Friday, October 28, 2011

The Environment as Character


Mysteries have so many subgenres.  Familiar ones are police procedurals, cozy mysteries (Murder She Wrote series), private eye (Robert Parker's series, such as "Spencer" or "Jesse Stone"), and more recently women sleuths (Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone).  

I've added another category to my mental list, and it's "environment as character" books.  Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott books make you feel as if you've lived in rural North Carolina all your life, and it's tempting to look up Colleton County on a map.  Not there, of course, but its tobacco fields and winding roads sure feel real when you put down a book. 

My book club picked Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter this month, and it introduced me to Tom Franklin.  I've seen his books and just not gotten to one -- so many books, so little time, as a cousin used to say.  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is set in Mississippi, no surprise to those who used this expression to learn how to spell the state's name.  It's not just that the town of Chabot and its traditions and biases seem real.  It's that you can feel every bit of mud on your shoe and the thick humidity might as well surround you as the characters.  

There are books that give you the buzz of a city or roar of the shore, but there is something about the south, and Margaret Maron and Tom Franklin have nailed it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Book Reviews Galore

I have been submitting "Appraisal for Murder" to a number of web sites that do book reviews.  It takes awhile.  In the meantime, I decided that I should also review some that I've read.  I usually just put a couple of sentences, but I'm now aiming for a few hundred words.  I'm posting on Amazon and (when I remember) on BN.  One of the reviews is of Garrison Keillor's Pontoon.  I loved it -- set in Lake Woebegone, which of course we hear about every week on Prairie Home Companion on NPR.  If you go to any review I've done you have the choice of seeing other reviews I've done.  I'm going to review a couple of the books in Laura Barrett's Booktown Mystery series.  Onward and upward.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

First time blogger at what age?!

I have long been a writer, but have never blogged.  It took me a couple years to get a Facebook account, and I still prefer email -- faster and fewer distractions.  Now that I have "retired" I am publishing more of what I write, and would love to have people read my books or articles.  Does that happen if you sit in a home office and keep the cat off the laptop keyboard (which kitty believes is her electric blanket)?  Nope. 

So, here I sit with not a clue about how to use a blog to my advantage and willing to learn.  Did I mention I can't update my web site because the host site (Yahoo) no longer allows Microsoft Front Page?  Learning new software for the web site and creating a blog?  Yikes.