Please join me in giving a warm welcome to author Elizabeth Spann Craig as the guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.
Elizabeth is the author of “Pretty is as Pretty Dies,” a Myrtle Clover Mystery and the first installment in her barbecue series, “Delicious and Suspicious” is slated for release in July. Elizabeth will be giving away a copy of her book to one lucky person who comments on her post between today and 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4.
When I asked Elizabeth to guest blog here today, I also ask her to select her own topic. I wanted to see what creative avenue she would choose. She has chosen one that will not only entertain you, but also enlighten you in the ways of the mystery genre.
Now join me as Elizabeth tells us about, “Nancy, Trixie, Scooby, Miss Marple, and Me.”
Nancy, with her titian hair (I remember looking ‘titian’ up in the dictionary), snazzy convertible, cool friends…and even a boyfriend(!) was the coolest person in the world to the second grade me. She was persistent and smart, inquisitive and brave, loyal—and able to get out of the scariest jams.
I was seven when I started reading mysteries. After Nancy, I flew through the whole Trixie Belden series, before moving on to Agatha Christie’s books.
Even my TV viewing reflected my pull to the genre…Scooby Doo anyone? Scooby was actually a pretty amazing sleuth with the right motivation (Scooby Snacks.)
What I learned from my mystery solving gang:
Sidekicks make you stronger: Nancy Drew, Carolyn Keene. Nancy had a nose for trouble. Although she’d get herself into jams, George and Bess were soon on the scene with some help. And her friends were always there to bounce ideas off of.
Settings are important. Miss Marple, Agatha Christie. The village provided the perfect backdrop for murder. With a limited number of suspects, the murderer was bound to be someone
everybody knew. And the reader was always reminded—danger is everywhere. Even in small towns.
Crime investigation makes you a target. Scooby Doo. Someone or something was always after those meddling kids. And the chase sequences made me tune in week after week.
Flawed protagonists are fun. Trixie Belden, Kathryn Kenny. Trixie had a temper. Trixie was impetuous. Trixie didn’t follow directions. Did I mention how many years I enjoyed hanging out with Trixie in books?
No forensics are required. Miss Marple, Agatha Christie. A sleuth needs only a well-developed knowledge of human nature to connect the dots and solve the crime.
An innocuous appearance doesn’t hurt if you’re a sleuth. In fact, you can fly under the radar a lot easier. Nancy, Trixie, Scooby, and Miss Marple. So, would you take teenage girls, an elderly lady, or a Great Dane seriously? Neither did the authorities or the bad guys…something they regretted later.
These series not only made me an avid fan, but also motivated me to try writing the genre myself—and taught me a lot about the components of fun, successful mysteries.
Elizabeth, I would have never thought of putting those characters together in a group but they make a wonderful combination. They are also great inspiration for the mystery genre. Elizabeth will be dropping back by during the day to answer any questions you might have and respond to your comments.
Now for a little background on her. Elizabeth’s “Pretty is as Pretty Dies” book was released in August 2009 by Midnight Ink. “Delicious and Suspicious” (written under her Riley Adams) will be released July 2010 by Penguin. Elizabeth can be found at her blog Mystery Writing Is Murder and she is also a contributed to Mystery Lover’s Kitchen, as well as several other blogs.
Did anyone inspire you when you were younger to write mysteries. What are your thoughts on this sleuthing group? Be sure to leave a comment or question for Elizabeth for a chance to win a copy of her book.