C. Hope Clark adores her South Carolina home on the lake, but sometimes it takes a beach to bring characters to life in her head. Hope is the author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries as well as the Edisto Island Mysteries. Her latest release is Edisto Jinx. Learn more about Hope and her books at her website.
The perfect getaway . . . we all dream about it. The place where nature soothes us like a balm, and nothing is allowed into our senses but peace and calm. Where we can write great thoughts because nothing else stands in their way.
To most of us, that means the presence of water.
The Edisto Island Mystery Series is set on exquisite and secluded Edisto Island. Located on the very edge of South Carolina, down long, long Highway 174 that crosses a huge bridge then a smaller one across the marsh, Edisto Beach faces the Atlantic Ocean with five miles of beach. Steeped in history, from the extinct Edistow Indians to the Civil War, this jingle-like area welcomes visitors, but does not welcome development. To get away, you rent someone’s house, and every single one of them is within three short, walkable blocks to the waves on one side, or the jaw-dropping beauty of the marsh. No franchises. No fast food. No pollution of urban light. Just breezes and a low, sliding roar of waves curling over the sand.
Callie Jean Morgan was a Boston detective until she finally nabbed a criminal she’d pursued for five years, and then his family killed her husband. Desperate for revenge, she ruins her career, and in an effort to salvage her son’s emotional health, she returned to South Carolina. Her parents give her the keys to the family’s vacation home on Edisto Beach. Reluctantly she retreats to the house with all its calming memories, the childhood mentor next door, the healing ebb and flow of the sea.
What a perfect setup. A horribly broken woman hoping to find herself at a setting everyone views as a generic panacea to anyone with ills to cure. Then the day she sets foot into that Eden, her childhood mentor is murdered right under her nose. She is yanked back into a world of crime, against her best judgment, risking her fragile sanity, only to also face a world of beachcombers who don’t believe crime happens at the beach.
People who vacation at Edisto Beach always return. Most wish they lived there. Many scan the blocks for real estate signs, seeking that special deal, hoping to actually buy a piece of this treasure where they can one day retire. I own a small piece on one of those blocks. This is where I go to sigh and settle, think and weave stories. It’s the consummate setting for a character whose arc takes her from lows to highs and back down again, in story after story, book after book, as she learns to fight to make her life perfect, instead of expecting the setting to do it for her.
Is it a flesh and blood killer—or restless spirits?
According to Sophie the yoga mistress, beautiful Edisto Beach becomes a hotbed of troublemaking spirits every August. But when a visitor dies mysteriously during a beachhouse party, former big-city detective Callie Morgan and Edisto Beach police chief Mike Seabrook hunt for motives and suspects among the living. With tourists filling the beaches and local business owners anxious to squelch rumors of a murderer on the loose, Callie will need all the help she can get—especially once the killer’s attention turns toward her.