Edith/Maddie here, writing from north of Boston where the light, the day length, the turning leaves, and the calendar all tell me it’s fall. We’re still eating tomatoes and lettuce from the garden, local farms still have sweet corn and cucumbers, and we’ve had a spate of warm weather. I haven’t hauled out sweaters and boots – yet. But apples and pumpkins are everywhere and the leaves on my blueberry bushes are a deep winey red.
We all know winter is coming and with it the holidays. So a book called Candy Slain Murder (out today!) is only a little early for the Christmas season. Read down for a giveaway.
I had started to draft this post about where I got my ideas for the book. But what I want to write about is how deeply I am grieving the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Physically she was tiny, but intellectually and ethically she was so much stronger than just about anyone. She fought for justice her entire adult life. Justice for women, for same-sex couples, for the disabled, for African Americans, for the environment. For us, the people.
I started learning more about her a few years ago when my friend, author Leslie Karst, asked if I would read Cooking for Ruth, her manuscript about preparing dinner for the justice and her husband. Leslie talks about it in this recent Jungle Red Writers blog post. In subtle ways, retired lawyer Leslie also weaves in the story of Ginsburg’s long years of legal/civil rights work, her challenges and triumphs, with the story of the meal planning and execution.
Then I discovered the RBG Workout book written by Bryant Johnson, Ginsburg’s fitness trainer, and, inspired by a ninety-pound eighty-something, I started lifting weights again and doing planks. (Did you see the man paying his respects by dropping and doing three pushups as she lay in state at the capital? That was Johnson.)
And then came the biopic “On the Basis of Sex” and the lovely documentary, “RBG.” I thought, why hasn’t this marvelous person been on my radar for decades instead of just now? I even got her action figure.
I’ve been a feminist since I was a girl. I remember an acute sense of injustice when, in fifth grade, the teacher asked two boys to bring back a box of books from the book room. I demanded to know why I wasn’t asked. (Maybe being the smallest kid in the class had something to do with it. Or maybe not.)
So I feel a kinship with RBG. I attribute being able to write books with strong female protagonists to the advances she fought for. I know my ability to own a credit card in my own name is because of her, and my friends in same-sex marriages owe her the same.
Thank you, Justice Ruth. May we all carry on your work in our own way and fight injustice wherever we find it.
But since you, dear readers, probably also want to hear about the new book, here are a few bits:
I dedicated Candy Slain Murder to another strong woman, dear friend and stalwart author, Sheila Connolly, who died last spring.
In a recent guest post, I talked about the inspiration for the subplot of Danna’s birth brother showing up on page one to meet her for the first time. This book also features a decade-old skeleton, the current murder of the skeleton’s twin sister, and a delightful Hungarian grandfather. Winter holidays are about family for many people, and this book is no exception. I hope readers will love the family-centered surprise at the end.
For many of us, the holidays means a lot of sweet baked goods and some special drinks. Over on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen last week, I offered a recipe for holly-shaped sugar cookies as well as the history of the recipe. Maya Corrigan (whose Gingerdead Man share this release day) and I interview each other on Jungle Red Writers today. I guested with a no-egg nog over on Drinks with Reads. Cinnamon, Sugar and a Little Bit of Murder will feature the Gingerbread People recipe in the book on October 2. And on October 6 I’ll be celebrating in a Super Cozy Release Party with seven other fabulous authors – hope you can join us!
I don’t think Ruth Ginsburg would want any of us not to continue celebrating our successes, so I am happy to send one commenter a copy of the new book, and you can specify how you would like it endorsed. What’s your favorite winter holiday memory, or food or drink? Do you have an RBG story to share?