by Debra H. Goldstein
Do you think mystery writers see the world in a different way? My husband, children and friends do.
For the past few years they have accused me of seeing events in our lives as fodder for storytelling. Recently, they complained that when we go on vacation I view the sites as possible crime settings instead of for the beauty of the moment. I heartily disagreed; but, between us, maybe they’re right.
I try to keep my reactions in check. For example, when I saw the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, I didn’t immediately say, “If someone fell off….” Art gallerias and museums in Santa Fe, New York, London, Florence and Paris impressed me, but I couldn’t help wondering what it would take to slip a crown jewel, Mona Lisa, or a simple watercolor out the door. During the water architecture cruises in Seattle and Chicago, my mind wandered to the infinite possibilities created by approaching one of the imposing buildings or homes (think Bill Gates) from the water.
This past weekend, we visited the Biltmore House in Asheville. In addition to the normal house tour, there was a special Downton Abbey costume exhibit. Dresses, suits, and uniforms were shown in the rooms they might have been worn in. While my family oohed and aahed at the architecture and clothing, I couldn’t help but think “if I was in the in drawing room with …” or “the servant’s bell rang, but the housemaid never came.”
Even when I stay home, people question my intentions. One of my best beta readers, who has read Should Have Played Poker: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery (February 2016 from Five Star) and most of the short stories published in 2014 and 2015, recently took my husband aside to warn him “don’t eat Debra’s oatmeal. She has a propensity for killing off spouses.”
These accusations hurt, but what can I say? At least for me, they’re true. I do see the world in a different way. What about you?