What I Love About Miss Marple

I love a good cozy mystery, and there’s nothing like a review of classic cozies to remind me why I fell in love with the genre. Like most of my fellow cozy authors, I read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and the Bobbsey Twins as a little girl. Later came Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Dorothy Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and Patricia Wentworth, to name a few.  

When I’m asked who my favorite author is, the short answer is,

It’s a Mystery — The Shelbourne Restaurant Arsenic Poisonings

Every once in a while I come across mysteries interesting enough to write a blog about. The Shelbourne Restaurant arsenic poisonings is one of them, and in this case, the mystery was never solved.

Recent Blog Articles from Cozy Mystery Magazine

I recently wrote a couple articles for Cozy Mystery Magazine, and thought I'd post links here for anyone who missed them.
My Mind on Paper

The first one is how I approach writing a new book. It's an interesting look into the chaos that is my mind.


Joan Hickson as Miss Marple

The second article is about my love affair with all things cozy, and in particular, Miss Marple, Agatha Christie's famous amateur sleuth.


The Wise Owl Says, "Just Listen!"

Mr. Owl
This little owl is my new office friend. She's hanging from a hook on the floor lamp next to my chair. She makes me smile. Mrs. Owl was an impulse purchase. Walgreens had an endcap filled with all sorts of outdoor décor, and she was among it all. I try not to succumb to impulse buys, but this little girl was too cute. 

There's more to Mrs. Owl than cuteness. She reminds me of a poem I had to memorize in elementary school—like in fourth grade.

A Wise Old Owl

A wise old owl sat in the oak.
The more he saw, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that bird?

That simple little poem has come to mean a lot to me. What my child-self saw as a school assignment and a silly poem about an owl, my adult-self sees as true wisdom that I can apply to my life on a daily basis.

“Candice, shut your mouth and listen.”

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone in which they were so busy talking, or so busy thinking about how to reply to what you’re saying, they never really heard what you had to say? In fact, if you said nothing during the rest of the conversation, it wouldn't matter.

There have been times when, on purpose, I've kept my mouth shut during a conversation, nodding and saying mmm-hmm at the appropriate times, just to see if the person notices. Sometimes they don't. The person simply leaves, never once asking me what I think or how I feel or what I've been doing. It makes me sad. . .and I wonder, does that person really know me at all? Do they really value me enough to want to know my thoughts or feelings?

This reminds me that I need to really listen to others, as well. Granted, there are times when someone is ranting, raving, or complaining, and has axe to grind or wants to let off steam. That's not the kind of thing I feel it's essential to listen to over and over again for hours--in fact, after a while, it's rather pointless. I mean giving someone a chance to be heard and understood at a heart level. Making someone else feel I care by understanding their heart.

This is also very clear in my relationship with the Lord. I don't want to be guilty of one-sided conversation, Lord, fix this do that bless me bless others give me blah blah blah. . . I want to endeavor to listen to the Lord through Scripture or through the wisdom of Godly people or His still, small voice deep inside. But to do that, I have to be still and quiet. I have to listen.

There are a lot of reasons that Mrs. Owl is now hanging in my office. Cuteness. A school poem. But I think the most important is to remind me, “Be quiet, be still, observe, and listen."

Missing: Snow Blowing Husband

Today we had a bunch of snow. I’m guessing twelve to fifteen inches, but I didn’t measure. That kind of snowfall meant two things. First, hubby would be using his handy dandy snow blower. Second, Jack the dog would not want to poo because he wouldn’t be able to find his regular poo place. I was right on both counts.

But the thing I didn't expect was to lose my husband. Usually I can keep track of him on snow days by the sound of the snow blower’s motor. Hubby pretty much has a routine he follows, so I stopped listening and began to work on a photo album. I did that for a while and then suddenly realized I couldn’t hear the snow blower anymore. I looked out all the windows. No hubby. I went outside to the shed to make sure he wasn’t there. Nope. I tried to call his cell. No answer. And no answer for the next 90 minutes.

It’s a little concerning when the sun is starting to go down, the weather has turned bad again, and you know your husband is out there somewhere with a snow blower. Next step? Go looking for him to make sure he hasn’t fallen into a snow drift or something. But just as I started down the driveway, here he comes down the street and up the driveway, grinning like a little kid. Yeah. Him grinning. Me frowning.

“Is something wrong?” he asked when he finally reached me.

“Yes! Where have you been!? You didn’t answer your phone! I was worried!” (Explanation points mean that my voice was louder than normal.)

“Oh, I realized that George [a couple houses away] needed his driveway cleared. He’s getting on in age, you know. So I did it. Then they asked me in for coffee. I lost track of time.”

SIGH. Yes, that’s my husband. He’s a good hearted soul who likes to clear everyone’s driveways. He also enjoys shooting the breeze. And he can't hear his phone. You can’t stay irritated at a guy like that.

He apologized. I accepted. We ate dinner and watched a Miss Marple mystery.

Now Jack the dog is sleeping because he wore himself out trying to find his regular poo place. Hubby is sleeping because he wore himself out snow blowing. All is well in the House of Prentice.