Those Shivery Cozies
by Blanche Day Manos
I have often said that the characters in the books I write tell the story. I just put on paper what they say. Although this may seem nonsensical to some, it is really quite true.
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The Cemetery Club, Grave Shift, Best Left Buried and the soon-to-be-released Grave Heritage are stories about two women sleuths, Darcy Campbell and her mother, Flora Tucker. They live in Levi, a small town in northeast Oklahoma. The area is rich in folklore, natural beauty, and mysterious happenings.
“Oh the surface,” Darcy says, “Levi seems to be a peaceful, placid town but it’s like a still pool with deadly currents swirling beneath the beauty.”
It’s those deadly currents that land Darcy and Flora in a heap of trouble. As I said, these ladies pretty much tell the story. If I write something that doesn’t sound like either one, I instinctively know it and set about re-writing. When the story is finished, it must be a believable mystery that Darcy and Flora have lived.
The first book, The Cemetery Club, involves a brush with unscrupulous men hunting for hidden Cherokee treasure. Grave Shift derived its name from two things: the shifting of the earth during two Oklahoma earthquakes, and a hidden grave which comes to light in a most unusual way. Darcy decides that some secrets are Best Left Buried in book number three.
Happily, the fourth Darcy and Flora cozy, Grave Heritage, is to be released by Pen-L Publishing this September. In it, our intrepid sleuths inadvertently become involved in yet another mystery. The danger comes at them from two points: the rainiest July in history and a heartless killer in town.
My latest cozy mystery is Moonlight Can Be Murder with a new protagonist, Ned (or Nettie) McNeil. Ned is a middle-aged woman with a healthy curiosity. She did not return to her hometown of Ednalee to be involved in a murder, but she finds herself plunged into a mystery that is forty years old. The way she discovers the deranged killer and her near brush with death keeps the reader turning pages.
A second “Moonlight” book is in the works. By the Fright of the Silvery Moon continues with Ned in the Granger Mansion in Ednalee trying to unravel a murder which seems to be connected with the history of her home.
Writing is a demanding, exciting, tiring job, but it is a work I love. I hope to keep turning out mysteries this year and the next year and the next…
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