|Glitter Lake Inn|
Raegan Teller is an award-winning mystery author. Her debut novel, Murder in Madden, received Honorable Mention in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Her second novel in the series is The Last Sale. Both were inspired by actual cold cases. Learn more about Raegan and her books at her website.
I’m Raegan Teller, mystery author of the Enid Blackwell series. Both Murder in Madden and The Last Sale are set in and around a fictitious town: Madden, South Carolina. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the capitol city of Columbia, at least in my mind.
Why a fictitious setting? As a fiction author, I didn’t want to be constricted by reality. There are a number of small town around me, each of which is charming and quirky in its own way. But none had all of the characteristics I needed. Just as fictional characters are typically a composite of several actual people, Madden is a composite of several small towns in South Carolina: Blythewood, Ridgeway, Camden, Chapin, and Winnsboro. I plucked a thing or two from each.
In my first book, Murder in Madden, some of the pivotal scenes take place at the Glitter Lake Inn, just outside of town. The inn is a century-old mansion, handed down from generation to generation. The current owner plays a key role in the story. When I was writing this book, I had no idea readers would be so attracted to the setting—both Madden and the inn. Yet, when I attend book club meetings to discuss the book, the setting is always a significant and lively part of the discussion. People assume the inn is real, but, sadly, it isn’t. It, too, is a composite of the many wonderful inns we’ve stayed in. I created it to be the perfect place to get away from it all, a place where tea and civility can solve all problems. In doing so, I created a setting that has become a character itself in these books.
But if you think Murder in Madden and The Last Sale are typical cozies, be forewarned. They are not. By the publishing industry’s definition, a cozy mystery is one where the protagonist is an amateur sleuth. Enid Blackwell is a journalist, so technically my series fits the description. And food and an old inn are featured, both of which are often included in cozies. But that’s where the similarities to the genre end.
I invite you to come to Madden through my stories. But remember—small towns aren’t always what they seem, and family secrets and decade-old lies can have deadly consequences. Like Enid, you may be forced to ask yourself, how much would I risk to learn the truth?
Murder in Madden
Enid Blackwell thinks she has discovered the perfect story to revive her journalism career. Her husband's cousin, Rose Marie Garrett, was brutally murdered 10 years ago in a small town in South Carolina, and the killer was never found. Everyone in the family seems eager to forget Rosie because of her “bad girl” reputation, but Enid is determined to tell the story of the young girl’s tragic life. But bringing the truth to light may cost Enid more than she bargained for. When Rosie’s killer targets Enid, she knows the only way to save herself is to bring Rosie’s killer to justice.