Please join me in welcoming author Elaine Faber to the blog to talk about using historical facts in a novel – like her historical cozy mystery Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings!
MRS. ODBODDY’S DESPERATE DOINGS by Elaine Faber
SERIES: Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries #4
GENRE: Historical/WW2 Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Elk Grove Publications
RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2022
After falling from a tree, Agnes’s behavior and delusions escalate from ‘merely eccentric,’ to ‘near mayhem’. Still seeking a permanent home for a displaced carnival tiger, she goes to unthinkable extremes in an effort to prevent city hall from destroying the big cat. When Agnes witnesses a well-known citizen commit burglary, and the church’s beloved Good Shepherd painting goes missing, she becomes obsessed with exposing the art thief. But, questions arise whether the extent of her bizarre behavior is due to a ‘brain bleed’ from her head injury, or is something amiss in her medical treatment?
As WWII rages across the Pacific, dealing with victory gardens and rationing at home doesn’t stop Agnes from fighting the war from the home front. From city hall, to the hot seat at Newbury’s Police Department, and finally to a San Francisco mansion, Agnes pursues injustice to save a tiger and expose a shocking conspiracy at the highest levels of Newbury’s elite society.
Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings is a hilarious WWII mystery-adventure you’ll not soon forget.
Using Historical Facts in a Fiction Novel
by Elaine Faber, author of Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings
In the novel, Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings, I’ve included her fictional involvement in various historical events and facts to supplement the plot.
After falling from a tree and suffering a concussion, Mrs. Odboddy has hallucinations. Thus, no one believes her when she witnesses well known Dr. Schatzman stealing paintings from neighboring houses. Sure that the doctor will try to steal a famous Reep painting, Agnes sets up a sting operation when a renowned artist, Edward Reep, comes to Newbury.
Edward Reep, a California resident and popular water color artist, became an acclaimed photographer and combat artist for the US Army during WWII. Widely publicized in newspapers and magazines, Reep’s poignant war-time depictions made him all the rage with the public before and after the war.
The Good Shepherd, painted by German painter, Bernhard Plockhorst, is stolen from Mrs. Odboddy’s church, The Evening Star and Everlasting Light. Convinced the conniving Dr. Schatzman is also behind the church incident, she heightens her efforts to bring him to justice. Bernhard Plockhorst is most famous for his painting of The Good Shepherd shown with a staff in one hand and a lamb in the other. His image of the face of Christ is the most accepted rendering of Christ’s likeness in the Christian Church. Though few will recognize his name, copies of his paintings are in practically every Christian church and many USA homes.
When a Japanese submarine attacks a freighter near Newbury, fearing an imminent invasion, Agnes and her neighbors rally and pull and all-nighter vigilance at city hall. The date and location of the submarine attach were altered somewhat in our story for purposes of involving the characters, but in fact, in 1942, the Japanese navy dispatched submarines to the USA along the western coastline from Oregon to the Aleutians. Including other incidents, they successfully shelled a lighthouse near Vancouver Island, WA, and torpedoed and shelled a freighter off Cape Flattery, WA. The freighter was towed to safety with no loss of life.
Throughout the story, Mrs. Odboddy goes to extreme lengths to find a permanent home for Shere Khan, a displaced carnival tiger. During WWII, many USA zoos closed due to personnel shortages, but mostly due to the lack of adequate food supply needed to sustain the larger carnivores. Poor nutrition led to the death of many large animals, and many more were euthanized due to inadequate and limited food supply. During the war years, with zoo closures and supply issues, an existing zoo would not have taken a displaced carnival tiger. Shere Khan’s plight and Mrs. Odboddy’s determination to find him a permanent home, is therefore, based in fact. Never fear, Mrs. Odboddy’s determination is mighty and she’s not one to give up on a just cause!
Though home front USA citizens knew little about amphetamines during the 1940’s, Hitler widely distributed Benzedrine and Pervitin to Germany’s battlefield soldiers to enhance stamina, endurance, and performance. Likely many war atrocities were committed due to the effects of enhanced drug use. Agnes’s extreme and bizarre behavior is largely attributed to her concussion, but could there be an even more sinister reason for eccentric Agnes’s actions? What might the local doctor have done, when he realizes Agnes suspects him of involvement in expensive art work theft? The exciting conclusion will keep you turning pages in his hysterical historical fiction.
For an exciting romp through WWII with eccentric, elderly Mrs. Odboddy, you can’t miss with Mrs. Odboddy’s Desperate Doings.
Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove, CA, with her husband and two feline companions. She is a member of Sisters in Crime (SIC), Elk Grove Writer’s Guild (EGWG), and Northern California Publishers and Authors (NCPA). Elaine volunteers with the American Cancer Society. She has published nine cozy mystery novels, and an anthology of cat stories. Her short stories are also published in 22 independent anthologies. Visit her website at mindcandymysteries.com.
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