The Nosy Parkers Mystery series is right up my alley, and I’m delighted today to welcome author Debra E. Marvin back to the blog!
Debra E. Marvin is a member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, a Grace Awards Judge, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She’s one of the founders of Inkwell Inspirations Blog, and is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction and contracted with Barbour Publishing. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University in upstate NY, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends.
Her new book, The Case of the Clobbered Cad, is currently on tour with Singing Librarian Books!
Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls’ Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until…
Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, the same would-be lothario she’d hoped never to see again.
As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to trust.
1. We reference “The Girl Detective” but we never actually use her name! You know who I’m talking about though, don’t you?
2. The book is set in 1956. Can you guess why I chose that particular year? Go ahead. You won’t offend me!
3. Heather’s first trip abroad is to the U.K. Sixty years later, Debra made her first trip abroad and was greeted in the Edinburgh airport by a lovely customs agent with a broad Scottish accent. (Debra grinned like an eejit!)
4. The Case of the Clobbered Cad was originally set in Old Sturbridge Village because I wanted to visit there. The heroine was a history major doing an internship. When I made the last minute decision to buy a ticket to Scotland, I asked my publisher if she minded if I changed the setting! She loved the idea!
5. Like Heather, my grandfather was Scottish. (though mine was born in the U.S. to a Scottish immigrant family). He insisted I was “Scots t’ the backbone and prood of it.” What a thrill to be able to visit the village where his my great-grandparents called home.
6. I visited the Archeology Department at the University of Edinburgh and went inside the archives room. If you read the book, you’ll understand why that was so important! (Though in 1956, the setting was completely different!)
7. I actually stayed on both of the Edinburgh streets used as ‘home addresses’ for two of my characters.
8. Some retired policemen and professors answered my questions, including a gentleman with an OBE. You do know what that means, don’t you?
9. Lisa Richardson, author of The Counterfeit Clue designed the covers!
10. While my earlier published works have been sweet romances, mysteries are my first love and I hope to take Heather elsewhere in Scotland and Ireland.
The Case of the Clobbered Cad is my first straight-up mystery. While I’ve added some mystery and suspense to previously published historical romance novellas, I was eager to jump into this and see if all those fifty years of reading mysteries would pay off. Mystery is my favorite genre, and I’m a plotter, not a pantser. Mysteries rather beg for organization! My original story idea was a heroine with a history degree who interns at Sturbridge Village. (A good excuse to finally visit Sturbridge!)
Yet…there I was last August telling my editor at Journey Fiction that it was ‘too bad’ I wasn’t writing a story set in Scotland because I’d just booked a trip there for October. Clever woman that she is, she simply said, why not change it? So simple! Scotland became a huge blank slate for plotting and I eventually settled on the University of Edinburgh’s impressive history and architecture departments. Targeted research included conversations with retired professors about the department and the 1950s era.
Like many historical authors, I tend toward the obsessive when it comes to research. I’d longed to go to Scotland since like forever but my goal was to SOAK IT UP by watching and exploring. We picked a few places we wanted to see and left our plans just a big loose. I asked my travel partner if she minded a side trip to the university. Imagine my surprise when she told me she’d made plans to meet a young friend of hers…who was a student at the university…and happened to be an architecture major. That, dear reader, is how I managed to get inside the university’s archive room where I had a chance to see ‘the murder weapon’ used in The Case of the Clobbered Cad!
GIDDY. YES I WAS GIDDY!
The truth is, the whole trip was beyond incredible, and nothing can beat living like a local (we stayed in homes using AirBnB, and took public transportation everywhere). I soaked up every moment and every detail for the firsthand experience that peppered my story. I plotted, wrote, dug into more details and maps and used every bit of online resources I could find. I’ve never been so sad to finish writing a book, because it was like saying goodbye to Edinburgh all over again! I hope readers who’ve visited Scotland feel the same way, and readers who haven’t will want to visit.