And then... I remember the sense of fear. Not so much because of my friend, but because of the setting. Point Pelee is a wetland. A swamp. It is the southernmost point of Canada, geographically south of Detroit and due east. Not exactly the Louisiana bayou, but not the Yukon either. It was a hot summer day and you could practically see the steam rising from the swamp land. I could imagine a body lying just inches below the surface of the water. Despite the heat and humidity, I had the chills. It occurred to me that while I'd told my mother -- and my boyfriend -- that I was going with a friend for this day trip, I hadn't mentioned his name. This was in the days before email or cell phones. It wouldn't have been an easy trace had he decided to bop me on the head with a severed tree limb and throw me to the animals of the bog.
It turns out I had an overactive imagination. Still do. That image, that moment of fear, is all I remember of that day trip. As it turns out, thankfully, my friend was actually a good guy. I'm certain we toured the park and I know that we made our way home because I'm still alive and well today. Fast forward forty-some years, and I still find myself reading or watching the news and thinking, "now that would be a great way to get rid of a body," or better yet, "How do you like that? It's the perfect murder." Bits and pieces of what I hear and read make their way into my stories.
Not too long ago, I bought a used book on Amazon, “The Crime Writers’ Handbook,” by Douglas Wynne, mostly to find out what a body looks like when it’s been strangled. This was for book number three in my Jeweltown Murder Mystery series, which is not yet completed. When I opened the package at work, my husband thumbed through the pages and mumbled something about Homeland Security. I explained about the strangulation thing, and it’s a credit to our marriage that it didn’t make him blink. “Just put it in your briefcase and take it home,” he said. “At least don’t let anyone else here see it.” This was probably good advice. When I read more of this wonderful, yet out of print, book, I came up with even more tantalizing ideas of how to bump people off. Trust me, this makes no sense. I say, “I’m sorry,” (like it matters) every time I kill a bug out of necessity. And yet I think of gruesome ways that my victims will be murdered. Off stage, of course. I don’t want to see the violence. I’m writing cozies here.
So am I an upstanding citizen? Well, I pay my taxes and, so far, haven’t had as much as a traffic ticket. Do I have a criminal mind? Well, yeah, probably. And it’s best to put this mind to work writing semi-violent cozy mysteries. It’s a blast. And eventually I’ll get these babies off to market and share them with you!