Category: Historical Mysteries

The Holidays, Translated by Catriona McPherson

I’ve been discussing holidays with friends online recently. Partly that’s because I planned a trilogy of books ( the Last Ditch Motel series) that all opened on US holidays – book one the 4th of July, book two Halloween, book three Valentine’s Day – only I’ve just signed the contract for books five and six (of a trilogy) and I’m scared of running out. But partly it was sparked by the fact that THE MIRROR DANCE begins as Dandy Gilver is headed to a park with her female servants in tow on the afternoon of the August Bank in 1938. They’re going to watch a Punch and Judy show and eat buns. Guess whether the performance goes smoothly and they’re all home in time for supper or whether the puppeteer is murdered in his booth with fifty people watching and no way for the murder to have arrived or left again. Go on, guess. Anyway, I was talking about it and an American pal (anonymous for reasons you will find out in a bit) said, “August Bank? Didn’t he win a Tony award last year?” which made me laugh hard and feel grateful all over again for having funny friends. […]

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My Five Favorite Miss Marple Episodes

In no particular order: The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (1992) When Hollywood star Marina Greg returns to England and takes up residence in Gossington Hall, bodies begin to fall. Favorite character: Dolly Bantry performed by Gwen Watford. Miss Marple’s best friend and her perfect foil. She is kind, socially adept, observant, sometimes misses the big picture, and Miss Marple’s biggest fan. Favorite line (from Dolly): “His wife was dressed in turquoise from head to foot including gloves. Very odd.” Favorite scene: Dolly leads a gaggle of village ladies as they prowl through Gossington Hall, checking out the new bathrooms. At Bertram’s Hotel (1987) Miss Marple spends a holiday at a posh London hotel where bodies begin to fall. Favorite character: Bess, Lady Sedgwick played by Caroline Blakiston. She strolls through the airport, retrieves her roadster, throws her high heels in the back seat and drives like a bat out of hell through London. Favorite line: When Miss Marple’s friend tells her a story about ordering a muffin for breakfast in the US only to be served a tea cake with raisins, Miss Marple sneers and says, “Oh, Americans have a lot to answer for.” Favorite scene: Afternoon tea. […]

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Death at Greenway: Lori Rader-Day

I was honored to receive an advance copy of Death at Greenway annotated by the author Lori Rader-Day, which I won in a charity auction. I made myself read it slowly, savoring the experience of having the insight of the author as I read her fabulous story about Agatha Christie’s holiday home. Lori generously answered a few of my questions to share with Miss Demeanor’s readers.

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3 Historical Novels. Just Because.

Today is International Literacy Day

–and what better way to celebrate than by taking a peek at three gorgeous historical novels set in days when literacy was not only rare, but, for some, deathly dangerous.

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Happy Birthday, Raymond Chandler

If Raymond Chandler were alive today, he’d be 113. Still, he lives on, not only in his own massive oeuvre but also in the books and short stories of writers who read Chandler and were never the same.

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