Sherlock’s Home: The Adventure of the Contentious Crone

pamela roseMany moons ago on an Indiana farmstead My Weekly Reader became Pamela Rose’s first true love, miraculously discovered at the behest of her somewhat humorless third-grade teacher, notorious among her students for being a bit of a pickle-puss. About the same time Pamela realized her ability to cleverly manipulate prose when she read aloud in class her very first book report on a small, much beloved book appropriately named Twig. She was startled to learn subsequently that nearly all of her classmates signed up to read the tiny tome as a result. It was Pamela’s first brush with true power and it was intoxicating. Love affairs with The Hardy BoysNancy Drew and Trixie Belden soon followed. Before very long, a grand obsession with all things related to Sherlock Holmes ensued. Which is great for us because all these years later, we get to read Sherlock’s Home. I am very pleased to have Pamela here today. Welcome Pamela.

One thing I noticed about your book was the tiny details. The things most people breeze past without even realizing those are the tiny things that add together to make the book good, the characters real. It is one thing to say Uncle Oz had an encyclopedic knowledge of trivia but to repeatedly demonstrate it you either have to do lots of research or use only things you already know. So were you already into things like runes and wassail? And other little details like when the sheriff mentioned gem fingerprints? Personally, I have files of stuff I’ve ripped out of papers or magazines waiting for a chance to use them. What do you do? 

How does ‘both’ work for you?  Like you, I’m a jack-of-all trades, in my case with a seemingly endless repertoire of (virtually) useless information, but interesting, like the inclusion of the Runes.  I have several sets of runes, including Icelandic ones a friend brought me from her travels, and I play around with them. Other things, like the wassail, are just things I’m curious about.  I’m all about curiosity.  Sometimes I think it’s my middle name!  When you combine curiosity with a memory for pointless information, well, you can see the problem!  When I decided to include wassail in the manuscript, I had to admit I had only a vague idea of what wassail really is.  My next thought was that if I didn’t know, there were probably others who don’t know and might appreciate a spot of education!(like me) Oh, I too, have files of things I’ve torn out and saved, thinking “someday I may want to use this.” Here are three articles I’ve saved only recently:  1. Scientists reportedly discover gate to hell, 2. Higgs Boson particle may spell doom for the universe, and 3. Earthquakes turn water into gold.   Maybe sometime I’ll write a book about the “weird and unexplained,” but, in the meantime, Oz’s fascination with all things mystical, well, you never know where this information could turn up.

I think I read somewhere you have a tuxedo cat. Why the sphynx cats in the book? sphynx cat

Yes, I do have a tuxedo cat named Jake.  I really think in another life he was a dog because he acts like one.  He really does love to play ‘fetch,’ and will play tirelessly, bringing the ball back to me and dropping it at my feet, waiting eagerly for me to throw it again.  He also will drink out of the toilet if I forget to attend to the lid, and has an impressive vocabulary.  As for the Sphynx cats, wellremember that curiosity?  I wanted to include a cat in the book, the pair was quite by accident—one of the serendipitous decisions made along the way—and I really wanted to know about that particular breed of cat.  I might get one somedayor a Bengal, they intrigue me also.

Nell, or “Odds” could have just been a small crone-like older woman, but you were very specific. Do you know someone like Nell, with her condition?

I don’t know anyone with this condition.  But, Trimethylaminuria is real and seems like a bit of a living death to me. I tried to keep my facts untouched. I touched on aspects of this disease for plot advancement, but for fairly obvious reasons didn’t want to go into depth about it in a mystery cozy where the purpose for writing is, of course, primarily to entertain, although there is room for a bit of education there, I think.  My intention was to create a victim who behaved in a bizarre enough fashion that most people couldn’t tolerate her.  I wanted to do my part to turn that judgment around.  I wanted it to be someone with a reason for being the way that she was, a reason that wasn’t obvious.  I didn’t want a two-dimensional character, I wanted someone that eventually readers could, if not identify with, at least sympathize with and for which they could develop a little understanding.

Where did the name Waveline come from? There are only 38 people in the US with that name – I looked it up. 

Ah, I wondered if anyone would look at that name and question it.  It’s so cool that you took the time to look it up!  My ex-husband’s uncle was named Waveline.  Everybody called him Wavy.  Uncle Wavy.  The first time I heard it I thought it was so striking, so unusual, I filed it away for future reference.  In typical GIGO mode, garbage in/garbage out, I regurgitated that bit of info when it fit my plot and helped create a, hopefully, memorable character.  Davey was just an afterthoughtmore fun names for readers who like that sort of thing!  Which, is a tendency of mine that I guess I could expand upon.  As I wrote this book, indeed any of my books, I kept in the back of my mind, “how can I add value to this readthis book for my readers?”  If I can entertain, educate and expand the minds of my readers a little, that’s gold for me.  The fact is, that’s what I look for in a booka rollicking good time, a little educationand if I can have my understanding of something added towell, what more could I ask?

Sherlock, Davey, Finn, gobshite, bikkies…  I could have bought the coincidence of the three names which originally come from the same region being used together in an American book, but gobshite? I kept waiting for eejit or amadán.  Who’s from Ireland? 

Eejit..that might be in my NEXT book.  LOL  Wellmy ancestry is Irish, English, Scottish and German.  So, take your pick.  I’m so glad you asked me this question, because Finn taking on the persona of Bonzer was one of my favorite ‘bits’ from the book.  I wanted to differentiate her manner of speaking as Bonzer significantly from Finn’s everyday style.  With a fictional environment called Sherlock’s Home, the British Isles lingo seemed to be a natural.  I thought my readers might get a kick out of hearing the cadence of it and seeing Finn morph into this prickly, edgy character named Bonzer who deals handily with Wink, the rough-edged liquor store owner.

What author, living or dead, would you invite for dinner and conversation if you could?

Oh my.  Perhaps there would be two:  Pearl S. Buck, because I would like to hear about the time she spent in China as a child of missionaries and ask her how she turned that experience into fodder for something as stunningly impressive as The Good Earth.  The second author would be Lewis Carroll.  I know that supposedly he was rumored to have a close familiarity with opium, the un-credited source for some of his ‘Alice’ renderings.  But, the imagery drawn for that and Jabberwocky was pure delight.  I’m not a poet, but Jabberwocky rocked my socks.  I actually dedicated my first Sherlock’s Home book to Carroll, because he created such a vivid, unique world, he made me believe that I could do likewise.

Now three things I ask everybody…

  • What is your favorite food? Oh, I think I’m going to be horribly boring.  I’m a vegetarian, so believe it or not, my favorite foods are veggies.  I love Brussells sprouts, new potatoes with green beans, fresh, ripe tomatoes.  I knowI’m weird.  Sorry to be so lackluster.
  • What is your favorite TV show? Well, I don’t watch much television—I’m too busy writing!  But, I do make it a point to watch ‘Bones.’  Love those forensics!  I also watch ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ whenever I can.  It gives me hope to see those poor dancers twisting themselves into dance moves.
  • What is your favorite music? Oh, I don’t know… ‘Veggie, veggie fruit, fruit,’ from Disney World?  Ha!  I’m kidding, of course. I’m such a generalist when it comes to music.  It might be easier to say what I don’t like:  Heavy metal and Rap.  (shivers here)

Thank you so much for being here today, Pamela, and good luck with the book. I can’t wait for the next one. I do want you to know, I was disappointed the fruitcake recipe wasn’t in the back of the book. Before you go, is there anything else you would like to tell your readers or have them know about you?

Sorry about the fruitcake recipe.  But, you knowI’m getting ready to launch a Finn Fan Club Facebook page.  You never knowthat fruitcake recipe might just show up on it sometime.  Ohand the BabyCakesmusn’t forget the BabyCakes.  The Maney Brothers would be so disappointed…

sherlockBLURB

Life imitating art? That’s Finn Sherlock’s first bizarre thought when she stumbles across a dead body within the Civil War era hiding place inside Sherlock’s Home Mystery Bookstore. Thinking that it’s her gnome-like Uncle Oz costumed to play the part of a fortunetelling druid for ‘All Hallows’ Eve,’ she is relieved when she learns that the hooded figure is not her favorite uncle, but the town’s favorite outcast, Odds Bodkins.

Unfortunately, murder suspects abound due to the fact that the mystery bookstore and its adjoining 221b Bakery were the first stop on the Leapers Point’ Halloween circuit and any number of people were on the scene for the annual ‘Fright Night’ tour. More than that, Odds Bodkins was almost universally detested; far too many would agree that the assisted demise of the loathsome little witch was more treat than trickpossibly even a community service.

With a little help from Uncle Oz and her identical twin sister, Echo, Finn sets out to discover who amongst the congenial southern townsfolk had the audacity and plain bad manners to murder the contentious crone right under the Sherlock family noses. Was it the fire and brimstone preacher Willie Ping? ‘Blooming Idiots’ talented but slightly mental florist? Or what about fluffy nonagenarian Eula May Binkscan anybody really be that sugary sweet? But, when the local Sheriff, Wavy Davey, learns that it was Uncle Oz’s Halloween prop – a bona fide hangman’s noose – that was the murder weapon, there’s more heating up inside the 221b Bakery than just the ovens.

MY REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The premise isn’t new. Town’s least loved character is murdered so there are far too many suspects. But as they say, the devil’s in the details. It is the little details that make the book, the town, the business, the characters, so real. One by one, in and of themselves, you don’t really notice them but they are what makes the book stand out from others like it. Because face it, how many other cozies can you name with a bookstore or bakery or the town’s most despised character getting killed?  Uncle Oz is quite a character. He’s the guy you want on your team in a trivia match. He’s the one who comes up with new and catchy mystery book related names for the baked goods and drinks every day. And he is so endearing. He takes the ribbing his nieces give him about his small stature and bald head in his stride but when a certain lady seems to lose interest in him, he gets himself a toupee, lifts and a new wardrobe. He was my favorite character. The murderer is a shock but the author didn’t give us one of those out of left field solutions that some do. If you were reading carefully, paying attention to the little details, all the clues were there. This is a series I am really going to enjoy and I can’t wait for the next one. This one is definitely ♥♥♥♥♥

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