Jackie King loves books, writing tall tales, and murdering (on paper) people she dislikes. Her latest mystery is The Corpse Who Walked in the Door. Learn more about Jackie and her books at the Murderous Musings blog and CozyMysteries and Other Madness.
Creating My Series Character
Like most writers, my favorite game is ‘What If?’ Because of this game, Grace Cassidy sprang to life on a walk through an old Victorian neighborhood in Northern California. I was vacationing at a Bed and Breakfast, situated in a mansion that had been built by a sea captain in 1870. My hostess was a professional inn-sitter. She said she loved her job, loved traveling from place to place, and loved working when she wanted. Her services were booked for two years in advance.
I wanted to create a character who desperate to support herself, takes on such a job. My ‘What If? Question was:
What if I were stranded in a strange town with no friends and no money? Oh, and let’s throw in a corpse—a naked one—in my bed. Could I survive using my own determination, brains, and moxie? These are the problems that started me writing my first Grace Cassidy story, The Inconvenient Corpse, published in 2009. I felt compelled to write this novel to find out the answers to those questions. Then I added an older teenager and a cat, just for fun.
The second book in this series is The Corpse Who Walked in the Door. Five months have passed between these two books, and Grace has learned that she is made of a tougher fiber than she had thought. With the help of her zany new friends, she works as an inn sitter. Previously she chaired committees in social circles. Now she bakes, cleans, and entertains paying guests.
The trouble is, these pesky bodies keep showing up.
The Corpse Who Walked in the Door begins with Grace thinking that her life is almost back in order. She’s worried that Brand, her 19-year-old son, is getting too involved with the ditzy housemaid, Sandy Walker. Scary thoughts of becoming a grandma too soon, plague her. But still, life is good.
Grace is rebuilding her life and learning about the woman she really is, not the cardboard caricature of her former self. No wonder she bored her husband Charlie. She always did everything he expected. But that was in the past. Now she’s surprising and delighting herself with this new persona. Being a woman is a lot more interesting than being a perfect-lady, she decides.
Then life interferes with her well-laid plans.
The identical twin brother of her boss-from-hell, Wilbur Wimberly, shows up at a family reunion. This black sheep, thought to be long dead, stirs up memories of deeply buried family secrets. Dangerous secrets. The Wimberly clan is snapping at each other’s throats, and then Grace’s cat Trouble finds a dead body in a bathroom. To make things worse, her son is first accused of attempted murder, then of rape.
Once again, life unravels. Grace has a murder to solve and her son to defend.
The Corpse Who Walked in the Door
Former society wife Grace Cassidy is learning to live on the minimum wage she earns as a B&B inn-sitter. Things are going well until the identical twin of her boss-from-hell unleashes family secrets, her 19-year-old son’s girlfriend becomes pregnant, and her cat Trouble finds a dead body in a bathtub.