Category Archives: Mystery

In Defense of Bess Marvin

As I’ve said many times before, I was a huge Nancy Drew fan when I was a middle-school reader. Nancy had it all and could do it all. This summer, since I own the first 55 of the originals, I re-read this precious and well-loved series.

And I came away disappointed. Not so much because of Nancy, although she can be a bit cloying to my adult sensibilities, but because of a character I have absolutely come to loathe: George Fayne. George, often touted by modern feminist writers for her traditional boys’ name and her bravery and athleticism, is, in short, a mean and horrible person. And she’s especially a mean and horrible person to her cousin, Bess Marvin.

So let’s talk about Bess for a bit. Bess is the girly-girl femme friend of the intrepid sleuth. She’s the one who is slightly plump, not as athletic as the others, and much more cautious. Let’s look at each of these traits, as they are depicted in the stories.

Bess is cautious. She’s also usually right about the danger. And yet her loving cousin, George, scorns her, scoffs at her, sneers at her, and shames her into doing things she doesn’t think are safe (and they usually aren’t.) If they’d just listen to Bess once in a while, they’d solve the mystery with a lot less danger.

Bess isn’t as athletic as George the Jock and Nancy the Exceptional at Everything, either. But you know what? Whenever they go swimming, or boating, or skiing, or horseback riding, or playing tennis, Bess is right there with them, keeping up. Does she live for it with the same competitive spirit the other two do? No. But she’s quite a competent athlete in her own right, if the story lines are anything to go by.

And, finally and most importantly, Bess is slightly overweight. The books always state that she’s trying to “lose a few pounds.” Get that: a FEW. Three? Five? The illustrations in the books show her to be just as slender as Nancy and George, so it can’t be more than that. But so what? What if it were fifty? Would that in any way justify the cruel teasing and fat-shaming her “loving” cousin inflicts upon her? I don’t think so.

Let’s take the 44th book of the series, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher, by way of an egregious example. On page 41, Bess remarks that she’s so very excited about their being in South America that she could burst. George, predictably, gets her dig in with this non sequitur: “Well, my dear fat cousin, that might be one way to lose some weight!” Again, towards the middle of the story, when the girls are sharing a meal with a Quechua elder, George admonishes her cousin, in front of others, not to eat so much in the thin mountain air, and according to story, gives her a “withering look.” Why not just a friendly reminder to the group in general? No, George intentionally shames Bess.

The worst, though, happens on page 57. The girls are out sleuthing and stop at a hotel for a lunch that includes slices of homemade bread. That’s when this happens:

As Bess reached for her third piece, George grabbed her cousin’s arm. “No, you don’t,” she said. Meekly, Bess put the slice of the bread back into the basket and finished her salad. (Emphasis mine.)

Honestly, that’s the point at which I wished Bess had taken her free hand, punched George right in the face, and said, “Shut it, jerkface. I’ll eat what I want, and you’ll have nothing whatsoever so say about it, or there’s more where that came from. Got it? Good. Now pass me the damn bread.” Alas, it never happens.

So here’s to Bess Marvin, the concerned, loyal, and kind friend of Nancy Drew. She doesn’t get enough credit for being capable and competent in her own right, and it’s all because her cousin George belittles her and treats her like dirt. Jerkface.

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Diana Rivers, sleuth, does it Again!

Diana Rivers does it Again!

STOP PRESS!

What is it with this female? Not being content enough after having a hectic and exciting time solving, The Assassin’s Village murder and mystery in Cyprus, she decided to take a holiday in lush tropical Malaysia with her husband, Steve. (He’s her long-suffering, patient soul-mate and lover.)

The pair checked into their country plantation hotel, luxurious and peaceful, the perfect place to relax and unwind you might think. All is going well until she is asked to take a look at some private memoirs in the possession of the hotel owner, the mysterious Miss Chalcot…

…At first Diana hesitates. After all she is on holiday and both she and Steve deserve a rest…but not for long. Miss Chalcot whets Diana’s appetite for mystery when she hints at past events; skirmishes with insurgent terrorists, illicit love and were certain deaths, murder or misadventure?

Diana meets, Children of The Plantation; a spooky child, a family saga set in 1950’s and 1960’s Malaysia leading to the present , mystery, unrequited love, unexplained deaths, and illicit sex – what more can our heroine ask for?

Children Of The Plantation

Prologue

Opening the kitchen door, she spotted a vixen standing near the refuse bin. Hermione clapped her hands, and it shot through the hedge at the bottom of the garden.

Hermione’s heart was thudding in her breast as she considered what next to do. Casting a look around, she gave thanks that the clouds scudding overhead made it a dark night. This had to be done in complete privacy.

Giving herself a mental shake, she crossed the damp grass to the shed and picked up a spade. A clod of earth still clung to the sharp blade from where she had been digging in her vegetable patch earlier that afternoon. It seemed such a long time ago now. She paused, still not completely certain she was doing the right thing. Making up her mind, she walked over to the newly turned earth.

Children of The Plantation

The air smelt fresh after the rain shower, and a light breeze blew the mixed garden scents her way while she dug. The hole was to be small but deep, especially as she had just driven the fox off. Satisfied, she stood back and peered down into the soft loamy material, a sorry place for such a pathetic bundle.

Sick at heart, but knowing they had no choice, Hermione laid down her spade and walked back into the kitchen. She picked up the tightly wrapped package and carried it outside; it weighed no more than a couple of pounds as she gently laid it down into the hole.

Covering it with fresh earth, she scattered pebbles around and knelt on the grass. Had there been any other choice? Whatever were they going to tell him when the time came?

About the Book.Children of The Plantation will be first published as an eBook and later as a paperback by Topsails Charter. As a special lead-in price (eBook) and a Thank You to my friends and followers it will be offered to you first for $0.99c for the first month. All I ask is (when you’ve bought your copy) if you have the time to please write me a fair review. Thanks!

Faith Mortimer

About the Author.

Faith Mortimer was born in England. Her father was in the Royal Air Force and from the tender age of five, Faith learned the meaning of travel and living in different parts of our beautiful world. Faith now spends her time between England and Cyprus where she lives with her husband. She’s filled her life with different careers, Registered nurse, entrepreneur and writer. She loves the outdoors, acting and writing. She has written two other bestselling novels and a short story collection. Visit Faith Mortimer’s website http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com/for more information.

 

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A King in a Court of Fools – new in humorous fiction

Title: A King in a Court of Fools

 Author: Larry Enright (author of the best seller, Four Years from Home)

 Release date: First published as a serial novel from April 2011 through August 2011. Paperback and eBook release – 09/10/2011

Purchase information: Available in eBook for 99¢ and paperback for $10.95. Click for details to Purchase or sample A King in a Court of Fools.

 Genre: Humorous Fiction, nostalgia, coming of age.

 Length: 44,000 words

 Appropriate for ages: 10 to 91

Synopsis: A King in a Court of Fools begins with a book — The Book of Tom — a journal writing assignment from Tom Ryan’s sixth-grade teacher, Sister Jeanne Lorette. That’s what she called it anyway. Tom called it punishment. In it, he chronicles the adventures of the Caswell Gang, a group of siblings and friends with two things in common — their love of adventure and their allegiance to Tom, their king.

The 1950s book was misplaced a long time ago, and all the children have since grown up, but Tom’s youngest brother, Harry still remembers it and retells for us one of its many stories in a nostalgic, heartwarming, and humorous way that brings the 1950s to life. The serial published weekly and now available in book form, was followed by thousands and received an overwhelming positive response. It appeals to children and adults alike and will have you wishing for adventure, too.

About the book: A King in a Court of Fools, originally published as a serial novel, is Larry Enright’s second published work. Read by thousands each week, it is humorous, nostalgic fiction about kids growing up in the 1950s and has been already enjoyed by ages ten through ninety-one. It is available in both eBook and paperback from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. Click for details to Purchase or sample A King in a Court of Fools.

About the author: Larry Enright was born to Irish Catholic first-generation immigrants and raised in Pittsburgh. After college, he moved to the Philadelphia area where for the past 40 years he has filled his life with many careers including musician, teacher, programmer, researcher, and writer. He has written three other novels, including the best-selling Four Years from Home. Visit Larry Enright’s site.

 

 

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