Friday, October 15, 2010

"Murder on the Bride’s Side"

Tracy Kiely graduated from Trinity College with a B.A. in English. She lives with her husband and three children in Severna Park, Maryland.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Murder on the Bride's Side, and reported the following:
Page 69:
emblazoned with the logo “Elegant Events,” they appeared to be everywhere at once. One group was transforming the normally lush green lawn into a sea of circular tables to seat tonight’s three hundred guests. To my right and left, another group was raising crisp white tents that would serve as the food-and-drink stations. At the base of the terrace, still more were hammering down an enormous parquet dance floor. A canopy of tiny white lights hovered above. In the midst of the organized chaos, Chloe patrolled the grounds. A dark tailored business suit clung to her lithe form and her white blonde ponytail snaked down her back in a long shiny coil. As she surveyed the crew’s progress, she methodically checked off items on her clipboard and barked orders into a walkie-talkie.

I spotted Graham and Peter huddled over by one of the tents. Graham gestured animatedly while Peter nodded thoughtfully. Spotting Chloe, Graham called her over. I watched as she briskly strode in their direction and then, strangely, faltered. Over the last few months, I’d never seen Chloe do anything that wasn’t deliberate and organized. She seemed more machine than human. After the misstep, Chloe righted herself, and made her way to Graham and Peter. She quickly spoke to Graham and then she laid her hand on Peter’s arm. She kept it there a good eight seconds longer than necessary (by my count, anyway). My stomach tilted. Chloe was an inhuman tyrant, but she was also exceedingly pretty. Sophisticated, chic, and worst of all, thin, she had an air about her that made me feel as if my ancestors had only recently started walking upright. Graham said something and Chloe was forced to remove her talons from Peter’s arm so she could take notes. Graham’s gestures intensified
Before I jump to my page 69 test for Murder on the Bride’s Side, I should explain that as with my first book, Murder at Longbourn, I tried to create a humorous modern-day version of the classic English cozy mystery with parallels to a specific Jane Austen novel. (That’s a mouthful, eh? Just rolls right off the tongue that does.) With Murder at Longbourn, I incorporated elements of Pride and Prejudice while with Murder on the Bride’s Side I focused on Sense and Sensibility. Unfortunately, my first page 69 test was an utter failure at conveying anything remotely mysterious, humorous or Austen(ous). Page 71? Brilliant! Page 168? Amazing! But page 69? – not so much.

Therefore, I was very excited to be asked back for Murder on the Bride’s Side so I could finally pass the test.

So much for that idea.

Murder on the Bride’s Side finds our plucky heroine, Elizabeth Parker, in Richmond, Virginia preparing for the wedding of her best friend, Bridget. Elizabeth had feared that serving as Bridget’s maid-of-honor would be murder and she was right for no sooner is the last grain of rice thrown when Bridget’s nasty aunt Roni is found stabbed to death. When Bridget’s cousin, Harry, is suspected of the crime, Elizabeth steps in to clear his name.

I paralleled Elizabeth and Bridget’s relationship on Elinor and Marianne’s and also brought in a woman from Peter’s past ala Miss Lucy Steele. I also had lots of fun sprinkling Sense and Sensibility quotes throughout – like on page 20, 44 or even 59. Just not apparently on page 69.

Oh, well, there’s always next time!
Read an excerpt from Murder on the Bride’s Side, and learn more about the book and author at Tracy Kiely's website.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at Longbourn.

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

--Marshal Zeringue