While generating a back-cover blurb for A Body in the Sacristy, I realized I’d caused a problem. I’ve written a story featuring a policeman who abandons his life as a tough-nosed cop on the vice squad of a big-city police force. He finds a simpler life as a police detective in a small town where he can help his friends and neighbours. This story delves into his first case.
I didn’t target a sub-genre of mysteries before writing this story. Now, I don’t know how to pitch it.
It doesn’t fit the hard-boiled or noir sub-genres. If I wanted to write one of those, I should have left my detective on his big-city drug squad.
I don’t think it qualifies as a police procedural because I don’t focus unerringly on investigative details. I venture too frequently into Detective Goodyear’s personal life. His interaction with his neighbours in his quirky little town is as important as the investigation.
The novel displays several characteristics of a cozy mystery. It is set in a small town inhabited by unusual characters. It has no blood and gore, bad language, sex, or other mayhem. But my protagonist is a male police detective, not a female amateur sleuth, and I focus too closely on the police investigation for a standard cozy.
So, what do I have? Is it a soft-boiled mystery, a recognized but not very commonly discussed sub-genre of mystery? This story is pretty soft; the egg only spent a few minutes in boiling water. Later ones will spend longer in the pot without getting hard-boiled.