Moon Games by Shelly Frome
Cozy Mystery/Amateur Sleuth
Milford House Press
Please welcome Shelly Frome to ePen, and read on about demon spirits, church ladies, and his inspiration for Moon Games. Click on the cover to purchase your copy.
Seeds for a Black Mountain Mystery
A noted Midwestern professor and novel writing guru used to advise his students that the only way to write a worthwhile narrative that will sustain you, is to do your best not to write. To take your time until you reach the point where you can’t stand it anymore. Till you wake up someday and say to yourself, “It’s no use. I have to work through this conundrum or else.” At that point you’re truly ready to begin.
By the same token, some basic assumption that’s being threatened coupled with a percolating dynamic that just won’t quit becomes a vital springboard for me. Any surefire plot or notion simply leaves me cold. Any message I’d love to get across to people soon fades away. In one way or another I have to ask myself, “Why here, why now, and so what?” Otherwise I’m better off tending to my everyday affairs.
Now for the same kind of operative seeds for Moon Games. Fairly recently when I moved to the Blue Ridge mountain town of Black Mountain a few miles east of Asheville, I noted that the broker an acquaintance recommended wasn’t at all like the realtors I knew back in Connecticut. The ladies from New England were all a bit standoffish, dressed in trendy suits, wore heels and sported fastidious hair dos. This thirty-something broker wore overalls and combat boots. Moreover, she vacillated from being extremely practical to moments of impulsiveness, most notably the time she recalled when she jumped into a raging river during a hot summer day and nearly drowned trying to swim against the current and make it back to shore.
Next, I was advised not to miss the Halloween festivities one evening on Church Street. But as it turns out, there were no churches on Church Street and I was inundated by revelers all dressed as demon spirits—the devil had taken over Church Street.
The third element that finally set me off and running was an interview I was conducting with a church lady at a nearby retirement center. I expected her to serve me tea, show me photos of the grandkids, and reminisce about the sweet days gone by. Instead, she was all aflutter about an escapade she’d just had on the famous sea wall in Havana where something befell one of the church’s parishioners. An incident she wasn’t able to go into.
A colorful, quixotic realtor, an influx of demon spirits, and a hyper church lady with a percolating secret past. What can come of that intriguing dynamic just for starters?
At the outset, Miranda Davis has nothing much going for her. The tourists are long gone by October in the quaint Carolina town of Black Mountain, her realty business is at a standstill, and her weekend stint managing the local tavern offers little to pull her out of the doldrums. When prominent church lady Cloris Raintree offers a stipend to look into the whereabouts of a missing girl hiker on the QT, Miranda, along with her partner Harry (an unemployed features writer) agree.
But then it all backfires. A burly figure shambles down a mountain slope with a semiconscious girl draped over his shoulder. Miranda’s attempts to uncover Cloris Raintree’s true motives become near impossible as she puts up one smokescreen after another, including a slip of the tongue regarding an incident in Havana. The local police keep stonewalling and Harry is of little help.
Tarot cards left on Cloris’s doorstep and arcane prompts on her email only exacerbate the situation. Growing more desperate over the captive girl’s fate, Miranda comes across a link to a cold case of arson and murder. With the advent of the dark of the moon, she is summoned to “Tower Time” as this twisty tale continues to run its course.
About the Author
Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of nonfiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.