The Story Behind the Story: “Red Hot Murder”

I love a good “impossible” mystery setup.

Whether it’s a locked-door mystery (i.e., the mystery takes place in a locked room or house), a framing of an innocent person, or some other setup that seems impossible to overcome, they’re some of my favorite types of mysteries.

In the case of Red Hot Murder, it’s the “waking up with a dead body in your kitchen and having no memory of how it got there” type.

If I was writing one of my psychological thrillers, I might have the main character wake up with the body and have no idea what happened. But for a cozy, I decided to have one of Charlie’s tea clients wake up with the body.

I also thought it might be fun to play with the “sleuth is framed” setup, but with a twist. In this case, Charlie was blamed for turning her client into a murderer, as opposed to being the one who did the killing.

So, it’s Charlie’s reputation on the line as she races to find the real murderer and keep her client out of jail.

And, since one of the things I love about the cozy genre is the themes, I thought it would be fun to write a book featuring Valentine’s Day. (Yes, I know it’s releasing in April, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes).

Lastly, throw in a healthy dose of secrets that Charlie needs to wade through to get to the truth, and voila! You now know the essence of Red Hot Murder.

This book was super easy for me to write. It came together fast and just flowed. (Especially when I compared it to the last book I wrote, The Girl Who Wasn’t There, which was a psychological thriller … and the one I thought would be the end of me.)

Cozy mysteries have a different vibe than psychological thrillers, and I’m finding I really enjoy taking a break from the intensity of the psychological thrillers to go have a cup of tea and couple of cookies with Pat and Charlie as they talk about their latest case.

Oh, and that reminds me … I’ve introduced a new, quirky character in Red Hot Murder—Tilde Tillerson. She’s the owner and founder of the Redemption Detective Agency. She’s also a bored, retired nurse who, inspired by Charlie’s amateur sleuthing, decides it would be fun to spend her retired years helping the Redemption Police Department solve crimes.

(You can imagine how thrilled Wyle is to hear about that.)

Anyway, Tilde may end up joining forces with a few other silver sleuths as she focuses mostly on Redemption cold cases. (Needless to say, there are A LOT of them.) She also may end up in her own spin-off series. (I’m not saying she will, but if she does, look for it in 2024.)

Meanwhile, here’s where you can grab your copy of Red Hot Murder.

Every story has its own story. The behind-the-scenes story of how it got written. This is the story of Red Hot Murder, Book 6 in the Charlie Kingsley Mystery series. Share on X

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