|Photo credit: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/nostalgia/agatha-christies-mysterious-disappearance-continues-10080204|
For the past ninety years, a real-life mystery has intrigued fans of the Guinness Record-holding best-selling author of all time. For eleven days in 1926, the Queen of Mystery herself, Agatha Christie, disappeared without a trace.
Most mystery lovers have heard this tale at one time or another, but if you haven't, the story goes like this: Thirty-six-year-old Agatha argued with her husband the evening of December 3rd, 1926, over his infidelity. After their argument, he left the house to spend the weekend with his mistress. Agatha put her seven-year-old daughter to bed around 9:30 PM, came down the stairs, walked out the door, got in her car, and promptly disappeared. She left her secretary a letter saying she went to Yorkshire, but her car was found abandoned in an old quarry in Surry.
Over the days that followed, a reward was offered, and a massive manhunt launched. One thousand police officers, 15,000 volunteers along with Dorothy L. Sayers, Arthur Conan Doyle and a spirit medium he hired all searched for Dame Agatha to no avail.
Finally, eleven days after her disappearance, Agatha was recognized in the Swan Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire. The kicker? She registered under her husband's mistress's name.
So why did she do it? Although two doctors diagnosed her as being in a fugue state of amnesia due to Agatha having no recollection of how she got to the hotel, several other theories persist.
One theory suggests that this was the ultimate mystery plot and a possible cover-up for a plan to frame her husband for her murder! How Gone Girl! While I think this is far-fetched, who can argue that it's an incredible mystery plot?
Another scenario is that Agatha's disappearance was a well-orchestrated publicity stunt with the bonus of making her philandering husband sweat. Nothing like a weekend tryst interrupted by a missing wife! This solution, either taken together (publicity and payback) or seperately, comes with one important question--would she do this to her young daughter? Not knowing her personally, I can't answer that one, but as a mom myself, I would like to think she wouldn't.
The conspiracies for what happened during those eleven days are endless (Aliens!), but in my mind, I'm going with the doctors' diagnosis brought about by the stress of her husband's infidelity, her mother's death earlier that same year, and literary burnout.
Although...there is a website that claims Agatha also dropped a letter to the Deputy Chief Constable of the Surry Police stating that she felt concerned for her safety. So, maybe she was setting her husband up?
The world will never know. What are your thoughts? Leave us a comment below and let us know - and for fun list your favorite Agatha novel! Mine is And Then There Were None.
P.S. This is my first post here at Inkspot, and I hope you enjoyed it. Deadly Dog Days, the first book in my Dog Days mystery series comes out November 8th. If you're a pet cozy mystery fan, add it on Goodreads or pre-order on all major retail sites!
Until next time, happy reading!
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Monday, February 22, 2016
- Book Publishing Secrets: A fun interview about my path to publication and my advice to other writers. "Once you sell your work to a publisher, you give up both creative and marketing control. In return, you get marketing and editorial expertise, a little prestige, and a potential path onto the shelves of major booksellers. If you decide to self publish, you need to be more than a writer. Successful self publishers are small business owners who spend as much time editing, formatting, and marketing their books as they do writing them. It’s all about trade-offs."
- Beyond the Books: An interview with Kate Davidson, the yoga teacher/sleuth of my series: "Who could have predicted that three hundred pages after being attacked by a Chihuahua, I’d have come to peace with a repressed memory from my childhood and reconnected with a long-lost family member? And I even ended up with a new way to torture Tiffany! Nothing is more fun than that."
- It's Not Always a Murder: An article about Green Lake Park--a pivotal location in Karma's a Killer. The photos alone are worth a look! "In the summer, the area near the lake’s shore is smothered with lily pads; its surface, dotted by boats. The path around its circumference is crowded with thousands of locals who flock to it each day. What better place to plot murder!"
- Read Your Writes: An article about my dog, Tasha, and the unique friendship she has with several local crows. "I still don’t know what magical connection that first crow has with my dog, but I think it’s lifelong, in both animals. I’ll never look at crows the same way again."
- Straight from the Author's Mouth: An interview about publishing, priorities, and the business aspects of writing. "I write for three blogs, I’m on social media, I book blog tours, I do signings, and I attend conferences. I’m out wherever I can be, however I can be. I’ve yet to see a correlation of any single activity with sales, so instead I focus on having fun with whatever I’m doing."
- The Serious Reader: What kind of yoga teacher writes about murder? Most of my readers don’t practice yoga, which isn’t surprising. Reading immerses us in worlds we might otherwise never experience. I write murder mysteries, but I don’t expect my readers to be killers, either. ;-)
- Island Confidential: An interview about writing, character development, and yoga classes from hell. Even experienced yoga teachers sometimes teach the class from hell. The class in which everything goes wrong. You say right when you mean left; you say big toe when you mean bicep. You step on students’ hands and cell phones go off during Savasana. Then you look down to realize—or in my case, a student tells you—that your pants are not only unzipped, they are also on inside out.
- Blogger News Network: An interview about writing and creativity: "I get my most creative ideas outdoors while I’m walking or playing with my German shepherd, Tasha. I suspect the combination of fresh air, exercise, and being with the love of my life all conspire to get my creative juices flowing. Besides, you meet a lot of crazy people when you’re attached to the leash of an unruly, hundred-pound German shepherd. Sometimes, you just want to kill them."
- Kings River Life Magazine: Detailed interview about the themes in Karma's a Killer and the life of a writer. And a fantastic review! "Despite the complex issues facing animal shelters and rescues, the novel never becomes too dark due to the wit and humor of the dialogue. The strongest attribute of this very engaging and smartly-plotted mystery series, though, is how the author successfully balances animal rights with dynamic human relationships."
PS--all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available! Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com. Thanks for reading!
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Today (Wednesday as I write this) I had one of those weird writing days in which I got no writing accomplished. So let's talk about this--distractions. Especially social media distractions. Am I totally off the wall when I say that social media can suck the souls out of us?
Yes? No? Maybe?
All I know is that when it comes to doing the author thing, social media is mandatory. We need to be extroverts -- at least on social media if not in real life. And I don't mind this, in a way. I kind of like communing with people through Facebook and Twitter.
The problem is when I go nutty with it. Today was one of those days. Here's the context: I'm a contributor in a book project called EIGHT MYSTERY WRITERS YOU SHOULD BE READING NOW, which includes a sneak peek (yay!) of WHISPERS IN THE MIST coming out in August. It's a great project, and I'm honored I was asked to participate.
This week promotion for Eight Mystery Writers exploded. We've got two guest blog posts up on premiere mystery blogs (Jungle Reds and Femmes Fatales), a Facebook party with giveaways and special guest Hank Phillippi Ryan, free days on Amazon this weekend to promote the heck out of, a new Facebook book page, a #mysterious8 Twitter hashtag we're bandying about.
There's just a lot of coordinating and social media posting and word-spreading to do everywhere. Here's one example of coordination. Isn't it cute? I'm no graphic designer but I pat myself on the back for whipping up this banner for the Facebook book and event pages.
I'm curious, are there any readers or aspiring novelists reading this post? If so, I'm here to say that I and a lot of my writer pals are amazed that we get our books written!
I'm a tad distractible to begin with, so when a promotional period comes around, I'm likely to take to social media like a fiend. Something takes over my brain. My thoughts skitter about on the surface of things: gotta do a Facebook post, oh gotta retweet, oh gotta join the Jungle Red Writers conversation, gotta post the Facebook party announcement EVERYWHERE, gotta promote a blog post ...
I'm convinced that the brain on social media is a different brain that the brain on writing. I'm talking brain patterns, synaptic firings, everything. When I'm writing, I'm deep in my creative process. There's no turbulence. It's the deep ocean compared to the choppy surface of social-media brain.
I end up feeling spazzy and frenetic. Yet, I can't stop. All of a sudden it's noon, and I barely remember the previous four hours. (Check out this funny video from the television show "Portlandia.")
It's as if my brain succumbs to an addictive drug. Even if I manage to wrench myself away from social media, I'm still pretty useless because withdrawal sets in. I find myself popping back in to check on comments, or retweet one of the other Eight Mystery Writers's tweets, or whatever. I keep checking and re-checking. (P.S. The seven other contributors? Fantastic writers all. What a joy to find new authors to read, am I right?)
Please tell me I'm not the only one!
Today, the only way I could fully disengage was to leave the house. As luck would have it, a friend called. I was all over meeting up with him for happy hour. Get me out of here!
I'm not usually this bad, I swear. Today was just one of those days. Tomorrow I'll be better, I promise.
Do you get stuck in technology loops sometimes? What do you do to get out of them? Is it just a matter of becoming better at compartmentalizing and sticking to schedules? Or do you think the brain does succumb to something?
Monday, February 15, 2016
The genesis of this story is something that has been bubbling under the surface since my childhood. In the quiet Midwestern University town I grew up in, a mother killed one of her children. What made this extra scary was that after killing one of her three children, she woke a second child to ask for help in killing the third.
I was about ten when this all happened. Grown-ups talked about it in hushed voices and stopped talking about it when kids came into the room. We still heard about it, but I doubt what we heard was all that accurate. To give you an idea of what my home life was like, it had never occurred to me that a mother would hurt her child. Mothers were the source of comfort and care and love. The idea that a mother could be anything else was terrifying. Over the years, I’d think about it and wonder what it would have felt like to be the kid who was asked to help. That was terrifying, too.
A lot of that wondering went into creating the character of Amanda Sinclair, heroine of Cover Me in Darkness. Like the case from my childhood, a mother killed a child and sought help from a second child to kill a third. Unlike the case from my childhood, Amanda’s mother was caught up in a cult-like religious group called Children of the Greater God or COGG.
When Amanda’s mother commits suicide in the mental ward where she’s been locked up for the past decade, Amanda isn’t surprised. But when she looks through the personal belongings left behind, it seems her death may be related to the upcoming parole hearing for COGG leader Patrick Collier. Amanda must dig into the past and expose her own secrets as well as her mother’s to get to the truth.
To write this book, I’m definitely digging into my dark side. It’s always been there. I doubt I would have been as fascinated by a murder as a ten-year-old otherwise. How about you? Do you have a creepy side? Is there something from your childhood that makes you want to take a closer look at it?
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Grove Cleveland was President of the country, which now proudly featured thirty-eight stars on its
Textile mills filled downtown Amesbury, and boardinghouses full of mill girls from New Hampshire farms or western Massachusetts villages kept the mills running. The news in early April wasn't good for the bustling town.
The world-famed carriage industry was in shambles after many of the factories burned to the ground on Carriage Hill one night. Midwife Carroll finds herself in the middle of the arson investigation. Here's a draft of my news article.
Local Quaker Nabs ArsonistArea midwife Rose Carroll apprehended a local man attempting to set the Friends Meetinghouse aflame Sunday morning.
The Chronicle has learned that Carroll, twenty four, ran from the worship service after she deduced the identity of the man, Stephen Hamilton, whom she thought was the Carriage Fire culprit. She’d planned to go directly to the police station to inform them. Instead, she caught Hamilton red-handed starting a fire at the back of the thirty-year-old wooden structure on Friend Street.
She raised the alarm within, and members of the church joined her in putting out the fire and restraining Hamilton, son of mill owner Cyrus Hamilton. Famed poet John Greenleaf Whittier assisted in the effort.
Will young Hamilton also be charged with setting the Carriage Fire? Detective Kevin Donovan was close-mouthed about the investigation. “Miss Carroll is to be commended for her insight and bravery,” he offered instead.
Readers: What do you think? Did Stephen set the big fire, or? What else do you know about 1888 history?
Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries from Midnight Ink, among other series. The first book, Delivering the Truth, releases April 8 and is available for preorder wherever books are sold. You can find her at edithmaxwell.com, on Facebook, and elsewhere.
Monday, February 8, 2016
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Then, the dark clouds part. The light shines. The music plays. I know just what to do. It’s simple, really. Very, very, simple.