Humor. It’s such a great antidote. That’s why I was so happy that C.S. Boyack and Julia Donner wrote two humorous mysteries for the anthology I put together. When I read Craig’s Jason Fogg story, I smiled all the way through it. The premise of a detective who can dissolve into…yup, you guessed it…fog…was so much fun. And his delivery…well, if you’ve read any of his books, it was fun, too. Here’s a short blurb of his mystery From the Files of Jason Fogg:
They probably don’t even recognize me in the building, because I usually skipped the lobby and went for my upstairs window. I always left myself a way inside and squeezing through a tiny crack was a piece of cake. The back room was perfect for reforming because there are no windows. No sense in flashing the neighbors across the street. After making myself presentable, I checked the mail. Nothing but bills. Maybe Riley was right about this job.
My bus pass was in the top drawer, and I grabbed some business cards for good measure. “Jason Fogg Detective Agency.” Has a nice ring to it. On the way out, I scooped up a garbage bag with a change of clothes. Jeans and red flannel, it’s practically the uniform of Seattle.
People on the bus commented about the lovely weather. Honestly, I prefer a good downpour but simply agreed with them.
Craig’s a natural at writing with humor, but I think it’s a tricky voice to accomplish. He seems to manage it with ease. So does Julia Donner in the Regency mystery she sent for the collection. The minute I saw her scene titles, I knew I was in for a treat.
Murder at a Garden Party
or The Unpleasantness in the Study
Wherein Suspects Are Introduced
See? No “Body in the Study.” Regencies are all about good manners. A corpse is merely an “Unpleasantness.” I loved it! I loved the entire story. Here’s a little to tease you:
Under the pavilion’s roof, guests more interested in the topic of the murder than in the balloon spectacle huddled in groups, whispering while striving to contain offended sensibilities. Understandably, the brutal slaying of Lord Mainspout would deign Lady Brilliant’s assembly either a social coup or a doomed disgrace.
Peregrine lifted his hand to tap away a yawn with the backs of his fingers. “It is indeed astonishing what a lady will get up to when it comes to making herself the most talked about hostess in London. I had thought a balloon ascension a rather desperate measure. A dead body is truly above and beyond.”
“One shouldn’t have to contrive to this extent.”
“But they lack your intelligence and style, m’dear. Patience, Lizzie. Sir Hector and Lady Brilliant have better ton than to allow themselves to get caught up in a vulgar controversy. Do you think the butler did it?”
“Oh, do be serious. If we must loiter about waiting for the magistrate and his tedious questions, tell me about the guests to keep me occupied. I know all of them superficially. Guessing who is responsible for the unpleasantness in the study will pass the time.”
He chuckled and discretely tickled the inside of her left wrist. “You are deliciously heartless today, Lady Asterly. And speculation would present a method for keeping extreme boredom at bay whilst we wait. I must warn you that other than this lovely house and park on the veritable edge of town, Sir Hector and Lady Brilliant are a crashingly boring pair.”
“There is no such word as crashingly.”
“If the shoe fits.”
I’ve loved Peregrine and Elizabeth since I first read about them in The Heiress and the Spy. https://www.amazon.com/Heiress-Spy-Friendship-Book-ebook/dp/B00HGQCAYU/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=julia+donner&qid=1598638918&sr=8-2
It was lovely to see them in a short story.
But there you have it. Two mysteries. Both filled with humor. And yet so different. That’s what makes writing so wonderful. We each come to it with our own voice, our own styles. I hope these two samples of stories catch your interest so that you take a peek at Murder They Wrote. It includes 7 different authors and 7 different approaches to murder:)