Happy Cows and Homicides
I hope the readers of my Finny mystery series aren’t getting the wrong idea about the Golden State. In California, we really do have relatively complacent cows and world class agriculture. We also have the odd murder, here and there, but I hasten to add the murders depicted in my books are not modeled after true life crimes. The people and places, however, I can’t be so sure.
The quiet seaside town of Finny is indeed quite similar to the real town of Half Moon Bay. It’s a sleepy little place with a rickety old downtown, a stone’s throw from the wild Pacific Ocean. There are mountains (though they don’t look much like noses) and fog that hovers over the coast until well into the afternoon. No golden sands there; that’s in southern California (which is practically another state altogether.) Half Moon Bay and Finny are indeed charming to a fault. To quote from Trouble Up Finny’s Nose, “except for the peeling paint on the Finny Hotel and the dead man propped on his head in the Central Park fountain, the town was definitely postcard material.” Yep, definitely the stuff fine postcards are made of.
As far as I know, Half Moon Bay does not have an 80 year old newspaper boy who occasionally defiles the town fountain and thrives on a steady diet of candy, but maybe I’ve just missed him. Our protagonist Ruth Budge, a woman who tends to a platoon of wounded seabirds, is a complete figment of my imagination. Then there’s Ellen Foots, the town’s ferocious six-foot-four librarian with the shoulders of a linebacker and the voice to match, and Dimple Dent, a woman with a thread of pure genius and a knack for writing fortune cookie wisdom. Fictional characters, through and through.
Then again, tiny coastal towns are havens for the offbeat. Can you find such interesting nonconformists in mainstream suburbia? Will you discover the lingering shadows of ruthless rum smugglers or the whisper of evil buried in an ancient diary in Anytown America? No, my friends. For that, you’ve got to travel to Finny, a place where there’s trouble, treasure and true love waiting to be discovered.