As I was contemplating the next Shandra Higheagle Mystery, I thought I needed to take her out of Huckleberry and away from the reservation to not have critics saying there are too many murders in the ski resort or on the reservation.
Then there was a timely blog post at Mystery Readers.org about small town cops, which had me thinking about my small town amateur sleuth.
While we all know small towns have a lower rate of murders, the small town atmosphere is what makes placing a mystery there so enticing. My character, Shandra Higheagle knows many of the local people. Her conversations are much like that of Miss Marple in the Agatha Christie books. She doesn’t wander about in an apparent aimless way asking questions like Miss Marple, but she does use the knowledge of the people in Huckleberry or the Reservation to learn the information that helps her, along with her dreams, unravel the murders.
From the blog post on small town murders, it seemed readers are willing to put up with an unusual amount of people being knocked off in a small area if you give proper reasons for the murders and give them a good test to their detective skills.
After reading the post, I moved the next book back to Huckleberry and the crime and suspects came to me like a barrage of hungry dogs. (No offense, Sheba). Putting my story back in the town I knew, with people I knew, and using one of the scenarios I’d already set up in previous books, I couldn’t wait to get started on this book.
The only thing eluding me now is the title. All the other books in the series, I had the title before I started writing. But this one is still waiting to come to me. I’m thinking Fatal Fall, because the body is found at the bottom of the stairs, and the word fall could work into the premise of the story. But I could also use Fatal Tale, as the dead person is telling her memoirs to a ghost writer. So who knows. It may end up something completely different. 😉
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9 thoughts on “Staying Small Town by Paty Jager”
I don’t think I’d like to live in Huckleberry, but I’m happy to read about Shandra’s next mystery there. 🙂
I love small town mysteries and I love Shandra Higheagle, too.
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Hi Skye, I’m glad you like small town mysteries and are enjoying the Shandra Higheagle books. Thanks for commenting!
I studied Native American literature in college, and I want to relocated West, Pay; therefore, your Shandra is the perfect protagonist.
I enjoy small town mysteries, too.
Nice to hear so many people enjoy small town mysteries. Thanks for stopping in, Kathleen!
Both of my series are set in small towns usually. Fun to write about.
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I think the small town atmosphere makes for the best read and mystery. They are fun to write. And I enjoy your books.
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