We are running to fog in my garden this morning. Or maybe it’s just mist. Or maybe murk. Murk sounds real bad, but my Oxford Concise says it is only “poor visibility.”
Fog is the kind of weather that used to feature big in English literature. Sherlock Holmes waded through it; also Bulldog Drummond fighting to the death with a murderous hunchback out on the moors. No P.C. nonsense about the Bulldog.
Across the great herring pond they get real weather. From Arkansas to Mississippi and up through Dixieland tremendous tornadoes have been levelling whole towns.
Like Charlie Chan I have a Number 2 Son who lives in Dixie. He writes murder and mayhem for the movies. He has never used weather, but the sort of tornadoes and hurricanes they get in Yankland is a gift from God to any writer struggling with what is going to happen next.
My shilling shockers are set in New England. They don’t get tornadoes there, but apart from my first Parker Daniels dime nove, Death Dyed Blonde, (“Classic American Crime Fiction” The Times Literary Supplement) I have let the weather get me out of trouble. In Murder in a Cold Climate (2013) snow and a lake freezing over come to the rescue.
In The Summer Stock Murders, the current Parker Daniels tale in the sleepy rural New England township of North Holford it is a hurricane as well as an additional murder that does the job.
Unfortunately the cover (see above) with its naked jade (do jades ever come as anything but naked?) has no hint of a tropical storm. But if you’re looking for serious weather it’s there in The Summer Stock Murders.
In the next one I’m planning we are back in three feet of snow. Then after that will be in a heat wave, and, if I live that long, the sixth New England smalltown murder will have a forest fire.
What can I do after that? Maybe visit my Number 2 Son and pray for a tornado.