ABOUT THE BOOKThe drama program has never been so dramatic.
It’d be the season to be jolly if only someone hadn’t set the stage for murder. When a student is arrested for the crime, Professor Sheridan Hendley is cast in the role of amateur sleuth. Tensions run high, friendships are strained, and the college administration is beginning to panic. As the plot thickens Sheridan is yet again drawn deeper into danger. Will she find the truth before the final curtain call?
GUEST POST BY CHRISTA NARDI
Cold Creek and Other Small Towns
The major characters in Murder in the Theater, like the other books in this series, live in the fictitious small town of Cold Creek, Virginia. This isn’t surprising or notable – most cozy mysteries are set in small towns from the more famous Cabot Cove or River Heights to Scumble River, Cedar Bay, Corsario Cove, Cape Bay, and so on. What’s the draw of the small town?
Most small towns have their own personality, shaped by the people who live there as much as by where the small town is located and what it’s known for. As a writer, the small town setting lends itself to a series. The same characters return and relationships can be dynamic and change over the course of the series.
Another thing about small towns is the local café, bar, or restaurant. In Cold Creek, that’s the Grill. There are always conflicts and secrets to be discovered. A stranger stands out as much as the quirky characters and can threaten the status quo. And then there’s the gossip.
The biggest complaint about small towns is that everyone knows everyone’s business. At the same time, there’s a fierce loyalty to small towns - if something bad happens to you, you might just find yourself with more casseroles than you could ever consume or store in your freezer. Sound familiar?
For murder mysteries, the down side to a small town setting is the inevitable issue of how many dead bodies or murderers can be in the same small town? The cozy mysteries that take to the road or cruise get past this even when the main characters live in a small town as their home base. In the fourth in this series, the murder occurs in another small town, but is still closely connected to Cold Creek College, as a way to bypass that pesky problem.
Beyond the small town setting, with Murder in the Theater the relationship between the protagonist, Sheridan, and the state detective, Brett has developed nicely. At the same time, the addition of the actors and actresses of the community theater and Fine Arts department add some variety. As you get to know the people who live in the pages of Cold Creek, hopefully you’ll feel at home.
ABOUT THE AUTHORMurder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series. Murder at the Grill is the third. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues.
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