Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And Now...A Word From My Character



Greetings to all from little Rhineburg, Illinois! Spring has arrived here in the northwest section of the state. The farmland surrounding our small college town will soon be dotted with the stalks of newly planted corn. Gardens already glow with vibrant stands of tulips and daffodils, and the massive oaks bordering City Hall are leafing out once more in soft shades of yellow-green.

While the locals are busy with spring cleaning, over at Bruck University the students are spiffing up the campus in preparation for May’s Renaissance Faire. It’s an annual event dating back to the 60’s, and it usually goes off without a hitch. Last year was different. VERY different! The trouble started a few days before the Faire when a rune stone was found buried on Bruck Green. Professor Littlewort, who’s known by the locals to be "squirrelly in the head", insisted it was a genuine Viking relic. Before he could prove his hypothesis, the stone was stolen and several people lost their lives. It was not the best of times for the university, nor for me since I was partially responsible for what happened.

But here I am rattling on about murder and mayhem and it occurs to me that some of you may not know who I am. Forgive me for not introducing myself earlier. My name is Caroline Rhodes. I'm an ER nurse, a widow with three grown children who moved from Chicago to Rhineburg at the behest of my son Martin, a student at Bruck University. Martin and his wife Nikki blackmailed me into coming here when I was battling depression after the death of my husband.

Now I'm grateful that I made the move. Rhineburg is a great place to live, although my good friend Carl Atwater, a professor of history at Bruck, claims it was a more peaceful place before I came to town. Since my arrival, a Christmas tree has exploded on the psych ward at St. Anne's Hospital, a gambling ring's been exposed in town, and a herd of Brahma bulls has gotten loose on the campus of Bruck. We've also had a few murders, but I won't bother you with the gory details of those crimes.

Luckily, Mary Welk has chronicled all of my adventures. She gives me a bit more credit for solving these mysteries than I'm probably due, but who am I to protest? She's the writer; I'm just a middle-aged ER nurse trying to stay out of harm's way.

Having said all that, the real purpose of this blog is to introduce you to some of my friends and family members who appear in Mary Welk’s books. The best way I know to do this is by listing their favorite quotes, lines that describe their views on life.

To get the ball rolling, I'll start with one of my own favorite quotes, the one pinned up on my refrigerator!

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets.

Professor Carl Atwater, a man who believes in six square meals a day: STRESSED spelled backwards is DESSERTS.

Alexsa Stromberg Morgan, the 90-year-old matriarch of the Morgan family who knows something about everyone in Rhineburg: Age doesn't matter, except in wine and cheese. I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

Teddy Schoen, Mayor of Rhineburg: To succeed in politics, it is often necessary to rise above your principles.

Chief of Police Jake Moeller: Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Martin, my firstborn: Is it dinner yet?

Nikki, Martin’s wife: Man does not live by bread alone. If he did, God wouldn’t have created peanut butter and jelly.

Kerry, my youngest daughter and a theater major: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Of course, how you spend your leisure time is your business.

Krista, my oldest daughter and a teacher: Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in again.

Professor Andrew Littlewort, English Department, Bruck University: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.

The Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Rafael Bruck say this about their wives, Faith, Hope, and Charity: They're always late. Their ancestors came over on the June Flower.

Agatha Hagendorf, proprietor of the Rhineburg Boarding House and Home for Gentle Women: Seen it all, done it all, can't remember most of it.

Garrison Hurst, President of Bruck University: Caesar did not create a great empire by holding meetings. He did it by killing off all those who opposed him.

Madeline Moeller, owner of Mad Moeller's Antiques and Collectibles: Life is an endless struggle, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like.

Dr. Chan Daley, an ER doc and old friend from Chicago: Man who stands beneath elephant's tail must prepare for much dung to drop on head.

Hope you enjoyed meeting my friends and family. If you’d like to know more about us, you’ll find our adventures chronicled in Mary Welk’s "Rhodes to Murder" mystery series. You can read the first chapter of A MERRY LITTLE MURDER, the book that introduces me to the public, at Mary’s website, myspace.com/marywelk. If you’re more in a ‘Spring Fling’ mood, read THE RUNE STONE MURDERS, the book that introduces my friends from the Rhineburg Boarding House and Home for Gentle Women. These ladies will keep you laughing despite all the mayhem surrounding them. Later this year you may want to read THE SCARECROW MURDERS, a book that proves that children give you gray hairs no matter how old they are!

Bye for now!

Caroline Rhodes


  1. I simply love the quotes! What a wonderful article --THANKS


  2. Thanks! I thought Caroline did quite well as a first-time blogger. I just might invite her back sometime. :)

  3. I like that name - Home for Gentle Women.

    Morgan Mandel

  4. Caroline - nice job! I love the quotes from your kids especially. I keep hoping my 5 year old will outgrow the When is dinner...
    Where is your friend the town librarian?

  5. June Flower ... snort. And they baked on the way, hence the June Flour

  6. Amy, Caroline tried to get a quote from the town librarian, but you know how librarians are. She just said, "Hush! No talking in the library!", so Caroline had to leave her out of the blog. (sigh!)

  7. Norm, I hear those girls are pretty good cooks. June Flour. Hmmm. Maybe that's why.

  8. Morgan, since you won a copy of THE RUNE STONE MURDERS, you'll get to meet the ladies of the Rhineburg Boarding House and Home for Gentle Women. They make a second appearance in THE SCARECROW MURDERS, that time wearing Halloween costumes. :)

  9. Hi Mary,
    Still learning how to do all of this new techie stuff. Like the blog, interesting