Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Unhappy Golfer

  From 1935:
The happy golfer
Finds with glee
The shave
That suits him
To a tee
Burma Shave

Pub date:  Darned If You Do will be available in bookstores on February 3, 2015.

The weather the past few days has been spectacular, cool and sunny.  I played golf on Saturday – and played about the worst game I’ve played all year.  Couldn’t get any distance on my drive, couldn’t putt, I don’t know what the problem was.  I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to get out there again before the snow flies to see if this was a one-time thing or if my game has vanished.

Okay, all you book titlers, here I come again, looking for a title. I have the next Betsy Devonshire mystery pretty much plotted out. I'm calling it, for now, Ebenezer's Christmas Yarn. It's set in Excelsior's Old Log Theater, an actual repertory theater in the town. Very peculiarly, I wanted to write about the Old Log changing hands as the original owner wants to retire - and that's what is really happening! But my story has the new owner of the theater, playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the opening performance of "A Christmas Carol - The Musical," dying on stage. (In real life, the new owner is fine being cast as victim, and his wife thinks it’s hilarious.)  In my story, on the second night, the actor playing Marley's Ghost dies on stage with exactly the same symptoms. The play closes and it is discovered the victims were poisoned with nicotine.

The needlework elements of the story are more background than central to the plot, though one piece of needlework, a design for a Christmas tree ornament, proves an important clue to the solution. My sleuth, Betsy Devonshire, is an "angel;" that is, she invests money to put the show on. She also plays Mrs. Cratchett on stage. Godwin DuLac plays the older Cratchett son, Jill Larson plays the youthful Scrooge's fiancee, Connor is a stage hand and also understudy as Ghost of Christmas Present.  The Monday Bunch does the costuming and also organizes a drive to make ornaments for the huge Christmas tree in the lobby (which are to be sold as a fund-raiser for the theater). Miserly financier Joe Mickles also invests in the show, and actually winds up as understudy for Scrooge.

Is this enough information for one or more of you to come up with an alternate title?


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like a fun Christmasy story, Monica--unless you happen to be one of the victims. I'm not going to venture a title idea since I was recently struggling with the title for my Superstition Mystery #2, and although I came up with possibilities I still don't know what it'll be.

Betty Hechtman said...

Great plot line! I'm in the same boat title wise, trying to come up with one for the next crochet mystery. Good luck.

llk10 retired said...

I have no suggestions for a title, but I am happy you are using The Old Log as a setting. Thrilled the new owners are continuing the tradition of Don Stolz and his family. How dare Don retire. He is only in his nineties.

Anonymous said...

What sort of needlework is in the ornament - cross stitch, needlepoint, blackwork, bargello?

Monica Ferris said...

The ornament is counted, but instead of cross stitch, it's done in smyrna - kind of like an asterisk. The evergreen part is regular DMC and the ornaments are in different colored metallics. Stunning! I'll try to get a picture to post.

Monica Ferris said...

Ilk 10 - Don Stolz has been the heart and soul of Old Log, and it's going to be different with him gone. OTOH, the current play out there is a "doo wop" feature called Life Could Be A Dream which I am going to go see.