Friday, September 4, 2009
I’m sitting at my desk penning this blog while wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Age and treachery will triumph over youth and skill”. Now that I’m in the third trimester of my life (think pregnancy without the nice results and in decades instead of months) I find much pleasure in writing tongue-in-cheek mysteries featuring older women who show how clever they really are.
I had a chance to do just that a few years ago when Serita Stevens asked me to write a story for an anthology she was editing called Blondes in Trouble & Other Tangled Tales. I’ve always been a fan of the short story format, and having just returned from South Carolina, I already had an idea in mind for my submission.
While visiting my brother, a long time resident of a small South Carolina town, he’d taken me to see the local courthouse. Like many rural courthouses in the South, it stood in the town square fronted by a statue of a Confederate soldier and surrounded by magnolia bushes and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. A relentless sun bleached the gray stone walls of the courthouse and washed the entire scene in a hazy whiteness reflecting a humidity so high I felt like I was breathing pure water. I couldn’t help myself; the entire scene cried out “Atmosphere!” Not only was the setting perfect for a story, but I could also practically see Justice peeking out from under her blindfold, winking at me.
With my setting decided on, I wrote the humorous mystery “Murder Most Politic” in less than a day. The story features a true daughter of the South, Hazel Roundtree Callahan, and her personal secretary, Miss Lydia Applewhite. Below is the cover blurb from the e-book version of that story, just released by Echelon Press.
Sitting in the witness chair in her canary yellow suit and pearl necklace, Hazel Roundtree Callahan looks more like a plump little grandmother than a wily politician. But looks can be deceiving, as District Attorney Andrew Hollis quickly learns when the silver-haired Mrs. Callahan takes the stand in the murder trial of her personal secretary, Miss Lydia Applewhite.
Not only is Hollis out-maneuvered by hotshot defense lawyer Princeton Wainwright III, but he is also ill prepared for the shocking testimony of his star witness. Did Lydia Applewhite intend to kill Hazel’s husband when she plunged a barbecue fork into Sen. Blake Callahan’s stomach, or was it simply a horrible accident as the grieving widow claims. It’s up to the citizens of the sleepy Southern town of Nuisance to decide whether the beautiful Miss Applewhite is a cold blooded killer or simply a woman wrongly caught in the steel jaws of justice.
If you enjoy a little humor in your mysteries and absolutely adore twist endings, you’ll love “Murder Most Politic”. It’s on sale now at Echelon Press for only $2.
Now that’s a bargain no mystery lover should pass up.