Okay, that’s a question I seldom ask myself. I write mystery (mostly) taking place in the current time, and in the country where my books are sold. I don’t have any characters speaking a foreign language.
Other books, often ones I read, are set in past centuries or other countries. They might have a list of names, or words that are unfamiliar. That’s handy. There are other instances that necessitate word lists—often involving unusual occupations, or even hobbies. But cozy, or almost cozy mysteries? Most readers know enough of the words used to describe recipes, needlework, antiques, pets, and the various occupations of our favorite amateur sleuths.
Now, back to my question. One of my mysteries involves boating. The following is a paragraph that may have non-boaters thinking I must have missed a few grammar lessons in elementary school.
“The coiled anchor rode smelled musty, even though it was completely dry. Little colored plastic tags lay, woven into the fiber to measure off the feet as the line payed out. Would I have to remove all that line to see if there was anything underneath? Not tonight. Too much trouble. I flashed around the interior one last time. There was a small piece of paper stuck low, under a few coils of the rope. I pulled it out.”
Did I misspell something? I checked a boating site from the Great Lakes. This is a sentence describing how to anchor a boat. “When all the rode has been payed out, gently back down on the anchor to set it in the bottom.”
RODE — anchor chain or line (rope) that attaches the anchor to the boat
TO PAY OUT, or PAYED OUT — to allow the rode to uncoil and leave the anchor locker so the anchor is lowered
Or, is that just too much? Personally, I think so. I don’t mind reading a book with a few things I have to infer from context. What do you think?