Monthly Archives: August 2007

I Gotta Recommend This Gayle Roper Book!!!

Caught In A Bind is book three in this delightful series. As usual, Merrilee Kramer is lively, cute as a button, and full of endearing foibles. But the reason I HIGHLY recommend this book is the subtheme that looks into domestic violence. At one point tears sprang to my eyse, when a usually disrespectful teenage boy (who himself had been brought up in a home filled with violence) puts his arms around two little tikes just rescued from a scene where there mom was beaten to a pulp and comforts them.

The “who-dun’it” part is well written. The reader can’t firgure out, and has to wait till the end to find out why dead bodies are being dumped in cars. The book opens with a bang! The husband of Merry’s coworker, Edie Whatley, has gone missing along with $18,000, the price of the economy car which he just sold to an elderly couple for cash. The police believe he’s a thief. Merry and Edie know he’s not and are worried about him. To make matters worse, Merry’s job, as well as those of the entire crew at the news might be in jeopardy. The new owner of the paper has not made it known if he’ll keep the paper open. And the new owner’s sophisticated daughter, Delia is after Curt, Merry’s boyfriend. Delia owns a posh art gallery and is offering painter Curt Carlyle an exhibit and introductions to art bigwigs in New York City. This is something Merry can’t compete with, or so she thinks.

The plot keeps roiling and boiling until the end when all is revealed. Merry winds up running down a street as a speeding car tries to run her over. Author Gayle Roper returns again and again to the idea of “chosing well,” as Merry tells herself she may not have control of circumstances, but she can chose how she will respond to those circumstances. The book is witty, an intriguing mystery, a charming romp, and yet has incredible depth.


How I Get My Characters’ Names

Letters in AlphabetI have a computer file with names. First names, last names, men’s names and women’s names. I have a sub-file with ethnic names. When I see the ending credits on a movie or television production, I stay to the end looking for interesting names. Then I might mix up the first and last names, to get a bunch of new names.

I like to have fun with character names. I have an old edition of a baby name book that has in depth meanings of first names, long lists of nicknames, and lists of personages with the name. I like reading that book, like looking through it when I’m trying to come up with a name.

What I hate, absolutely hate is getting more than halfway through a story or novel (especially a novel, obviously because of its length) and realizing a name I’ve chosen isn’t working. That happened with the name of the southern evangelist in my work in progress (working title, The Angel’s Cache). I had him named Jamie Deveraux, and when Steeple Hill author Cheryl Wyatt graciously agreed to read my first chapter, she said the name wasn’t gender specific. Jamie spelled with an “ie” could be either a man or a woman. My evangelist is a strong male character, and I really needed a stronger male name.

Since my evangelist has his church in Baton Rouge, I Googled the Baton Rouge City Council web site and found one City Council member is named Wade. I like Wade.

Wesley “The Pup” Cannon, my grammatical watch-dog and partner in crime, who btw hails from Baton Rouge and my expert on all things southern, finally came up with a new last name: Landry. Wesley said, “In these parts here, if you throw a stone up, when it comes back down, more times than not, it’ll hit a Landry.”

So, the new name of my evangelist is Wade Landry. And His wife remains Garnet, but is now Garnet Landry.

Then I had to “find” all my Jamies and Deverauxs, and replace them with Wades and Landrys. Grrrr. That’s the part I hate the most.


Mystery Genre Originated W/Christian World View

Murder

 

I’ve read that the genre of Murder Mystery Fiction, Detective Stories, or “Who-Dun- Its” is being a creation of the Christian west. The history of the Murder Mystery Novel is that of solving a moral dilemma (a deadly crime) – and the guilty party, no matter how smart, is caught and punished.

The classic murder mystery novels of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers had a definite Christian world view. They firmly dealt in “right and wrong” and “good vs. evil.” These classic books were often set in an English country parish, or a city cathedral. They often had a pastor, parson, and/or deacon as a main character. In addition to her murder mysteries, Dorothy L. Sayers left letters reflecting her Christian worldview.

G. K. Chesterton, the noted English theologian, wrote the Father Brown mystery stories. One critic I’m aware of has pointed out that Chesterton’s Father Brown solves murders because he is a Christian. He was compelled by his Christian morality to hunt down the bad guys.

English mystery author P. D. James also presents the Christian world view of good vs evil in her novels. But her detectives present a darker view of the soul than Chesterton’s more cheerful Father Brown. Today, Anne Perry (a modern writer who’s mysteries are set in Victorian England) could be thought to carry the standard of Father Brown. Many of her characters search for the murderer simply because they have a Christian world view and must right a wrong. They’re Christian sense of morality drives them as sleuths.

A few mystery authors of note who have presented a Christian world view are: Isabelle Holland, with her sleuths, Rev. Claire Aldington and Sister Carol Anne O’Marie; Monica Quill who created the amateur sleuth, Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey; Charles Merrill Smith who created the “Rev. Randolph” mystery series with C. P. Randloph, and his ecclesiastical superior Bishop Freddie. There are many, many more of this type of classically written murder mystery with a Christian sleuth and a Christian world view. And of course, there is the murder mystery set in a medieval monastery, The Name of the Rose with Brother Adso of Melk.


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