Jazz Age Wednesdays 12 ― Characters of the Three Things Serial Story

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Hello everyone, it’s pos-i-lutely divine to see you here at Jazz Age Wednesdays!  This time I thought a change of pace might be in order.  I’m going back to the novella of the first serial, The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story.

For those of you who are new to Teagan’s Books, this post is an introduction to the characters in that novella.  Some of them come back for Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I.  If you’ve been following all along, then I hope this will be a fun visit with your old friends.

I hope the characters in this 1920’s serial have wiggled into your mind so comfortably that you have your own ideas of how they would look or sound.  However, I thought it might be fun to show you how I imagine them. So in no particular order, please meet the cast of The Three Things Serial.

Paisley Idelle Peabody


Better known to you as Pip

The moment I saw a picture of a teen-aged Lucille Ball she became my Pip. In my imagination the voice of a grown-up Lucy narrates The Three Things Serial, as she looks back on the adventures of her youth.

Pip might be a tad conservative, naive, or innocent as flappers go, but that allows her to take people as they are, without judgement.  Time and “things” will tell if that open hearted naïveté gets her into a pickle — or maybe a barrel of them!

The heart of a true flapper beats in Pip, and she is determined to be what she thinks of as a modern woman.



John Forsythe 1958
John Forsythe 1958

Pip’s Unseen Dad

Thus far I’ve done three incarnations of this “interactive” serial.  Pip’s father has been mentioned many times, and he’s made a phone call or two. However, he has never actually made an appearance. It started to remind me of the 1970’s television series, Charlie’s Angels, with John Forsythe phoning in as the never-seen Charlie.


Mona the Movie Star

Clara Bow
Clara Bow

Pip enjoyed giving everyone nicknames, usually based on their occupations or their aspirations.  Her friend and neighbor, Mona, had big dreams of being an actress, but little chance of seeing them come to fruition. Mona is something of a flirt, but you won’t see her “lead anyone on.” It’s just that people (particularly men) jump to do things for her.

 In my imagination, the original “It Girl” — Clara Bow plays Mona.


Andy the Astronaute-man

Willie Garson
Willie Garson

Andy Avis

The “things” for Episode-2 required me to write about a ballerina, a fireman, a movie star, and an astronaut.  Have I mentioned that I’m a research geek? I had to make sure the word “astronaut” was actually used in the 1920’s. I got conflicting information, but the greater consensus said “no.” However, I learned the term Astronaute was used in France at the time. So Andy Avis is also of French lineage.

Andy is a science fiction writer, hence Pip’s nickname for him Andy the Astronaute-man.  Despite the heroic stories he writes, Andy is not the bravest bean in the bunch. Discretion is pos-i-lute-ly the better part of valor with him. To his credit, sometimes Andy overcomes his big fears and takes action. Doesn’t it take a lot more courage to do something when you’re afraid than if you are just naturally brave?

Right away I saw a younger Willie Garson as my Andy.  (You might know him from “White Collar” or Sex and the City.) I could see the friendship between him and Mona. Although unlike Stanford, Andy hopes the friendship will become a romance. 


Ca’ d’Zan

The Ringling Mansion

Although it is not truly a character the Ca’d’Zan mansion is an important part of this story. Learning about this amazing place was so much fun that I had to include it here. I hope you’ll do some research of your own about the home of John and Mabel Ringling.

Ca'd'Zan Mansion
Ca’d’Zan Mansion


John and Mabel Ringling

Mabel and John Ringling
Mabel and John Ringling

The fictional characters I created of the Ringlings don’t play huge roles in the story, but they were important nonetheless.  Pip and company are invited onboard a yacht that they don’t at first realize belongs to John Ringling. Countess Bepa is old friends with Mabel Ringling.  The entire gang ends up at fabulous Ca’d’Zan where the mystery concludes.


The Fabros

1920s 4 Look-alike Guys

Frankie Fabro and His Cousins

Frankie the Fireman and his cousins Flavio, Fedel, and Frediano. First we meet Frankie. He’s taller and a little bigger than his cousins, but all four of the young men look a lot alike. Elder brother Flavio looks out for twins, Fred and Fedel. Pip has a crush on Frankie. Flavio, like most men, seems to think Mona is the berries.

Oddly enough I never had an image in my mind of Frankie the Fireman. So he is included here with his look alike cousins.


Countess Bepa Babikov

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau
Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

The mysterious white-haired woman… turns out to be not only the grand mother of Boris the Ballerina, but a real life countess. It was after Bepa Babikov came along that I saw a photo of Countess Von Hartenau that was simply the vision of Bepa’s elegance, as well as her fierce determination.  She instantly replaced any other image I had of Bepa.


Boris Babikov

Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire

Boris the Ballerina

Retired from the Ballets Russes after a career-ending injury, Boris gives the occasional dance lesson to earn a living. Mona is infatuated with Boris, but also conflicted. She has some ways of thinking to outgrow.  Boris is the strong silent type. His friends have to work at it to get to know him. When I saw a photo of Fred Astaire, in a rather sulky pose, it made me think of Boris Babikov.

Would you like a tidbit from the novella?  This snippet is from pretty far into the story. Let’s get a wiggle on!

Kitten, Fake, Comfort

My eyes strayed to the Art Deco pottery jug into which Ringling had casually dropped the bent key. 1920s  Ben Key Had he been a little too offhanded when he did that?  What if his nonchalance was fake?  I shifted my gaze to the circus millionaire and found him looking at me.  I knew it might be foolish of me, but I couldn’t stop myself from blurting out my thoughts.

“That’s no ordinary key,” I said.  “It might be to Ca’d’Zan, but it’s no door key.”

Everyone became silent, except for Pear the hedgehog, scrabbling inside his lunch pail carrier.  I turned to Countess Babikov.  By the expression on her face, I knew the direction of my words didn’t give her any comfort.  It was obviously meant to be a distraction when she turned to Mona and indicated the tin lunch pail.

“Dear!  What have you in that box?  I hear a tiny creature moving around.  Is it a kitten?” she asked Mona.

It was a feeble attempt at diverting me and the white-haired woman must have realized that, because she blushed and glanced over at me.  However, I was not diverted.  My mind went to that very eventful night when the countess was abducted, and later the group of us returned home to find Boris’ place being burglarized.  I remembered the broken vase and speculating that a key might have been hidden inside.  At the time I wondered if Boris had a key to match the bent one that was dropped from the getaway car.  Once again I considered the same idea — and I voiced the thought.

Ringling and the countess looked at each other in a silent exchange.  She drew an unsteady breath and looked up at him from her spot on the beautifully upholstered sofa.  “John, I am more worried than ever for my grandson’s safety.  If these young people can tell us where to find him…  Can you bring him here?  Please?”

I couldn’t imagine anyone refusing the tortured look in the woman’s eyes.  The circus magnate was not immune to her gaze.  Frankie shifted his feet in a nervous way.  Mona sat in silence.  She licked her lips and looked from the fireman to me.  After all, these people were strangers to us.  Boris kept us at arm’s length, but he was our neighbor and a friend, if not a really close one.  We had already concluded that he was in some kind of trouble.  But did these people have his best interest at heart?  And why did my friends seem to want me to make that decision, I wondered in dismay.



Of course I must engage in the requisite shameless self-promotion…  Here are links to the books about Pip and her friends.


Novel-book-The Three Things Serial Story-Teagan Riordain Geneviene-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-spotlight-author

The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story


Bijou front only 2

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Thanks so very much for visiting.  You’re the bee’s knees!


Copyright © 2014 and 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene 

All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. 

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.


74 thoughts on “Jazz Age Wednesdays 12 ― Characters of the Three Things Serial Story

  1. Hi Teagan…. yes, I remember many of the characters…. But the post is a good reminder. Solid characters with strong, “clear” personalities. I especially like Pip, and her role as a sort of omniscient narrator, telling us past events… Interesting that you named his dad Pops… not only because of the fizzy drink , i.e Soda.. but because his name sounds similar to Pip´s … I like that 🙂 Wishing you the best with your writing process ahead (and behind: editing, for example). Hugs 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Aquileana, it’s wonderful to see you. I always enjoy your feedback and discussions.
      I’m glad you enjoyed my little “cast party.” (Or that’s how I’ve started thinking of this post,)
      Where I am, “Pops” is an offspring’s name for father, like Dad or Daddy. *However*, I’ve only heard it in old movies. I’m not sure if that’s because the name is outdated (probably), or possibly regional… Anyhow, “Pops” just seemed like a name a flapper like Pip would call her dad. Maybe the similarity to “Pip” was in my underlying thoughts too, but it just seemed right.
      I appreciate you taking time to visit here. It means a lot to me. Thanks for the luck — I need it! 😀 Huge hugs!


  2. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I was very remiss last week in not reblogging Teagan’s usual Wednesday Jazz Age feature.. I was up to no good! However, here is this week with a visit to the first novella .. Three Things Serial with a reminder of the exotic cast members of this flapper day drama.. along with a snippet… intrigue and circus millionaires…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Teagan, I truly enjoyed reading the character synopses for that serial! (Which is still on my LONG to-read list…sigh..). I’m a bit topsy-turvy these days as I’m working a seasonal night-shift job with the good ol’ U.S. of A. Postal Service. The kiddos gotta get their packages from Santa in time! It was a perfect job to take while my taco cart is shut down for the season. I just finished eating dinner right here at noon, lol. My husband and I are two ships passing in the night. Anyhoot you may see me posting now at odd hours, tee hee. I’m hoping I can rally to finally get a new recipe up this weekend, too! I bet you are looking forward to getting your other series on track now that the writing month is at a close. Huge hugs! XOXOXO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kathryn you never cease to amaze me. You are one busy woman. Please take good care of you. I’ll watch for your new recipe post. Although I’ve stopped pouring energy into trying to get WordPress to send me notifications… So I’m sorry for when i don’t keep up.
      I’m looking forward to wrapping up Thistledown. (In several ways that serial became a royal pain.) But it will still take several weeks of episodes to finish it off.
      Great big hug!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, if I can help with meeting insanity, my job is done!
      Tuesday I had three meetings and all were cancelled! Woot! AND for once they cancelled them before I headed to the other campus! (just barely) I’m taking leave Thurs and Fri… after that I’ll (sadly) be back to a normal schedule, and with you in meeting misery.
      Thanks for taking a moment to visit. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Robin. How cool that you’ve been to Ca’d’Zan! I don’t know the current status, but when I wrote the serial, they had a website and at least parts (possibly all) of was open, some areas were used as event venues.

    You brought up a concept that has always intrigued me. As a child watching old movies, I remember several scenes that suggested people in general cannot see an obvious resemblance between themselves and another person. Several people have asked me if the cover photo of Lucille Ball is me. All I can do is shrug… I’d be honored to look like Lucy, but I don’t see it. LOL.
    As for the red hair — I was a Lucy fan long before I became a red-head! 😉

    *It was all about the voice. Voices are a big deal with me. Somehow grownup Lucy’s voice got in my head when I was proofreading the early episodes. It was so easy to imagine Lucille Ball telling about her youthful misadventures… the combination of young Lucy as Pip, and older Lucy’s voice really clicked with me. Nothing else ever replaced it.
    While I don’t describe Pip very often, youthful photos of Lucy were usually a bleached blond. So I made Pip a strawberry blond.
    Thanks for taking time to read and comment. You’re the cat’s meow!


    1. This was an amazing true tale of how your writing process continued and I remember the younger Lucy as a strawberry blonde but would have to look up the bleach blonde. . . Nice chatting and finding out more about you (and Pip’s beginning.) As a bird, I am rather afraid of cats. Haha! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh and as a child, I was quite speechless and in awe of Ca’dZan. The tickets were reasonably priced or my parents would not have taken us all, grandparents included. They lived in Clearwater Beach, in a trailer park. . . Good times and extra special memories, Teagan.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those little intros are so fun, Teagan. They’re a treat to read all by themselves. I love how you find the perfect images to go with them. I do that too to ground my writing, but not ones I can share (all that copyright nonsense. 🙂 ) The Fabro cousins cracked me up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You do find gorgeous images to share though, Diana. Your posts are always a treat for the eyes as well as the mind.
      The era of this setting is hugely helpful in that there are plenty of public domain images. They can be a huge pain to search, but…
      LOL, all those F names for the Fabros posed a big challenge, but it was fun.
      Huge thanks for taking time to visit. You’re the cat’s meow!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It was great fun to ‘meet’ the characters again Teagan and to see how they appear in your mind’s eye – strange the way we all put pictures to written characters, I wonder what a line up would look like of everyone’s different view of our characters!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wouldn’t that be fun, Andrea! If it was easier to post images in comments, I’d invite everyone to do just that. Now and then (over the years of my serials) someone will tell me their “actor” for a part. A couple have mentioned their Pip. I believe it was Suzanne DeBrango who said Katherine Hepburn — and I can easily see that.
      Heartfelt thanks for visiting. You’re the cat’s meow!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m loving your eclectic cast of characters, Teagan 🙂
    I use Pinterest and set up storyboards for all my books with the characters as I see them. It helps to cement the story in my mind. That’s some estate! I definitely need to check it out (and see if the Ringlings are in my family tree, lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! If you find a Ringling in your branches, Jacquie, take me with you to visit Ca’d’Zan! I used to make Pinterest boards for all my stories. I loved that… yet somehow I’ve stopped going there much. It was really therapeutic to me. The boards for these 1920s stories are still there.
      Huge thanks for visiting today. You’re the berries!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The introduction to you characters was brilliant Teagan as was the extract. I felt like I was watching a William Powell and Myrna Loy ‘Thin Man’ movie. The descriptions, atmosphere and pace all felt authentic and were delivered with just the right amount of tongue in cheek a modern reader appreciates. It was almost like a knowing wink that said I am not trying to rewrite a 40s mystery but I am recreating one for today’s audience who can enjoy and appreciate the references but want them delivered in a modern way- a soupçon of ‘LA Confidential’ to overlay ‘The Lady Vanishes’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul, that is high praise — but heartfelt thanks for it. I appreciate the feedback — you got my thought process. I don’t feel competent to re-create a book/movie from any period, but I try to do enough that my reader feels comfortable “suspending reality” and visiting my version of that world.
      I love those old movies though — and the “Topper” movies too. The costumes, the lighting… so much is good about them. Thanks for taking time to visit. You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, Pip thanks you for the dance, Brad. ^^’ This first story took a lot of inspiration for the details from real people of that era, scientists, and such. So there were a good number of “actors” from which I could choose my cast. I’m happy you enjoyed it. Many thanks for visiting. You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Suzanne! Maybe we just like similar actors. I really have found that showing a photo for a character seems to help the reader create that person in their mind. So it worries me that I cannot do that with a book… It’s interesting to me — the acceptance of Grover (James Garner) in the Guitar Mancer, but even more so with little Copper. I felt I never developed her character at all, yet people seemed fond of her. I think it was the photo. Anyhow, I really appreciate you taking a moment to visit. I hope life has settled into a pleasant rhythm. You’re the bee’s knees! Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to see you, Kim. I have a lot of fun “casting” my stories.
      The first serial only made a novella, so I keep it at 99 cents.
      I was feeling my way, learning my own process. So the “chapters” get a little longer as it goes along. (The first chapter was probably just one page.) Likewise, the following serials were longer.
      Have a great rest of the week. You’re the bee’s knees!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This had me up and dancing and that’s quite a “feet” at this time of the day…
    Loved this, dear Teagan, made me smile and share and smile some more, what a great way to start my day! Thank you.
    Hope this day treats you kindly. 🙂
    Mega Pip Pip Hooray hugs xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, I love your “Pip Pip Hooray” Donna. Thanks for taking time to leave this comment and make me smile. 🙂 ❤
      Many times when I'm thinking about the stories in the Pip-verse, the song "Thoroughly Modern Millie" gets in my head — and stays. Keep dancing, my friend.
      Mega hugs right back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Olga. I was very much feeling my way into my process with the first one. So it means a lot to me that you’d say that. Huge thanks for visiting. Wishing you great success with “20 Things I’ve Learned from My Patients” https://www.amazon.com/Learned-Patients-aprendido-pacientes-English-Spanish-ebook/dp/B077R616CV/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511960810&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=olga+nunez+mirret

      You’re the cat’s meow. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

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