Character Introductions

Quote from “Mistletoe Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery Series Book 1)” by Leslie Meier –

“Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove.”

I’m not very far into this new-to-me cozy mystery series. Most of the main characters are still being introduced, and since the murder has already taken place, of course, other characters are speculating on the obvious suspects: the wife and the brother.

I personally judge characters based on how they talk about other people, especially people they don’t like. It’s how I judge people in real life, too. It said a lot to me that my husband has always been factual, but never catty, about his ex-wives. 

So far, Lucy and her friends come across as bitchy gossips. 

I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt about the wife when they described her as a pretentious snob for rejecting an invitation to the Friends of the Library because I’m an introvert and these women are obviously extroverts who don’t believe introverts are a thing. Not being social is a sin in their book. I figured that with a bit of time and real exposure to the wife, they’d revise their opinion of her. This was merely the author giving her characters room to grow as people. That’s okay!

Then we get introduced to the brother and how he doesn’t live up to his brother’s “golden boy” status. He’s not a show off, he’s a “mama’s boy”, he goes to theater productions, he collects stamps, he’s not Ken Doll handsome, and, gasp! He might be gay because he doesn’t have a public girlfriend.

Which leads me back to the quote I shared above: 

“Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove.”

Now, again, this could be the author’s way of giving her characters room to grow. It could be a red herring meant to subtlety call out any homophobic readers who hvw decided that the brother is guilty because he checks all the boxes on the “what a murderer looks like” list according to small town, USA.

McCarthyism at it’s finest.

But this doesn’t sit right with me.

I’m all in favor of subtle snubs at the homophobic and racist status quo. But, while most people who call out their hometown for being homophobic or racist will say soomething as blatant as “Homosexuality was not an approved life-style in Tinker’s Cove”, they will usually emphasize it by making it it’s own paragraph, the literary equivalent of standing in the center of main street to voice it. Then they will immediately make some kind of statement that definitively shows that they are against homophobia. Period.

Instead, this sentence sits at then end of a paragraph that lists all of the brother’s “faults”. Being gay is just another one. He’s the jealous brother because he’s ugly and not a real man because he likes theater, stamps, and potentially other men as sexual partners. He’s the murderer because he’s different. 

Then she changes the subject.

Like I said, Lucy is a bitch. She fits every stereotype of small town, small mind that I can think of. I’ll give this book it’s fair share and finish it, but a lot of crow will need to be eaten for me to read the next one.

Start reading this book for free: http://a.co/cMlJLgB

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