When I was young, I dreamed of being a doctor by day, a ballerina by night and an author in between. My ballet days ended before they began at age four when my first performance’s curtsy took out the backdrop and crashed it to the floor. I tried more ballet lessons in high school, but I was far too old. One dream gone, two dreams left, being a doctor and an author. The latter took me a while. Being a doctor was a straight shot, four years of medical school, three years of residency, then fellowship, then payback the military with a stint in the Army because they paid for medical school. Being an author took longer, though in actuality I’ve been an author all along, in between, plotting and planning since those ballerina days. The first “book” I ever wrote was at age nine, Death in the Cemetery. I loved mysteries as a kid, mysteries as an adult, mysteries my whole life, especially cozy murder mysteries, with Agatha Christie being my all time hero.
Because I divide my life into doctoring and writing, plus a husband, two boys and a giant Newfoundland dog, time is an issue. I write in the early morning hours, before my family wakes up. I creep downstairs and write in the dark and write as the sun comes up and write until I hear footsteps upstairs. Our slobbery, fluffy, enormous dog, Albert, dutifully creeps down with me, my silent but steady writing companion.
My cozy murder mystery, The Fog Ladies, involves a group of spunky older women and a young, overworked, overtired, overstressed medical intern who live in an elegant apartment building where old ladies start to die. I lived in an apartment building much like the one in The Fog Ladies when I did medical training in San Francisco. The idea for the story and setting was a natural offshoot of reading cozy mysteries and thinking about murder and motivation. Elegant apartment buildings are found throughout San Francisco, especially in Pacific Heights, where the story is set. Tenants of all ages live together for years, providing the perfect cast of characters and cozy-type enclosed setting for a series of murders, with fog adding a layer of gloom and foreboding.
Characters drive a cozy, and my Fog Ladies are a conglomeration of my experiences and my imagination, combined together to make my group of spunky senior sleuths. I have always enjoyed meeting older women, hearing their stories, understanding their point of view, since that first apartment building in San Francisco, to my mother’s dining table at her retirement community, and as a doctor with my many elderly patients. I created the Fog Ladies, and I love these strong women characters and their special bond of friendship that formed when they were widowed and wanting more from life. These close women friendships form the crux of The Fog Ladies, and I hope to be one some day.
Title The Fog Ladies
Author Susan McCormick
Genre Cozy Murder Mystery
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
She always felt nervous at this point, hand over head, feet tight together on the small stool. Today, though, she felt an inexplicable dread.
If anything happened, she would blame Tommy. She found it ridiculous and humiliating that a sixty-five-year-old woman should have to clean bugs out of a light. She had seen Tommy that very day up on a sturdy new ladder probably purchased with her rent proceeds. Why couldn’t he do this for her? Or at least offer her the ladder. No respect for his elders, that’s why.
“Insolent youth.” Mrs. Bridge said. “Damn that Tommy.”
The stool jerked from under her. Mrs. Bridge felt herself fall. It seemed like slow motion, like she was falling from the roof deck and not from a stool in the kitchen. Falling, falling, long enough for her to see the figure standing nearby. Long enough for her to see his detached expression.
She landed hard. She heard the crack. She knew she was going to die. She studied the bugs in the light far over her head. The figure started to turn away.
She managed to speak and was surprised at how strong her voice sounded. “Sarah,” she blurted. He whirled around.
Mrs. Bridge was satisfied to see the shock on his face as she stared up and said, “Sarah saw you.”
Susan McCormick writes cozy murder mysteries. She is also the author of Granny Can’t Remember Me, a lighthearted picture book about Alzheimer’s disease. She is a doctor who lives in Seattle. She graduated from Smith College and George Washington University School of Medicine, with additional medical training in Washington, DC and San Francisco, where she lived in an elegant apartment building much like the one in the book. She served nine years in the military before settling in the Pacific Northwest. She is married and has two boys, plus a giant Newfoundland dog.
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