Multi-award-winning author Judy L. Murray writes the Chesapeake Bay Mystery series. Learn more about her and her books and find links to connect with her on social media at her website.
Why Women Make Great Detectives
If you are familiar with the award-winning Chesapeake Bay Mystery Series, you know my heroine, real estate agent Helen Morrissey, calls upon the individual talents and varied personalities of her own self-made Detection Club to help defend the innocent and seek out justice.
Today, I thought you would enjoy getting to know these women a bit better. Helen is serving as host at her house on a cliff overlooking the Maryland Chesapeake Bay. Nancy Drew, Jessica Fletcher, Nora Charles, and Agatha Raisin join her for tea, scones, and cocktails.
Helen Morrisey is leading the discussion. Let’s listen in…“Nancy Drew, are you willing to start? Tell us why helping me is important and what you think you bring to this group of sleuths? Aren’t you a bit young to be fighting crime?”
Nancy’s blue eyes flashed. “Since I’ve been involved in hundreds of crimes over my perpetual teen years, I don’t think so. I love working with smart women, but there are times when a young person comes in handy, especially if we’re chasing criminals through the woods or up three flights of stairs. I don’t think you would have survived in Murder in the Master without me.”
Helen: “That’s a good point. I am surprised you never seem intimidated by the adults around you.”
Nancy laughed, “Fortunately, I was raised by a father who encouraged me to think for myself. I’m definitely not afraid to speak up, even in the company of law enforcement.”
“Agatha Raisin, you seem to step on the toes of law enforcement, too. Tell us more about your background. How did you get involved in detection?”
“I grew up in a poor section of London and was determined to succeed on my own. Now, I live in the Cotswold’s when I’m not helping you. Sometimes people accuse me of speaking my opinion when it’s not wanted.” She shrugs. “But, there are times when being polite won’t help us capture a killer.”
Helen smiles. “I’m not very good at biting my tongue, either. Is it true you don’t like to cook?”
“It’s another trait you and I share. We’re both terrible cooks but love to eat. It makes the microwave our favorite kitchen appliance. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc helps, too, although I lean toward gin and tonic. I do draw the line at hiding Twizzlers everywhere like you do. That’s your problem, not mine.”
Helen grimaces. “I admit, Twizzlers are not the best dietary habit. I notice you’re wearing your favorite four-inch heels today. Don’t they hold you back?”
Agatha glanced down at her feet and winced. “I depend on Nancy to be our runner.”
Nancy rolls her eyes.
“Nora,” Helen turns, “What do you think you contribute to my Detection Club?”
Nora tosses her short 1930’s waved hair. “Living with a private detective has its influence.” She straightens her satin robe and wiggles her feather topped, blue satin slippers. “I like to think my smarts come in handy for you. I also know how to make a wicked martini served in my coupe glass, of course.”
Helen grins. “That you certainly do. And, I’ve followed your advice more than once.”
Jessica Fletcher clears her throat. Helen nods. “Jessica, your talent for writing mysteries has helped us get to the truth. We had a few close calls solving Killer in the Kitchen. Have you ever thought to be a real estate agent? I think you would be fantastic.”
Jessica smiles. “We both have a lot of experience asking questions and piecing together clues, don’t we? Sometimes we find out things about people we weren’t expecting.”
“Or prefer not to know.” Helen glances across the room to the sedate, fluffy-haired old woman closest to the fire. “Miss Marple, as our senior sleuth, why do you think we work so well together? Is it just coincidence?”
Jane sets down her needlework, studying Nancy, Agatha, Nora, Jessica, and Helen with fondness. Clear, blue eyes twinkle behind her wire rims. “My dear Helen. You know very well I never believe in coincidence. Just think what we discovered when solving Peril in the Pool House.”
“But Jane, how have we been so successful when other sleuths fail,” Helen asks.
“We’re very clever women. We read body language. We watch and listen. We know the importance of keeping an absolutely open mind.” The senior offers a little wink. “Most crimes, you see, are so absurdly simple.”
Happy Holidays from Helen Morrisey and her Detection Club. May we solve many more mysteries in 2024!
Peril in the Pool House
A Chesapeake Bay Mystery, Book 3
The grand opening of Captain’s Watch Bed and Breakfast in one of Chesapeake Bay’s historic mansions, is ruined when the body of Kerry Lightner, a high-powered political campaign manager, is found in the pool house with fishing shears in her back. Is the killer a rival politician, an ex-lover, a jealous co-worker, or the ghost of missing harbor pilot Isaac Hollowell? When state senate candidate and B&B owner Eliot Davies becomes the prime suspect, his friend real-estate-agent-turned-amateur-investigator Helen Morrisey and her Detection Club of fictional women sleuths vow to solve the case—even if it means the end of Helen’s romance with Detective Joe McAlister.