Jessie: In New Hampshire, plucking away at the seventh Beryl and Edwina novel.
I am delighted to report that the annual assault by blackflies is at an end in my corner of the globe. An army of dragonflies has once again arrived and thoroughly vanquished the little beasts. This happy turn of events has made it possible for me to spend many happy hours in the garden with my dog, Sam, or with friends and family.
My sleuth, Edwina Davenport, loves her gardens as much as I do, and when I write scenes that place her in the midst of her plants I am put in mind of one of my favorite traditional mystery stalwarts, the village fete. This quintessentially English event is most often set on the lavish grounds of a local stately home. Complete with coconut shys, white elephant stalls, and tombolas, the fete is always held for a worthwhile cause, more often than not the church roof fund.
Everyone knows there no real hope that sufficient funds will be raised no matter how many raffle tickets or home-baked goods are sold, but it matters not a whit. The revelers are actually there for the far more important tasks of discovering who has won the flower arranging competition or to off-load a murder weapon in the anonymity of the jumble table. More often than not, someone will be murdered in a quaint and clever way, one that frequently does not appear to be anythin other than a tragic accident at first glance.
Considering that the village fete has made appearances in so many mysteries over the decades it was inevitable that I would turn my hand to one of my own a few years ago with Murder Flies the Coop. And even though I have already scratched that particular itch, every time I am out in my own garden I find myself wondering how I might justify doing it again before long. After all, the church roof must still be in dire need of repair!
Readers, which traditional mystery scenarios are amongst your favorites? Writers, have you ever used a similar situation more than once in your own work simply because you love it so much?