially if you're working, parenting, and schooling at home).

In July 2018, I got hooked on cozy "flashes" as breaks from my "real" writing and editing gigs. It's fun guessing who the scoundrel (or do-gooder) is, so I started writing and submitting them for publication. So far, five have appeared in several venues.

What's so "cozy" about cozies?

For one thing, you won't find graphic violence. As stated in the introduction, " ... somebody whacked Old Man Wingate over the head, but blood-and-gore details are left out. Nor will you find four-letter bombs or hot sex." In other words, they're family friendly.

Also from the introduction: "Idealized settings, where bad things rarely happen and everybody knows everybody else, are pillars of the cozy mystery genre."

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Sleuths, or protagonists, usually are women (think Jessica Fletcher or Miss Marple). Aside from being local authority figures, protagonists can be everyday people: a word puzzle enthusiast, or a sharp-eyed mom who knows when a kid's alibi smells like a compost heap. Common sense, deductive reasoning, and a good memory solve the case instead of big-city, high-tech forensics.

Stumped? Don't worry. Solutions appear at the end of each mystery.

"Five-Minute Cozy Mini Mysteries (with Solutions): 26 Whodunits That Test Your Amateur Sleuthing Smarts," by Loretta Martin. Available on Amazon. $12.99, paperback, available now; e-book, $7.99, available for pre-order (e-book release date is 9/18/2020)

Loretta lives with her husband, Phil, an award-winning (semi-retired) artist. Her favorite freelance projects: proofreading classical music scores (she's a former piano major); prooflistening an Estonian-to-English audiobook translation (thanks to her voice-over training). A former blogger, Loretta's written articles for Suburban Woman News. Her fiction appears in Oyster River Pages, Woman's World magazine, Every Writer, and Short Fiction Break.

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