Pumpkin Pie, Anyone?
As I write this, Thanksgiving is almost exactly six months off. It’s on my mind today because I feature two Thanksgiving scenes in my sixth book in the Nailed It Home Reno series, Snared by the Snake, which will be released in mid-June. One holiday feast is a scene that occurs at the beginning of the story. It includes Rowena Summerfield, the series protagonist, her daughter and partner in the rehab business, Ro’s boyfriend, Val’s live-in boyfriend, Ro’s partner solving murders, and his guest.
Ro is reluctant to participate in this get-together because she’s still getting over a recent blow-up she had with her sometimes partner in homicide investigations and her boss. At the end of Book 5, Nuts and Bolts, they decided not to include her when they confronted the murderer she helped identify. It was for her own protection, which part of her accepts, but the other part thinks they used her as bait. Which they did. At the last minute, she decides to attend this dinner because her daughter has worked hard to put it together.
Have you ever felt this way about a Thanksgiving or other friends and family get-together? When I was a kid, there was no decision to be made. You went with your parents to the home of whatever relative was hosting. I wasn’t a big turkey fan at that age, but I loved the pie. It was enough to get me through all the relatives’ chit-chat and idiosyncrasies.
I don’t remember our family getting into what has become the traditional part of the meal, everyone saying what they’re thankful for, but by the time I was a parent, though, it had slipped into our routine. For some, it’s quite heartfelt. For others, it’s just part of the day’s traditions. The statements of thankfulness are the main reason Ro has been hesitant to go; given the way she currently feels about her two friends, she has no idea what she’ll say.
The other Thanksgiving scene is discussed in retrospect as Ro and Herc question the suspects in the murder that occurred just a few days after the holiday. Five of the suspects and the victim had gotten together to share a purchased turkey dinner, even though only two were on friendly terms with each other. By the end of the day, even that had changed when the woman in the couple learned during the meal that her guy, the victim, slept with the woman hosting the meal.
That is a critical scene because it reveals several plot points that either resulted in the murder or bring the two sleuths closer to discovering the killer. I’ll share one of those with you here. The boyfriend’s betrayal is the beginning of the couple’s break-up; it sets in motion the actual break-up a few days later, which serves as the possible reason why the woman might have murdered him.
How often during that holiday meal conversation have you learned things you’d rather not have known? Hopefully not that your loved one slept with someone else, but other secrets that have a way of slipping out unintentionally. Diners may be anxious to impress the others, or relate to another member at the table after years apart, or say something just to make conversation. If alcohol is present, it may further loosen tongues that would normally remain quiet.
Thankfulness, revelations, and pie. All perfect elements to enhance a murder mystery. It was fun to go back in time and remember Thanksgiving of years gone by and also to concoct some new situations. It put me in the mood to write Book 7 in the series, tentatively titled Wrenched at the Reindeer Run where the Yuletide Season will serve as the backdrop.