This is the second in my cozy mystery writing series. Last week I focused on writing better sleuths. Today, I thought I’d take a look at another vital element for a solid mystery: good suspects.
How many suspects? Fewer suspects can be easier for readers to keep up with, but can also mean that the murderer’s identity isn’t as much of a surprise. If you have more suspects, you can more easily maintain the element of surprise at the end, but you have to be careful not to confuse the reader. I usually prefer 5 suspects, killing one of them during the course of the book. If you choose to have a lot of suspects, you can reduce confusion by making sure their names are very distinct or by giving them a casual reintroduction when they appear “onstage” again in the story. Continue reading Writing the Cozy Mystery: The Suspects