Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Fade to White"

In addition to writing novels, Wendy Clinch founded and runs, the Internet’s leading destination for women who ski.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Fade to White, her new Ski Diva mystery, and reported the following:
We first met Stacey Curtis, Boston-grad-student-turned-ski-bum, in my debut Ski Diva mystery, Double Black. In Fade to White, Stacey’s back and up to her ski boots in yet another murder. The victim this time: Harper Stone, a washed up movie actor who’s come to Stacey’s Vermont ski town to film a mouthwash commercial. When Stacey and her ski patroller boyfriend, Chip Walsh, find Stone’s body during a late night ski date, Stacey turns sleuth to find out who killed him and why. It’s Hollywood meets the Green Mountain State, and the result is hilarious culture clash, as well a plenty of intrigue and excitement.

In this section, we see Guy Ramsey, local sheriff and Stacey’s landlord, attempting to make sense of recent activities. Stacey’s just come in from her job tending bar at the Broken Binding.
Guy sat in his recliner, wearing striped flannel pajamas underneath his white terrycloth bathrobe, an empty milk glass in one hand and the remote in the other. He wasn’t using either one of them, though. He was looking hard at the television, sighting across the room between his stocking feet as if along the barrel of a gun. The television was showing some educational travelogue of what looked like Italy or Greece, but Stacey could see right off that he wasn’t watching it. He had the sound turned all the way down and he was chewing on his lower lip and the muscles in his jaw were working in the reflected multicolored light of some Mediterranean holiday scene.

He’d hardly heard her come in, but she said his name and he shook off his concentration and turned toward her.

“Hey, Stacey.”

“You’re up late.”

“I guess I am.” He lifted his left hand to look at his watch and discovered that he wasn’t wearing it. He’d left it on the nightstand up in the bedroom, where Megan had gone to sleep a long while past. “What time is it, anyhow?”


“Wow. I had no idea.” He squeezed his eyelids shut and gave his head a little shake as if to clear it.

“Something on your mind?”

“That guy who disappeared. I assume it was the talk of the Broken Binding.”

“Yes and no.”

“Him being a movie star and all.”

Stacey sat down on the couch opposite him. “A movie star?” she said. “Maybe you’d better define your terms.”

He poked at the remote without looking at it, and instead of going dark the television switched over to a movie. He’d have known it anywhere, inside of two seconds. Shane, with that Alan Ladd. Stacey probably didn’t consider Alan Ladd a movie star either. Then again he’d been dead since what, sometime in the sixties. That would be before she was born. At least Harper Stone’s career was a little more recent than that, however little there might be left of it these days. “I mean,” he said, “the guy did make some movies. A couple of pretty good ones, to tell the truth.”

“I’d hope so. Given his attitude.”

“You met him?”

“I guess you could put it that way.”

“What do you mean?”

“He was kind of detached, is all.”

“Detached.” He studied the film of milk in his glass.

“It was probably just the whole movie star thing. Ego.”

“Maybe.” He tilted his glass and watched a single drop of milk slide around the bottom of it circling and thinning itself out. “Still,” he said, “tell me more.”
Learn more about the book and author at Wendy Clinch's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Double Black.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue