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Will COVID be written about in mysteries?
by Nancy Lynn Jarvis
Recently I Zoomed with my fellow Santa Cruz Women of Mystery, ten of us who live in Santa Cruz, California, and write in a variety of mystery genres, and one of the members asked, “Will you have your protagonist deal with Covid?” None of us hesitated for a moment. “Not if I can help it,” we replied with firm unanimity. Like my friend who refused to celebrate her recent birthday saying she was not about to acknowledge this year in any way, we all had plans to either set our next books in an indeterminate year prior to 2020 or at some time in the future where Covid is a memory.
The first book in my PIP Inc. series, The Glass House ( read about The Glass House – HERE) begins with protagonist Pat Pirard’s May birthday. Pat was the Santa Cruz County Law Librarian until she was rudely downsized the day before she turned thirty-five. She found herself with zero dollars in her bank account and nine weeks of severance pay before she faced losing her rental home and having to resort to couch surfing. Pat took a deep breath and reinvented herself. She printed business cards christening herself Private Investigator Pat and was excited when she got her first job investigating from an attorney who liked her. Her investigation took place over the course of a few weeks.
At the book’s end, she had solved the murder and been hired for her next case. The Funeral Murder, book two in the series, follows hard on the heels of her first mystery and murder solving adventure, beginning no later than in August and concluding with Pat, her Dalmatian Dot, and her cat, Lord Peter Wimsey (yes, he is named after Dorothy Sayer’s protagonist) in a tight spot in a confrontation with the killer a few weeks later.
The Funeral Murder launches at the conclusion of The Glass House, which was published in 2019—whew―and since the book doesn’t mention any year dates, I decided it must still be 2019 as Pat goes to work again. Since she solved the murder so quickly, I figure I can squeeze one more book into the series before Covid hits. After that, I don’t know what I’ll do.
I’ve had enough of 2020 and don’t want to write about it, but if I must, I know fashionable, bling and animal print-loving Pat will sport a bejeweled or a leopard-print mask as she investigates.
I have questions for you, readers. Do you want to read a mystery set during Covid? If you do, I might have to rethink my decision. Should Pat try to make Wimsey wear a mask. After all, the big cats in the New York Zoo contracted Covid. I don’t think Dot would tolerate a mask and I don’t think one would work with her muzzle, but should Pat try for a custom fitted one? And will Pat’s best friend, a would-be artist who is still looking for an artistic medium where she excels, consider designing masks?
Oh, the questions I never thought of in 2019.
Pat’s excited when she gets a call from an estate attorney who offers her a second PI job. The attorney tells Pat his client died at a funeral and he needs help sorting out who is entitled to inherit her estate.Tweet
In The Glass House, the first book in the PIP Inc. Mysteries series Pat Pirard, recently downsized Santa Cruz Law Librarian, needed to find a new job in a hurry. She printed business cards announcing she was Private Investigator Pat and crossed her fingers, hoping she could earn enough money working for attorneys as a PI to survive.
Pat’s first investigation went well, so she’s excited when she gets a call from an estate attorney who offers her a second job. The attorney tells Pat his client died at a funeral and he needs help sorting out who is entitled to inherit her estate.
Pat quickly discovers the dead woman’s past is as complicated as her estate. And when an autopsy indicates she had two deadly toxins in her body when she died, Pat’s new case becomes not only complicated, but dangerous.
Book Links: Amazon
Nancy Lynn Jarvis left the real estate profession after she started having so much fun writing the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series that she let her license lapse. She’s enjoyed writing about Regan and her husband, Tom, but decided it was time to do a new series.
PIP Inc. introduces protagonist downsized law librarian and not-quite-licensed Private Investigator Pat Pirard. “The Funeral Murder” is the second book in the series.
After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, Nancy worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC.
Currently, she’s enjoying being a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Santa Cruz Women of Mystery.
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