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Monday, August 4, 2014

The Perfect Setting for a Cozy Mystery.

By Terrie Farley Moran.


I love when an idea for a story comes from an unexpected source. It is even more astonishing when the idea for a setting comes from a conversation with a new friend and based on what I learned, a family member leads me the rest of the way. That is exactly what happened with Well Read, Then Dead.

A few years ago I was at a pre-Edgar Awards party sponsored by PennyPress / Dell, the parent company of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It is always one of the friendliest parties of a very sociable and fun filled week. It happened that I met a woman named Christine Begley and in two minutes we became fast friends talking about, what else? Books. Books we read. Books we wanted to read. Christine was very excited about a book she’d recently finished called Shadow Country written by Peter Matthiessen. It is a fictionalized version of life on the last frontier in the 19th century, the Everglades and the Gulf coast of Florida. As a history buff I couldn’t wait to read it. At nearly nine hundred pages the book should have been daunting, instead I found it to be energizing. There was so much lawlessness and so many tales of survival; I thought it would make a perfect backdrop for a modern day mystery with tiny historical overtones.



A short time later I decided to write the Read ’Em and Eat series, or at least one cozy mystery set in and around the Read ’Em and Eat with perhaps others to follow. I had characters and I had a plotline. And I had the idea of bringing some of what I learned from Shadow Country into the twenty-first century. I needed the right setting.

I was looking for a beachy vacation type of town with a resilient year round population, a place where my protagonists, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield, could resettle after leaving Brooklyn and open a breakfast and lunch café with a bookstore component complete with book club meetings and menu items named after writers, books and characters. 

You might want a taste of Harper Lee Hush Puppies, Old Man and the Sea Chowder, or Miss Marple Scones. Most importantly, since Matthiessen had given me a deep feel for the history of the southwest coast of Florida, I wanted the geography to be south of Port Charlotte and north of Naples. I am lucky enough to have a daughter who lives right in the middle of that geography. She suggested Fort Myers Beach. Shortly thereafter, I flew down to visit her.

We took a ride and as we drove across the San Carlos Bridge and crossed on to Estero Island, I knew that I had found a home for Sassy and Bridgy. All along the west end of the island is the Gulf of Mexico bordered by gorgeous white sands. The bay side of the island has plenty of sea grapes, mangrove trees, scrub pines and palm trees. If it sounds like paradise, that is exactly how it looks.

So, why not stop by the Read ’Em and Eat for a Swiss Family Robinson Cheeseburger and a glass of sweet tea? I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Bridgy and Sassy, the clubbies, as Sassy calls the book club members and Bridgy’s flamboyant Aunt Ophie. And there are always those gorgeous Gulf sunsets. Not to be missed.


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Berkley Prime Crime has generously offered a copy of Well Read, Then Dead to one of my readers. Please comment below before midnight on August 18, 2014. Entries from the US only, please.

Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win.

24 comments:

  1. Hi Marlyn, thanks so much for hosting me. Hugs, Terrie

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    1. I'm so happy to have you as a guest on Stuff and Nonsense, Terrie! Thank you!

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  2. I hope I win! I can't wait to read this. The more I hear about it the more I want to read it!
    cgkcfox@gmail.com

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    1. It's a great book, Gretchen. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  3. Books about books are always the best. Interesting that your trips brought on these ideas. Love to be in on the start of a new series. Love reading and reviewing these great new starts!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

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    1. Thank you so much for reading Stuff and Nonsense, Ronna!

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  4. Christina M. from KSAugust 4, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    I LOVE NEW COZY MYSTERIES!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Christina. Unfortunately I can't enter you in the drawing without a valid email address.

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  5. I love 1st books in a new cozy series!!!
    congrats & thanx for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for dropping by!

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  6. How nice that so many people are interested in winning a copy of WRTD!

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    1. Isn't it? And the book is so worth it!

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  7. So fascinating how you came to choose everything from location, characters, even menu items! Sounds like a must read series to me.
    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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    1. Thank you for reading Stuff and Nonsense, Karen!

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  8. I am looking foreword to reading this new series.

    gibsonbk@hiwaay.net

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  9. Got it today, Terrie. Can't wait to read it.

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  10. Thanks for all the interest and support. You guys are awesome.

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  11. SO want to read...

    patucker54 at aol dot com

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    1. Thank you for reading Stuff and Nonsense, Pat!

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  12. This sounds like a really cool weries.

    kaye.killgore@comcast.net

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  13. Sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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