Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer Getaways

Sharon Wildwind

The place I live tops out at about a million people, and from the looks of the building cranes that dot every other block downtown, we’re not through growing yet.

The city has just finished a three-year road construction project about two minutes from my house. Now that traffic is running smoothly—all right, sort of smoothly—in this part of town, they’ve started a second major project on the opposite side of town and plan route traffic from there through the part that’s just been completed. So we can anticipate three more years of noise and congestion.

On the other hand, summer weather here this year has been ideal. After a rather rainy start, small showers and bright, hot days have arranged themselves into a nearly perfect pattern. Trees are lush, green canopies. Flower beds and container plantings have run riot and we’re not even into the sultry days of August yet. The baseball diamonds are full, the outdoor pools are open, and every afternoon about suppertime, there’s the smell of bar-b-q in the air.

Makes me long for small town life, and this summer, I’m taking refuge from the traffic, noise, and building cranes in small towns all across North America. Of course, they have to be small towns with a little something wrong. Corruption at city hall? A secret in the small shops on Main Street? A body in the pond just over by the recreation centre? You bet.>Here’s a little summer quiz for you. Given below are authors, detectives, small towns, and states and provinces. Can you match one entry in each list? When you think you’re done, go to the comments section for the answers. Then go to the library or bookstore and spend the rest of the summer in a lot of lovely small towns. Ya’ll sit yourself down. I’ll be back with with iced tea and cookies in just a minutes.

Anne White
Carolyn Haynes
Deb Baker
Elana Santangelo
Louise Penny
Margaret Maron
Mary Monica Ferris
Rhett MacPherson
Susan's Wittig Albert
Suzanne McMinn

Armand Gamache
Betsy Devonshire
China Bayles
Dane McGuire
Deborah Knott
Gertie Johnson
Loren Graham
Pat Montella
Sarah Booth Delaney
Victoria O’Shea

Small Towns:
Bell Run
Colleton County
Emerald Point
New Kassel
Pecan Springs
Three Pines

New York
North Carolina
West Virginia


Anonymous said...

Anne White writes about Mayor Loren Graham who lives in Emerald Point, New York on the beautiful shores of Lake George.

Carolyn Haynes’s lovely southern belle, Sara Booth Delaney enjoys living in the beautiful Mississippi delta country around Zinnia.

Gertie Johnson maybe in her sixties, but she’s no stranger to the rugged life in the little town of Excabana in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Deb Baker is the author.

Pat Montella finds that history comes alive, sometimes not in a pleasant way in the woods surrounding the little town of Bell Run, Virginia. This is Elana Santangelo paranormal series.

You have to take a trip just north of the border to find Inspector Armand Gamache investigating in the community of Three Pines, Quebec. Louise Penny’s award-winning series.

Mary Monica Ferris’s character, Betsy Devonshire, runs a needlecraft shop and solves mysteries in Excelsior, Minnesota.

Do you have a yen to dig up your family tree? So does Victoria O’Shea, who Rhett MacPherson has placed squarely in the little town of New Kassel, Missouri.

Got time for a cup of tea? Walk down Pecan Spring’s lovely downtown to China Bayles’s tea room. We’re talking Texas hill country here, as described by Susan's Wittig Albert.

Dane McGuire, a time traveler, returns to Haven, West Virginia, to try to prevent the murder he’s accused of. A mystery-science fiction combination by Suzanne McMinn.

Margaret Maron has Judge Deborah Knott upholding the law in Colleton County, North Carolina.

Sofie Kelly said...

Great Quiz! I got six out of ten more or less right.

Sandra Parshall said...

Julia Spencer-Fleming also writes evocatively about a small community, and so do Judy Clemens and Mark de Castrique.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I was only familiar with one of the authors.

I worked for a while in a small town and got to know several people there very well. I can confirm that it all happens in small towns as much as in big towns, at least in ratio to the populations of each. I think small towns are much better at keeping the secrets.