Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"A Colourful Death"

Carola Dunn is the author of the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries, set in England in the 1920s, and the Cornish Mysteries, set in the 1960s.

She applied the Page 69 Test to A Colourful Death, the latest Cornish Mystery, and reported the following:
Page 69:
"...He'll have to change his mind as soon as he gets reports from the forensics men and the pathologist."

"I suppose so. But first impressions are so important. Once someone's made up his mind, it's much more difficult to make him change it than to make him see reason in the first place, no matter what the evidence."

"True." [Nick] smiled at [Eleanor]. "We'll regard DI Pearce's open mind as a good sign. I don't particularly want to spend a night in the lock-up."

"Nick, surely not!"

"If they believe I'm a murderer, they can hardly let me run loose. I might bump off the supposed eyewitness to my crime."

"Don't joke about it."

"It's not really a joke. The woman's a menace to society. I could kill her. Metaphorically, of course," he added hastily as DI Pearce returned at precisely the wrong moment and gave him a hard stare. "Damn, that's torn it."

"Do you think he heard? You really shouldn't talk any more without a lawyer present."

"I don't seem to be able to stop putting my foot in it tonight," Nick admitted ruefully. "I'm dog-tired."

They both looked down at Teazle, snoring peacefully in the sleep of the exhausted. They were both taken by surprise when Pearce said, close by, "It is my duty, Mr Gresham, to advise you that you need not say anything, but that anything you choose to say will be taken down and may be used in evidence."

"Oh hell!"

Wilkes, at Pearce's elbow, solemnly wrote it in his notebook. Nick was not amused.
Eleanor Trewynn is the protagonist of my Cornish Mystery series, set in the 1960s. A widow in her sixties, Eleanor is a friend as well as next-door neighbour of Nick Gresham, a young painter. Nick comes home from a trip to find the paintings in his gallery slashed. Furious, he decides to confront the fellow-artist he's sure did the deed, Geoff Clarke. Eleanor insists on accompanying him, to prevent mayhem (the dog, Teazle, goes along willy-nilly). When they reach the man's studio, they find him lying dead with a dagger in his back.

Geoff's girlfriend bursts in and hysterically accuses Nick of murder. They all end up at the local police station, where they have a long wait before the detective squad arrive.

This page shows the easy relationship between Nick and Eleanor and her concern for him, as well as Nick's light-hearted attitude towards life. He jokes even in the face of imminent arrest, though his good humour is frayed at the edges.

Needless to say, Eleanor's concern drives her to clear Nick by finding out who really killed Geoff Clarke.
Learn more about the book and author at Carola Dunn's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Manna from Hades (the 1st Cornish Mystery).

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue