A Cozy Tribute To Elvis

When I was writing the third book of my cozy mystery series, “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,” I didn’t consciously think of modeling the story after the format of an Elvis Presley movie. But why not copy the best?

Elvis made 30 films from 1956 to 1969 (not counting the concert documentaries in 1970 and ’72). While he dreamed of acting in serious dramatic roles (he really showed his chops in “King Creole”), the studios and his agent locked him into romantic/fantasy flicks with thin plots and often weak songs.

But despite what critics may say about the artistic quality of the films, every movie Elvis were highly entertaining, made earned a profit and packed theaters. Small wonder the studios had him churn out three films a year.

So how does my book resemble an Elvis movie?

My series protagonist is Sandy Fairfax, a former teen idol in his 30′s who is charismatic, good looking, funny and smart. He loves women and they adore him. He has rabid fans, plays guitar, and can break your heart with a song.

Sounds like Elvis, doesn’t it?

Elvis sang several songs in his films. Sandy performs seven concerts aboard a cruise ship.

Elvis movies had pretty young women. My cast of secondary characters includes: Celeste, Sandy’s attractive sister; Cinnamon, his beautiful choreographer, and Helen Wheeler, one of Sandy’s former live-in girlfriends.

Elvis films have an antagonist, someone who dislikes the King and is out to defeat him, whether in a car race or to steal his girl. My book has a shipboard murderer. When Sandy starts sniffing around for clues, the killer has Sandy in his sights.

Elvis films had exotic settings. Sandy’s on board a cruise ship headed for the Bahamas.

Elvis always won the girl in his films. Sandy has his eye on a woman but she’s traveling with an old boyfriend. Will Sandy succeed in wooing her away?  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Elvis films often had a comic sidekick. Sandy has his biggest fan, Bunny McAllister, for comic relief as well a several oddball characters (who are also suspects!).

Elvis was a scrappy fighter and he generally threw a few punches in his films. Likewise, Sandy fights back when he’s in a sticky situation.

Of course no discussion of The King would be complete without Elvis impersonators. Yes, a couple of them show up in the ship’s Halloween costume gala.

In the best homage of all, each of the 22 chapter headers in my book is the name of a song that Elvis recorded.

So what is your favorite Elvis movie or song?




A Cozy Tribute To Elvis — 10 Comments

  1. A fun post about Elvis and your hero. Elvis remains my favorite singer of just about any style song. I had all his vinyl, now I have all his CDs. Picking a favorite song is like picking a favorite child, but I like Love Me Tender for his love songs and The Trilogy. I can’t think right now if it had another title. Three songs included were Dixie, His Truth is March On and, one more that I can’t remember. Too early in the morning and too late in life. I have it on CD. Liked In the Ghetto too. Ah well, the list could go on and on. I’ll bet your books are a bit hit and I wish you the best with them. Thanks for reminding me of Elvis this morning.

    • Velda, it’s always a good time to talk about Elvis. I have the American Trilogy on CD too. I should dig that out soon and play it. I plan on watching “King Creole” this weekend. A lot of talent in that man.

  2. I loved Elvis music. My favorite songs came out of a couple of his movies such as Blue Hawaii and Follow That Dream. I loved that song but perhaps it was because I had a dream I wanted to follow. Gotta love that talented man.

  3. Sandy, looks like your hands are full again with murder and those Elvis’ impersonators, but I’m sure you’ll survive for another caper(Let me be your Teddy Bear). Congrats Sally, I’m looking forward to the read. I enjoyed the post. augie

    • Thanks, Augie. A high school teacher in my town is also a professional Elvis tribute artist. I attended one of his outdoor concerts. I was seated in a lawn chair and he stood over me and sang in my face! Way cool.

  4. When I was a college freshman in East Texas, nine of us piled into one car and drove to Shreveport, LA, to see Elvis at the Louisiana Hayride. This was early in his career, but he was already very popular in the South. We sat on the first row and screamed and carried on like the young idiots we were, but he loved it and laughed and played mostly to us. I still adore “You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog” and the hip swiveling from that night. Afterward, we went backstage and met him. He chatted with us, signed autographs, and a couple of us were nervy enough to kiss him (yes, I was one & yes, it was). It was an adventure I’ll never forget.

  5. Nice morsel to whet the appetite for a nice Elvisy slice of glamour and fun. Thanx, Sally. It’s a must-read now for me. :)