How the year flies. Hard to believe 2017 is already a quarter past. Soon (but not soon enough) it’ll be time for put up the Christmas decorations again! Yes, I’m a Christmas junkie. I wouldn’t mind noelling all year long.
Meanwhile, in the first part of this year I was preparing for a talk I gave March 28 titled “Thou Shall Not Kill: A Mystery Writer Looks at Sin and Redemption.” The lecture was part of the annual University Series, an adult education program held in Lent at 12 Catholic parishes in L.A. and Ventura Counties. I did a great deal of research on the topic and a friend help set up a PowerPoint presentation for me.
In the talk, I started by explaining the legal definition of murder. I looked at the Old Testament prohibitions on murder and murders in the Bible. And interesting fact is that according to Jewish law, in a murder case two or more witnesses were needed to convict a suspect—the testimony of one person wasn’t sufficient. This no doubt kept malcontents from sending innocent persons up the river.
I also discussed the psychological aspects of evil, why people commit crime, Satan, original sin, and the dark side of Nancy Drew (and you thought she was perfect). I ended by examining the worldviews of the mystery subgenres.
Cozy mysteries are somewhat similar in outlook to Christian faith. In cozies, a “perfect” society of routine and order is disrupted by the presence of evil (murder). By solving the crime, harmony is once more restored. God created a paradise in Genesis. Sin arrived, and the rest of the Bible describes how God restores harmony between him and humans until Revelation, when a new perfect world arrives.
About 33 attended my talk and response was overwhelmingly positive. I’m glad I gave it, but the lecture took a lot of time away from my writing.
Now that the class is over, it’s full steam ahead on my next book, a hybrid of sorts: cozies meet the Cold War. It’s 1967 and a spy agency recruits an actress in a small town to help with a mission while she’s also trying to solve a murder.
My other writing project this year is a short story. My publisher is producing an anthology of stories from the Cozy Cat Press authors. I have in mind a tale with my series character, Sandy Fairfax. He’s a guest star on a children’s TV show and the puppeteers have something wicked up their sleeves.
I’m still blogging monthly at Ladies of Mystery and writing the Roots of Faith column for the Acorn Newspapers.
Something new this year is that I’ll be selling and signing my books from noon to 1 p.m. Sat., April 22 at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the USC campus. The Friends of the Moorpark Library has chartered a bus, so I will be traveling stress free.
Looks like a busy year ahead.