In three weeks, September 4, the first in a new mystery series written by me as Shelley Freydont will in the stores. Foul Play at The Fair (Berkley Prime Crime) follows Liv Montgomery, Manhattan event planner, and her Westie terrier Whiskey to a new job in upstate New York. Celebration Bay is small destination town on Lake Champlain, “Where every day’s a holiday.”Of course, where there are people gathered, murder will out, and Liv has to learn how to juggle a Harvest Festival while attempting to catch a killer.
So for the next few Mondays I’m going to talk about the women who turned me onto mystery fiction and influenced me as I built the character of Liv Montgomery, part urban sophisticate part small town girl, strong willed, competent, fit in mind and body with a sense of humor and the ability to laugh.
Remember the Thin Man(1934) movies, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy? Now there was a duo. Nick Charles, a debonair retired detective, his wife Nora, a witty mad cap rich girl. They’re at home in the glittering world of social Manhattan and are just as happy when entertaining ex-cons that Nicky has put away. They smoke and drink and banter their way through several films. They’re about as un PC as a couple could be and they have so much fun.
Not what you’d expect from a Dashiell Hammett story.
My absolute favorite scene of The Thin Man? When Nora , pulled along by their terrier Asta, enters the bar only to fall head long into the room. It’s one of the best pratfalls ever.
Nora is portrayed as a little ditsy, okay a lot ditsy, and maybe not terribly bright, but she’s enthusiastic and undaunted. Exuberant. Together they are charm itself. And there is a murder and a few clues to follow, not to mention an interesting supporting cast, if you can tear your eyes and ears from the two main characters.
You can see some clips here:
but you should really watch the entire film. Enjoy.