Monday, September 12, 2011


Home Sweet Homicide

Of course, I’m sick with jealousy about the mysterious French cathedrals and scenic Newfoundland shots that have been popping up in the blog lately. Wouldn’t I love to bump someone off in these fabulous and exotic locations. But for once, I have been staying home, with occasional jaunts to the cottage. I’ve been asking myself, how can I possibly manage to plot murder under these banal circumstances?

Then I realize home is Ottawa, Canada, surely a city with many places that people can be done in against a gorgeous and even patriotic backdrop: high escarpments, fast moving rivers that are foggy with jagged ice in winter, lonely bike paths, you name it.

And the cottage sits on a typical chunk of Canadian Shield: remote,rocky,surrounded by dark water one hundred feet deep in places. Who would hear you if you screamed or splashed? The fog often rolls in just before dawn. If I were you, I would not be out and about then, not even tonight when the moon is full.

One of the negatives of spending time at a cottage is that on those dark nights
with only the moon to light the inky lake and black looming trees, a person with a lively imagination might hear paddles sliding in and out of the water at three in the morning. A kayak? Canoe? But who would be out and about at that time?

The very Canadian sound of rifle fire in the distance doesn’t say ‘local target practice’ to me. No, it says, they’re coming for you (or for someone). In that way
of writers, I do tell myself to finish that last chapter before fate intervenes.

My point, and I do have one is that our country is gorgeous, not always easy to live or stay warm and dry in, and it definitely serves as a spectacular backdrop for the kind of drama we love to create.

As for you, what scares you in your favourite place?

Mary Jane Maffini rides herd on three (soon to be three and a half) mystery series and a couple of dozen short stories. Her thirteenth mystery novel, The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder, which hit the bookshelves this spring, is brimming with names, no two the same.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you Mary Jane. The sound of a paddle or an idling outboard motor late at night scares the bejeebers out of me.