Guest Post: The catalyst by Shelly Frome
A noted creative writing guru from the Heartland had a favorite guideline: “If some unfinished business haunts you and won’t let go, transcribe it into a fictional question, people it with characters who are bound to clash, and keep going until the smoke clears.”
In this particular case, for my cozy mystery “The Secluded Village Murders” instead of the same old, same old British village mystery hermetically sealed by the stereotypical eccentric characters and the village snoop or inspector, I was intrigued by opening it all up, crossing both sides of the pond, and employing a spunky fit- and- trim American gal with something personal to resolve. Of course, none of this would have taken place if I’d never gone on a private tour of “Hidden England” with my intrepid late wife, and I wasn’t intimately familiar with two quaint sister villages on our transatlantic travels.
Moreover, I was upset over the prospect of watching the pristine high meadow—a huge tract of New England land by our property that had remained unspoiled for centuries—ravaged by rapacious developers. In short, compared with my other creative efforts, here was a project that touched me directly and an outcome I was powerless to effect. My only recourse was to send Emily Ryder out there, a purely fictional character, and up the ante in order to possibly gain any meaningful resolution and bring a host of readers into the equation taking the quest far and above my own little concerns.
Thank you, Shelly for your thoughts and for THE SECLUDED VILLAGE MURDERS. As someone from New England, the catalyst to your story interests me. Unfortunately, I haven't read THE SECLUDED VILLAGE MURDERS. Laura Lee is my guest reviewer today.
The Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome, Guest review by Laura Lee
If you enjoy cozy mysteries, ‘The Secluded Village Murders’ by Shelly Frome is a great one. Emily Rider sees her friend/mentor, Chris fall off of a roof and die. The police deem it an accident but Emily thinks it is murder. Emily is determined to prove it was murder. Chris was actively working to block the building of a new complex so the development company becomes a suspect on Emily’s list. ‘The Secluded Village Murders’ reads a lot like a British sleuth Novel, filled with British humor. The plot was well thought out and there were lots of twists that keep the reader guessing. The characters were quite quirky which I always love. The back drop of the small community in Connecticut and the English countryside were well written. The story did jump around quite a bit which made it hard to follow at times but for the reader patient enough to hang in, there are a lot of payoffs. This is the first book I have read by Shelly Frome but it certainly won’t be the last. I also hope this won’t be the last we hear from the character Emily Rider! She is a fun, intelligent amateur sleuth! I give ‘The Secluded Village Murders’ 4 out of 5 stars.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
From a small secluded village in Connecticut to the English Countryside, readers are taken on a roller coaster of events and quirky characters as amateur sleuth Emily Ryder tries to solve a murder that everyone thinks was an accident.
For tour guide Emily Ryder, the turning point came on that fateful early morning when her beloved mentor met an untimely death. It's labeled as an accident and Trooper Dave Roberts is more interested in Emily than in any suspicions around Chris Cooper's death. For Emily, if Chris hadn't been the Village Planner and the only man standing in the way of the development of an apartment and entertainment complex in their quaint village of Lydfield, Connecticut, she might have believed it was an accident, but too many pieces didn't fit.
As Emily heads across the pond for a scheduled tour of Lydfield's sister village, Lydfield-in-the-Moor . . . she discovers that the murderer may be closer than she thought.