The Characters, Murder at the Bijou

It’s hump day and I needed a boost to get me through the rest of the week.  I avoid midweek posts, but I thought this might give me the lift I need.  When this song popped into my head (again) I knew I had to share.  Because I’m getting ready, ready, ready for the takeoff!  What I mean is the launch of Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.

It’s a Roaring Twenties culinary mystery.  It was spontaneously written as a “pantser” serial here at this blog.  Everything, event, and character in the story was inspired by things or ingredients the readers of this blog sent.  Now, as I’m closer and closer to takeoff I wanted to show you my concept of the characters.

Studebaker blue 1920s

Cast of Characters

PipBlue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer


The Three Things
gave us Pip (Paisley Idelle Peabody), the narrator of both story-lines. I was so fond of Pip, a flapper and aspiring “modern woman,” that I kept her around for The Three Ingredients. I added her grandmother, Granny Phanny, and the fledgling catering business so that we could have the culinary mystery theme.  The rest of the story is inspired by your ingredients.

The moment I stumbled upon a photo of a very young Lucille Ball, I imagined the voice of grown-up Lucy as Pip, telling the stories of her youth.

Granny Phanny

Margaret Sanger as GrannyPhanny Irene Peabody.  Granny is actually a “Pip” too.  Her given name was Phanny Irene, and when she married into the Peabody family her initials became P.I.P.  

I never found a photo that seemed like Phanny to me.  I only had a vague image of her in my mind, a woman with delicate features, but a backbone of steel. However, in a photo of Margaret Sanger, I saw Granny’s kind heartedness, firm resolve, and spunk.

From this point, I’ve listed the characters in order of their appearance in the story.

Alastair Wong

Sessue_Hayakawa_as AlastairThe very first ingredient (geoduck) was the inspiration for Alastair Wong.  The Wongs immigrated to the United States from England, and Alastair has a faint British accent.  Neither he nor his parents had ever been to China, though they dreamed of visiting and faithfully passed down family recipes used at Wong’s Chinese, their restaurant. Alastair is a talented businessman and chef.

Long time followers of this blog will recall that there are two Alastair Wongs.  The first one  you meet is the younger. Later, in Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers, you meet his grandfather, Alastair Wong the elder.

I had a small crush on Alastair, so his prolonged absence during the serial should show you that it really is guided by your ingredients.    :o)  

I think a vintage photo of Sessue Hayakawa could be Alastair — if I could find one of him in a less somber, brooding mood. Alastair certainly has a serious side but he also has a beautiful, ready smile.

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Arabella Wong1920s Vogue red hat

Alastair’s mother, Arabella also appeared in Episode-1 and she is mentioned a few times afterward. However, the ingredients haven’t led to a larger part for her… At least they haven’t yet. Only the ingredients can say!

A vintage Vogue magazine cover made me think of Arabella’s graceful elegance, though there has been little opportunity to describe her.

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Byron and/or Bradley BinghamtonNiven as Binghamton

The Binghamton brothers are actually “walk on” parts.  However, when I started looking for character images, I wasn’t sure where the ingredients might take them. So I’ve included them anyway.

Byron is the owner of the Bijou Theatre. That setting is where our storyline began, when “the dead man” was found.  Bradley Binghamton, Byron’s lookalike brother is seen much later.  They were minor characters, but necessary to the story just the same.  Something tells me that there might be some sadness in the history of the brothers, and this shot of David Niven in “The Bishop’s Wife” could be either of the lookalike brothers.

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Cracker Jack DaddySpeakeasy_Stories-July

Jack Daddy was a minor character who was fundamental to the storyline. His nickname was Cracker Jack because he was a skilled safecracker and a mobster.  Maybe he was not 100% bad if he was Cracker the Parrot’s “daddy.”  However, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure.

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vintage bunnyCinnamon Bun

When I received “cinnamon” as an ingredient we got Cinnamon Bun, a Flemish Giant Rabbit with reddish fur.  You recently saw his back-story in the vignette, Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit.  The veterinarian, Vincent Vale gave him to Granny Phanny. She adores the oversized bunny, and so does Cracker the Parrot, who often brings Cinnamon Bun treats.

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Dabney Daniels

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adWe also meet Detective Dabney Daniels of Savannah’s finest. The moment I saw a vintage ad for Arrow shirts, I had an image for Dabney. He has known Granny Fanny for some time, and helps her with heavier work around her cottage. Dabney seems to take an interest in Pip, letting her ride along for part of the murder investigation and work at cataloging evidence. Is Granny trying to push the two together?

Detective Daniels has been patient with Cracker, even thought the parrot bit his ear. He shows concern for Granny, and for his fellow law enforcement officers. Though he seems emotionally distant to Pip’s way of thinking.

Vincent Vale

Christopher Timothy as Vincent ValeOur veterinarian is Vincent Vale.  He has broad knowledge and training for a veterinarian of that era, including acupuncture.

Vincent seems like a gentle soul. He rescued both Cinnamon Bun and later Cracker.  Together, he and his wife Veronica built an impressive medical facility for animals of all types.  Who else would I imagine as Vincent Vale but “All Creatures Great and Small” actor, Christopher Timothy.

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Cracker

Parrot in flightThe ingredients included “graham cracker” and of course that gave us Cracker the parrot.  Granny Phanny resisted liking that “nasty bird” for quite a while.  But Cracker’s unexpected devotion to the injured Marshal Moses Myrick won Granny over.

Cracker is a most unusual and clever bird. The one thing we can expect from this parrot is the unexpected.  Cracker learned many things related to the various mysteries in this storyline through her association with Cracker Jack Daddy, her late owner. When Vincent Vale examined her, he said Cracker was about 40 years old, so we can only guess at the scope of the parrot’s life experiences.

She definitely has opinions about the humans in the story. Cracker took a dislike to Dabney Daniels, perhaps associating him with the death of her “daddy.” But she loved Moses Myrick and the rabbit, Cinnamon Bun from the very start. It took her a while to win Granny Phanny’s affection, but she did. Cracker seems to like Pip and the poodle, Cotton. And she at least tolerates Hank Hertz.  However she shakes her foot as an expression for her disdain of “The Joker.”

Veronica Vale

1920s woman scientist-microscopeThe pantser writing of this serial also brought us the wife of Vincent Vale.  Mrs. Veronica Vale is an accomplished medical doctor and surgeon who has traveled widely. She is the most accomplished woman Pip has ever met. At Pip’s determination to be a “modern woman” Granny introduced her to “the real deal.” Veronica’s intelligence is matched by her good nature and sense of humor. Both the doctors Vale are caring, generous people.

She performed emergency surgery on Marshal Myrick after he was ambushed by the bootleggers. Vincent is a veterinarian, rather than a “people doctor” but he proved his skill too during the operation. Granny revealed yet another skill, acting as surgical nurse.

Marshal Moses Myrick

Barrie Craig adventuresOne of the ingredients was “peas”… and we got Moses Myrick.  Go figure, right?  That’s just how my brain works. Pip was distrustful when she unexpectedly learned that he’d known her grandmother for a long time, and apparently quite well. So her first reaction to Marshal Myrick was less than positive, “He was very polite and all, but I couldn’t help thinking what beady little eyes he had.  Green eyes… like little peas!

I saw an ad for a vintage detective story, and thought the man could easily be Moses Myrick. He wins Pip over, and Cracker likes him right away. He seems to have an affinity for the parrot… and a history with Granny Fanny.

Queenie WetsonJoan Crawford as Queenie Wetson

The Queen of Clubs is introduced halfway into the story.  I was looking for a vintage queen of clubs card, when I found celebrity playing cards. Guess whose picture was on the queen of clubs?  Joan Crawford. From that moment, there was no other choice for Queenie Wetson.

Hank Hertz

Hank Hertz or Hugo Johnstone-BurtA reader wasn’t thinking when leaving ingredients for me. I faced a challenge. I try not to put restrictions on your ingredients, but one of the items was microwave. I knew it was meant as the microwave ovens we use today, but as I suspected, my research showed they had not been invented in the 1920’s.  However, scientists had long known about microwaves. That gave us a new character, Hank Hertz.

Our Hank is the fictional grandson of Heinrich Hertz, who proved the existence of radio waves back in the late 1880s. So the “microwave” ingredient gave us Hank, who is a wizard with the police radio. It also led to more layers in the mystery — Since the gangsters were using  open radio transmissions (microwave brought us to radio waves) they used code names.

As I visualized Savannah’s youngest policeman I thought of a TV actor who could easily play Hank — a slightly younger version of Hugo Johnstone-Burt who played Hugh Collins on “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.”

Daisyvintage queen of the may

In a planned (or technically correct) story I would not add new players so late in the tale.  However, the spontaneity unexpectedly led me to new characters — including Daisy.  Also called The Dainty Dish, Daisy was the second Mrs. Henry Kingston. Her story was a local legend, according to which she was given to him as a payment for a gambling debt, but Kingston fell madly in love with her. Her story line continued into the next serial.

Mr. Farceur

The domineering major domo was also introduced late in the story.  At first I saw him as a stodgy old Black Butler 2man… but then the ingredients suggested that he could be an interesting complication to the story.  That’s also when his name came along.  Maybe his name, Farceur, is significant, or maybe it’s a red herring — only the ingredients know for sure!

For a moment he had been a nameless, faceless butler. When a classic anime character pinged into my mind, I indulged myself with the image of “Black Butler” Sebastian Michaelis.  How could I resist?

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So there you have it — most of the characters for the soon to be “book-ized” Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-I.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Back to a Pug in the Kitchen — Granny Phanny & the Giant Rabbit

Update

I finally got around to making Suzanne’s “Creamy Spring Turnip Soup.”  I know anything from A Pug in the Kitchen is going to be delicious, but I confess to being lukewarm about turnips.  I say that for the non-turnip lovers in the crowd.  I always take shortcuts in cooking, so I know my versions won’t be as good.  So imagine my pleasure when, even in my clumsy hands this soup was stand-up-and -cheer delicious! 

Preparing to Launch…

This spring I plan to book-ize the second serial story, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients I.   As I get ready for the takeoff, I’m doing a few collaborative posts with people who blog other topics — combining my stories with their respective talents.  Since Murder at the Bijou is a culinary mystery, I am particularly happy to do another joint post with the fantastic chef, Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen.

The post is already live at her blog.  Click here.  I appreciate those of you who have already left comments there.  pug memorial candle

First, here’s Suzanne to introduce our special purpose with this collaboration.  Go ahead, Suzanne…

Another delightful installment from the joint collaboration with writer/author extraordinaire Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, we planned this post to occur in March, Women’s History Month.  We’ve come a long way baby and every month, week, and day should celebrate women and our contribution to society, this country, our families, and communities. I am woman hear me roar.  Well that is a little cliché I know, but we are empowered and accomplished and strong and proud of how far we have come.  It amazes me that at one time women didn’t even have the right to vote.  In some countries women are still considered objects of disdain, almost subhuman, and of less importance than their male counterparts.

I also am including a recipe that I posted years ago for a spring turnip soup.  You may turn up your nose when you read “turnips” but honestly this soup is delicious.  I use Hakurai turnips, which appear late winter and early spring at the local green markets. They are crisp, sweet, and mild — making an outstanding soup!  The soup is topped with some crumbled bacon and the turnip greens, which are sauteéd in the bacon fat. For vegan and vegetarian option all you do is eliminate the bacon and use vegetable broth or water. For vegan option of course you would not use the cream but you can sub a non dairy option of your choice.

Creamy Spring Turnip Soup With Wilted Greens And Bacon

(Bacon is optional for my vegetarian friends)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 heaping cups turnips peeled and quartered (Use the small spring turnips if possible)

1 potato peeled and quartered (I used Yukon Gold and it’s Optional to use a potato)

2 cups leeks (cleaned well and sliced) or use a medium size onion or 2 shallots

4 1/2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable or water)

2 tbs butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

4-6 slices bacon

Turnip greens cleaned VERY well

In heavy sauce pan heat a little olive oil, add the leeks or onion or shalot and sweat, cook just until tender don’t brown. Add the turnips and potato, now add the liquid (broth or water). Cover and cook until the turnip and potato are tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes and blend either in your blender or use the immersion blender. Note: If using an immersion blender remove some of the liquid you don’t want the soup too thin, you can always add it back in. Add the butter and cream and season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.

Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the fry pan and add the greens to the bacon fat, season with salt and peppper and saute until the greens are tender and wilted.

To Serve:  Garnish the soup with the wilted greens and crumbled bacon.

suffragettes-in-white

When I asked Suzanne for an ingredient to use in a story for this collaborative post, right away she said turnips.  Every time I hear that word I think of the “Cinnamon Bun” character from my serial, Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients-1 (which I mentioned at the beginning).  That story is in the timeline right after The Three Things Serial Story.

Many of you are familiar with my flapper character, Pip.  However, this time the story is told from the point of view of Pip’s grandmother, Phanny Irene Peabody.  (Yes, Granny was also a Pip.)  I thought that was appropriate since March is Women’s History Month.  Granny lived during the height of the suffragette era, and she was a woman to speak her mind.  It’s also something of a back-story for Cinnamon Bun.  I hope you enjoy the story as much as Suzanne’s recipe!  Although that’s a lot for me to live up to…

Granny Phanny and the Giant Rabbit

“The only true woman is a pious, submissive wife and mother, concerned exclusively with home and family!”

Even more irksome than the words themselves was the fact that they were uttered by a woman.  I was glad that I had already left the building.  Otherwise I might have lost my temper.  What business did anyone with that opinion have at a women’s meeting in the first place?

suffragettes-marching

In 1920, Georgia was the first state to “reject” the Nineteenth Amendment, which assured women the right to vote.  It was two years later before women actually got to vote in my home state.  Long after that, we were still suffragettes, working for equal rights.  We still wore suffragette white to our meetings.

That intolerable statement was immediately followed by the resounding crack of a slap across the speaker’s face.  I cringed, knowing full well who had likely delivered the smack.  I turned on my heel and hurried back inside.  Veronica Vale was no meek little lamb.  She was a force of nature when her righteous wrath was incurred.  I tried to make my way through the pandemonium to my friend.

1920s woman scientist-microscopeBy the time I got to Veronica, I could hear police sirens.  A quick look around told me several attendees had slipped quietly away, including the woman who spoke the words that started the trouble.

“It was all planned,” I muttered.  “That bunch wanted to make trouble from the minute they asked to join.”

Not much later a handful of us — enough to make an example, but not so many as to cause the coppers much trouble — were hauled down to the police station.  A group of men stood laughing and cat calling while we were hustled outside.  My cheeks heated in a blush.

Detective Dabney Daniels of the Savannah Police got a tip that something was going to happen.  By the time the paddy wagon reached the station, he was already diffusing the situation.

“Miss Phanny,” he began with a smirk and a shake of his head.  “I wish I could say I was surprised to see you,” he told me before turning to Veronica Vale.  “Mrs. Vale your husband is already here.  You’ll be released into his custody.”

I knew that “custody” statement wouldn’t sit well with Veronica.  She was a doctor and a scientist, not some man’s property.  No matter how good the man.  For years Veronica Vale had worked at a hospital in England called Clapham Common.  It had an all-female staff.  She retired and returned to Savannah.  Then she met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice.

Before she could complain, I blurted out my puzzlement.  “Dabney, how could you know…?”

“I’d like to claim powers as a mentalist, Miss Phanny.  However, Dr. Vale had just arrived to pick up someone else,” the handsome detective explained as chaos erupted elsewhere in the station.JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar ad

Detective Daniels quickly excused himself and walked toward the sounds of people shouting.

Veronica gave a downright evil chuckle.  I looked a question at her and she laughed out loud at the expression on my face.

“Phanny Irene Peabody,” she said.  “You are indeed a Pip.  I suppose you’ve never noticed the way that young man looks at you.  He probably doesn’t care a whit for the turnips  you’re always giving him, or the meals he gets in return for fixing one thing and another at your cottage.  Tsk-tsk.  Phanny, that young copper is smitten with you.”

“Veronica, don’t be ridiculous.  You couldn’t be more wrong.  Dabney is just a goodhearted young man,” I told my friend most emphatically.

Another crashing sound and men shouting prevented her from talking more of that nonsense.  How absurd.  I was old enough to be that boy’s mother.  We might enjoy one another’s company, but there was nothing more to it.

“Hi, Honey.  Are you hurt?” Vincent Vale asked his wife as he skidded to a stop.  As Veronica shook her head he turned to me.  “Mrs. Peabody, are you well?” he greeted me politely.Christopher Timothy as Vincent Vale

Veronica assured her husband that neither of us had come to any harm.  I noticed Vincent held some kind of harness.  There was more shouting, and then the veterinarian pelted away toward the commotion.

A moment later we heard Vincent shout.  “Got ‘em!”

However there was another crash.  I heard dull thumping noises.  The sound was quite rhythmic, and coming closer.  Veronica and I exchanged puzzled looks.

I stuck my head around the corner and gasped loudly.

“I must be seeing things.  Else I’m just plain zozzled,” I murmured.

Veronica craned her neck to see what had stunned me.

“Well horsefeathers!  In all my born days…” she began.  “A Flemish Giant.”

“Flemish?  Bushwa!” I exclaimed.  “You’re hallucinating too,” I mumbled.  “Somebody spiked our tea a little too much at the women’s meeting.  Or else I’m looking at a cinnamon colored rabbit that’s three feet tall, sitting on his haunches.”

I crouched down, befuddled.  The big bunny hopped over to me and nuzzled my hand.  I scratched between his impossibly long ears.  I helped hold the big bun still as Vincent got the harness around him.

“This big ole boy decimated Godfrey Gilley’s garden.  Dug up every turnip he had,” Vincent commented.  “When the big bun headed toward his grocery store, Godfrey was so upset that he called the police saying there was a bear in his yard!” the veterinarian laughed.  “Trouble is, I’m not sure what we can do with him.  We’ve taken on so many animals lately,” Vincent admitted, but cast a pleading look at his wife, who gave a resigned sigh.

My face ended up against the giant rabbit’s soft hair as Vincent adjusted the harness.  I found that I didn’t want to move.  My fingers sank into the plush fur.

“I’ll take him,” I spoke up, and questioned my own sobriety again.  “Oh good lord, but I need a hutch for him.”Vintage rabbit driving

I hadn’t noticed that Detective Dabney Daniels was standing beside us.

“Don’t worry, Miss Phanny.  I can take care of a rabbit hutch in a jiffy,” Dabney said.  “Even one big enough for this miscreant,” he added with a grin.

Veronica elbowed me sharply in the ribs.  She gave me an I told you so look and winked.

“He’s sweet on you,” she whispered into my ear.  “So what if he’s younger.  He’s a damn fine figure of a man!”

“Absolutely no!” I told her so fiercely that everyone looked askance.

Fortunately I was spared from an explanation because of Veronica’s loud bark of laughter.

The Vales offered to drive me home.  I got into the automobile with Vincent and Veronica, and of course the rabbit.  Dabney bent down and promised to come by to start on the rabbit hutch that evening.  Veronica wriggled her eyebrows at me.  I gave her a withering look, then turned and smiled at the detective as I thanked him.

“What was all that about?” Vincent wanted to know as we drove away.

Veronica had no inhibitions about sharing her embarrassing speculations to her husband, despite my denial. 

“It simply will not do!” I told her, my patience close to its end.

“She means that dear,” Vincent said.  “You might want to leave it alone before your sense of fun hurts your friendship.”

“You’re right,” she agreed with a sigh.  “I’m sorry Phanny.  I just want to see you happy.”

“I am perfectly happy as I am.  Besides, I told you that my granddaughter, Pip, is coming to live with me.  I’ll have my hands full, teaching her to cook,” I reminded my friends.  “I can’t wait for you to meet her.”

The End

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Thank you all for visiting. If you’ve already been to this post at A Pug in the Kitchen then double-thanks.  Happy St. Patrick’s weekend.  I’m still wearing my green!

St Patricks Day Vintage

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Pip Sees a Pug – in the Kitchen

Note:  I’m having persistent computer>Internet problems.  So my availability to return comments may be limited.3-things-cover_3-2016

Some of you have already seen this post at Suzanne’s blog, A Pug in the Kitchen.  However,  I wanted to share it here too.  I have done a few collaborative blog posts with her, and we have a ton of fun.  Thanks for doing another joint post with me, Suzanne! 

When Suzanne said she could do a dog treat recipe, I thought of my character, Wriggles. What serendipity that the pug character was inspired by Suzanne’s blog!

However, first I want to share the wonderful recipe Suzanne provided, and her ever so kind introduction.  Homemade dog treats — Percy is one lucky pug!  I’m going to hand this over to Suzanne (and Percy) at A Pug in the Kitchen.  Take it away Suzanne!

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I LOVE collaborating with Teagan on a blog post, it’s fun and I truly love her work.  The recipe for dog treats is a copy cat version of Sherman’s Barkery’s Cheesy Num Nums. Percy gives these two paws up.  That says a lot since he is Mr. Picky!  There are only a few simple ingredients.  They are super easy to make and are a great treat for our fur kids.

Blogging should be fun otherwise it becomes work, and integrating Teagan’s whimsical and delicious writing with my food is exactly that. Thank you Teagan for the story, giving me a creative boost and making blogging fun!!

Copy Cat Cheesy Num Nums

Makes approximately 2 dozen depending on size

1 cup oat flour

1 cup barley flour

1/2 cup whole oats

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup cheddar cheese

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup +1 tbs spring water

Mix all the ingredients together until it is a cohesive dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Roll or press the dough to about 1/2 inch thick and cut into the shape desired. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top of each cookie and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thank you, thank you Suzanne!  You know… those dog treats look awfully good.  I wonder if I could talk Percy out of a few…  Probably not!

Wriggles was introduced in the third of my blog serials, A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients-II.  In that story he was a new dog for the character, Arabella Wong.  However, this vignette takes place prior to that story.  So I made Wriggles a puppy and gave him a different owner.

Only the first serial is available as a novella right now, The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story.  I’m still on track for springtime “book-ization” of  Murder at the Bijou, Three Ingredients I.

Anyhow, once again here’s a story from the Three Things “universe” with Pip as narrator.  Did you ever get the feeling you’d have to be “hit over the head” with something before you finally got the message?  Well, that was true of Pip.  I hope everyone enjoys this tidbit.

Pip Sees a Pug… or Four

“Floyd?  Hey, Floyd!”

That was definitely him.  The last time I saw Floyd — which was also basically the first time I saw him, the police were putting him into the paddy wagon when they arrested some bootleggers.  Yet there he was on a side street in Savannah.

Maybe it had all been a mistake, I thought hopefully. 

After all, Floyd was as sexy as the Sheik of Araby.  Then I remembered how rude he had been to me and Alastair Wong.  He didn’t seem sexy at all before that thought even got halfway across my noodle.  However, he heard me and looked over his shoulder.Sheik of Araby

“Well now, aren’t you a choice bit of calico,” Floyd said as he turned to walk toward me.  “Oh, it’s you!  You’re a real bearcat, but you’re bad luck,” he said.  “Go chase yourself,” he told me and spat on the sidewalk.

I know.  I should have ran the other way and not even called out to him.  However, in the small Florida town where I grew up, if you saw somebody you recognized, then you said hello to them.  I don’t remember what I meant to say to Floyd when he started to continue on his way, but I opened my mouth to speak, taking a step toward him.

Floyd shoved me and kept going.  Unfortunately I also kept going — backward.  I slipped, fell, and cracked my head.

pugs-4-smoking-vintage

I think I was actually unconscious for a minute or two.  Then I felt something wet wiped across my face.  When I opened my eyes, the world was a spinning blur.  I saw a little pug dog.  It licked my face.  It was wearing a top hat and bow-tie, and smoking a cigar.  As I gazed at it uncomprehendingly I realized there were four of them.  However, when I held my hand out toward the dog, I seemed to have an uncountable number of fingers.  So I figured there was only one dog.  I wasn’t sure what to think about the hat and cigar.

The sound of a police whistle prompted me to try and sit up.  There hadn’t been any “mistake” about the coppers hauling in Floyd.  He had probably escaped and they were after him again.  A voice intruded on my thoughts.  I realized it had been trying to get my attention for a while, but it was hard to hear it over the bells ringing inside my head.

“Huh?” I mumbled, looking for the source of the voice.

“Young lady are you hurt?” asked what must have been the world’s oldest woman.

Her face was so covered in creases and crow’s feet that it was impossible to imagine what she must have looked like in youth or even in middle age.  Even so, bright eyes shown sharply from between the wrinkles.pugs-2-vintage

Despite her fragile appearance she took my arm in a vice like grip.  She put her walking-stick in my hand.

“Wriggles, get off the poor thing!  That’s a good boy.  I’m sorry, he’s still a puppy.  Here dear.  Use my cane to help yourself up,” she said but proceeded to help me up with unexpected strength.

Once I was on my feet, if shakily so, I looked at the pug.  There was only one of him.  The hat and cigar were gone.  That much was a relief, but he still wore the bowtie.  It bothered me that I wasn’t sure whether or not the tie was really there.

Moments later I sat at the kitchen table in her tiny home.  It was a good thing she lived right around the corner.  I was dizzy and my head felt like it had gotten in the way of a sledgehammer.

A young boy “helped” us get inside her backdoor on the pretext of getting a cookie.  However, she gave him an errand.

“What’s your name, dear?” she asked me as she handed me a cup of tea. 1916-good-housekeeping-woman-tea-cup

I noticed the cup had been cracked and repaired.  The one she used for herself had a chip in the rim.

“Pi… Paisley Peabody,” I stammered, still shaken.

“Peabody?  Would you be kin to Phanny Peabody?”

“Yes ma’am.  That’s my granny.”

“Billy,” she addressed the little boy.  “Take another cookie and run down to Miss Phanny’s house.  Let her know her granddaughter is here.”

Billy’s eyes lit up at the prospect of helping.  Although the extra cookie didn’t hurt.  He took off like a rocket before I could protest.

“Yes ma’am, Miss Olive,” Billy exclaimed as he disappeared.

The pug, Wriggles barked as if he picked up and shared the boy’s excitement.  I reached down to pet him and the little dog wagged his tail so hard that his entire back half wagged along with it.  The woman handed him a treat which was gone before I got a good look at it.

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“Paisley, I know you’re from a small town,” Miss Olive began.  “You come from honest, trusting folk.  But in this day and age, a young lady alone has to be careful.  Now, you tell Miss Olive if that man did anything he shouldn’t, you hear?”

I shook my head and immediately wished I hadn’t.  “No.  I recognized him and just meant to say hello.  It would have been rude not to,” I replied and was rewarded with a smile.

The elderly woman patted my hand.  I put my nearly empty teacup on the table and thanked her.  Miss Olive took my cup and swirled the dregs looking at the contents curiously.

“You haven’t gotten off to the best start here in Savannah, have you Paisley?” she commented consolingly.  “But you will make good friends here,” she swirled the tea again and a smirk, a smile she seemed to try and suppress came to her lips.  “And you will have grand adventures.”

I heard the sound of Granny Phanny’s Model-T outside.  Wriggles lived up to his name as he yapped to make sure his lady knew she had company.  Miss Olive put the tea kettle back on the stove.  I felt comforted by the entire scene.  Safe.

The End

***

Thanks for visiting — from Suzanne and Percy, and from me too.  Mega hugs!

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Three Things Book Talk at Kev’s

Three Things Serial Story — Book Talk

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Welcome back everyone!  If you were wondering, this post already went live at KC Books & Music.  I wanted to leave a gap before posting here.  If you’ve already visited there, thank you!

Kevin Cooper ever so kindly asked me to take part in his Book Talk at KC Books & Music.  How could I possibly resist?  So please go visit his amazing blog too, that’s important to me.  I’m re-sharing the post here, so that it will be in my own library.  Okay, here goes!

My debut novel was Atonement, Tennessee.  It’s an urban fantasy with a dash of mystery.  However, as most everyone here knows, over the holidays I “book-ized” one of the serial stories from my blog, The Three Things Serial, a Little 1920s Story.  You can learn all about it here.  Anyway, that’s what I want to bring to Book Talk. 

Characters from my stories will get into my head at the oddest moments.  It might go something like this…  

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Young Lucille Ball as Pip

Hey Sheba!  What-cha doin? 

Akkk!  OMG, Pip.  You scared me half to death.  I nearly knocked my laptop off the desk.  Couldn’t you give me some warning before you pop into my head?

Oh applesauce… What am I supposed to do, ring a doorbell?  Oooo you’re online shopping, huh?  Are you seriously getting a hat with cat ears?  That’s not what I’d expect.  It’s the  cat’s pajamas though.  Tee-hee, get it?  Will you write one for me in my next story? I’m tired of my pink cloche.

Burned toast.  That’s what the scent was.  I sniffed the air and stood up behind my desk as the odor was suddenly much stronger.  My pink cloche hat fell to the floor.

“Oh, applesauce!” I muttered as I quickly scooped it up and brushed off the nonexistent dirt.  The hat was brand new.

Paisley Idelle Peabody, why are you in my head?

You sound like Granny Phanny.  What did I do to make you use my full name?  Come on, I know you’re a flapper at heart.  I’m just having fun.  Wait, where’d the cat hat go?  Your computer is on a different site.  Ah… KC Books & Music.  Looks like the bee’s knees!

Young Lucy pensive

Young Lucille Ball

It is “the bee’s knees” and so is Kev, who runs the website.  I’m supposed to be there talking about your novella, The Three Things Serial Story.

Did you tell them about it being spontaneously written?  Every element of the story came from “things” your blog readers sent.  I gotta tell you, that kind of uncertainty was pretty darned scary for me!

You came through it okay though, Pip.  Don’t grumble, and for heaven’t sake don’t give the nice people here any spoilers. They might want to read your adventures.  Maybe you didn’t get everything you wanted, but having you grow up some is part of the story.

It still gives me the heebie jeebies to know that even the 1920s setting and me being a flapper came from those “things.”  Your mind must work in strange ways if you got all that from oscillating fan!

Well Pip, I can’t argue with you there.

1920s Fan

Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  The noise chipped away at my preoccupied mind while I absently gazed at the quiet street below.  It was Sunday, so hardly anyone was out.  A little boy in a cowboy costume came around the corner.  He pushed himself against the brick wall of the building across the street and peeped back around its edge at his unseen playmate.  Then he jumped out with arms spread like a bear to startle his friend, and quickly disappeared from sight.

Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  Tic, tic, tic, grunt.  The sound drew my attention away from the window.  Some would find the low repetitive noise hypnotic, perhaps even relaxing.  To me however, the sound was becoming downright annoying.  A dust bunny skittered out from a corner, propelled by the breeze of the oscillating fan.  The stirring air brought a familiar scent to my nostrils and I looked toward the door.

Do you really imagine the voice of a grown up Lucille Ball as the narrator when I tell my stories? 

Yes Pip, from the very beginning.  But only the narrator parts.  For instance right now, or when you’re in dialogue in a story, I imagine the voice of a young woman.

One who sounds like a young Lucille ball?  Did that come from a “thing” too?

No.  It was just there.  What’s that look on your face about? I don’t have an answer for everything.

Aren’t you going to share more of my adventures with these Sheiks and Shebas?  Tell them when.

As you would say, Pip — I pos-i-lutely am.  “Murder at the Bijou, a Three Things Serial Story” will be published this spring.

Is that where I—

Pip, spoilers!  I think we’ve probably talked enough.  We wouldn’t want to tell too much.

Bye folks.  Don’t take any wooden nickles!  It’s time for this flapper (and the writer too) to scram!

Thanks for visiting, everyone.  Drop by Kev’s blog. Check out all the great stuff there, and say hello.  Mega hugs!

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Image by Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

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.

Three Things Serial Goes to Mars?

young-lucille-ball-pensive-peach

Young Lucille Ball as Pip

In my novella, The Three Things Serial – a Little 1920s Story, Pip dubs one of her friends “the astronaut man.”  That character is Andy Avis and he writes science fiction stories (hence Pip’s nickname for him).  He happens to have a gigantic crush on Mona.250px-Princess_of_Mars_large

In the novella, Andy is working on a re-imagining of A Princess of Mars.  That is a science fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Andy would cast Mona in the titular part as Dejah Thoris.

Now, that is not the focus of the novella — it is a very small aspect of the story.  However, I thought it would be fun to let you know more about it.  Science Fiction was coming into its own in the Jazz Age with silent films.  

Edgar Rice Burroughs, of course, became famous before the 1920s.  He published A Princess of Mars in 1912.  If you are interested, you can get the book free at Project Gutenberg.  YouTube boasts several offerings of the entire seven hour audio book as well.

I can imagine Pip having all kinds of crazy dreams after reading Andy’s screenplay. 

The red and green Martian armies likely battled through Pip’s slumber.  She might have drifted from the Edgar Rice Burroughs vision of Mars to become the Queen of Space in “Aelita, Queen of Mars” and fall in love  with an earth man (who probably looked a lot like Frankie).

Or she might have dreamed of going to a futuristic city with all her friends, Andy, Mona, Boris, and Frankie. “Just Imagine” how they might have envisioned the year 1980.  (No, this video is not from the 20s, but it is from 1930. Full movie.)

They sort of missed the mark there, but I guess that depends on how you look at it.  However, I continue to be intrigued by the number of modern ideas that existed in Pip’s day.  cracker-jack-ad-vintage

They didn’t have concession stands inside theaters back then, but there was likely a snack bar or cafe next door.  Some movie houses allowed vendors to hawk popcorn or peanuts in the aisles.  Horsefeathers, they probably munched on Cracker Jacks!

Here’s a recipe for Cracker Jacks from Add a Pinch, in case you don’t have a box handy.

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Thanks for taking this little jaunt through present-future-past with me.  Mega hugs!

 

Copyright © 2017 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

1920s Party — Three Things Serial Story

Three Things Serial 1920s Party!  

You’ve all made this Roaring Twenties party a huge success.  New guests keep arriving (be sure to meet them in the comments).  Everyone is having such a great time that I’ve decided to let this hootenanny continue through this weekend too!   So happy holidays to all you Sheikhs and Shebas!

Welcome! Come on in — join the fun.  We’re all dudded up in our snazziest clothes, ready to enjoy great dancing, food, and friends.  Yes, it’s a Roaring Twenties shindig.  So in a comment, leave a link to your books, blog, or to your favorite 1920s food, drink, or entertainment. That’s what makes the party.

ape-tuxedo-cigarDon’t panic!  That really is a great ape in his tuxedo, getting the buffet ready, but it’s none other than Chris The Story Reading Ape.  He’s dishing up the fruit cocktail, and yes, that is made with bananas!  

That’s Tess with him, putting some finishing touches on the Swiss steaks.  I see Andrea Stephenson has brought a delicious lemon meringue dessert.  Thanks for your help everyone.  It’s looking mighty tasty! You’re the bee’s knees.  

(Excuse me while I answer the door…)  KathrynCome in — let me help you with that steaming pot of Broccoli Cheddar Soup with Crab.  Let me introduce you to some other guests.

That lovely lady twirling her long flapper beads is 1920s Catering Menu-2Sally Cronin.  She’s adding the nut and cheese sandwiches she brought to the 1920s dishes on the buffet table.  Hey Sally, those red shoes are pos-i-lute-ly the cat’s meow!  

Oh great, there’s Kirt D Tisdale.  Hey Kirt — while you’re taking pictures, be sure to get one of Sally and those shoes.  You’re the berries. Thank you. 

Another styling flapper just arrived, it’s Mary J. McCoy-Dressel.  Mary, you’re a real Sheba with that fringe dress and boa.  And would you just look at how cute — a pup in a Roaring Twenties costume — It’s Suzanne and Percy the pug!  Goodness, why is Percy barking so frantically?  It’s as if he hears something that the human ear can’t…  He seems fine now though.

John W. Howell is looking spiffy too.  He offered to be bartender and he’s making “John Cannon” cocktails (read his trilogy for the hero’s favorite drink) with our bathtub gin.  Thank goodness, there’s Geoff with more olives for those cocktails.  bartender-vintage

What’s that you say Geoff?  We’re almost out of beer?  Well, it’s too early for us to be getting splifficated anyway.  But no worries, I’ll call Dan Antion.  Dan was going to photograph doors on his way, so I’ll drop a dime to his cell phone. He sure can pick a great brew, and I’m sure he’ll step on the gas, and get here before we run out.

Ouch!  Oh, no John, I’m okay.  There was a shrill sound when I hung up the call with Dan, that’s all.  Erm… but my cell phone is gone and now I have one of those “candlestick” telephones they used way back when.  What the Sam Hill happened with the phone switcheroo?  Why yes, John. A Gin Rickey would be a good idea.  Better make it a double.  Thank you, it’s delicious.  Love that tang of lime.

I hear a car outside.  Is that Hugh Roberts I just got a Glimpse of?  He and Colleen Chesebro , Tina Frisco, and D. Wallace Peach just got out of a ritzy Studebaker.  With that dragon hood ornament, I know the car belongs to Diana.  Hey Colleen, love your new hairdo! It’s the berries!  Come on inside everyone.studebaker1920_2

Who’s that in the middle of that big cluster of ladies?  Oh of course, they’re all stuck-on Lord David Prosser.  Thank goodness Olga is nearby — some of David’s admirers don’t speak English, and Olga’s a great translator.  She finally took a break from the dance-floor. Where does she get all that energy? 

Applesauce!  What happened to the lights?  The dark will be just fine when Teri Polen and Barbara get ready to tell ghost stories, but…  Oh good, they’re back on.  But wait, those aren’t my lamps.  They’re snazzy Art Deco lights.  I can’t help getting goosebumps at all these odd happenings…

Wow, just listen to that music!  Thanks to Lavinia  and Kev performing, the tunes are great and that’s no phonus balonus!  You two have been playing your hearts out. Take a little break and I’ll turn on the stereo.  

1920s Dance PartyHey! Hang on… my stereo is gone, but there’s an old Victrola where it used to be. Okay, it’s making great 1920’s music though.  Donna Parker is really cutting a rug with the Charleston.  Hi Donna — thanks for bringing the deviled eggs and tea sandwiches.

Oh, and the vision in fringe and sequins over there, that’s Inese.  I see she put down her camera to dance.  I wondered where Christoph had gotten to, and that’s him with Inese. Applesauce, can they ever dance!

I wonder if they could teach me?  Suzanne Joshi and Judith both offered to give me a break from hostessing.  Dare I try?  I’m such a klutz.  Holy Hannah! Where did all the hummingbirds come from?  They’ve caught strands of my hair, and the fringe of my dress, and they’re pulling me to the dance floor!  I should have known — the hummers belong to Janet.  Maybe the hummingbirds can disguise what a horrible dancer I am…

Ah! There’s Gerlinde and Cheryl with with trays of tasty cookies to tempt the dancers away from the floor.  (What do you mean I didn’t dance yet?  You must have looked away… Here hummingbirds, I’ll give you a cookie if you’ll play along.)  

For a little slow down from the Charleston, Christy has a poem for us.  Also Lavinia has shared one of her sublimely beautiful songs. Take a breather, relax and enjoy.

Now maybe I’ll read you an excerpt from The Three Things Serial Story instead of dancing…  Christine would you please point all these guys and dolls to the living room? There’s room for everyone to sit down over by the television.  What do you mean “What TV?”  It’s next to the computer.  What do you mean “What computer?”

Everything in this house is like the 1920s!   Quick, somebody open the door and look outside…  The cars have all been replaced by antique jalopies.  Everything outside is like the 20s too!  What?  Yes, I said I’d read to you.  At a time like this you want me to read?  All right then. Sheiks and Shebas, gather around.  Who’d want to leave the Roaring Twenties anyway?

Excerpt

Pip, Mona, and two of the Fabro boys get invited to a swanky outdoor party.  Here’s what Pip has to say about it.

3-things-cover_3-2016“Applesauce!  This shindig is incredible.”

It was almost a carnival.  The party was huge and spread out along the banks of the Santa Rosa Sound.  There was a band stand, and a wooden floor was set up where dancers did the Charleston.  I saw balloons everywhere.  Tables with white linen and silver were clustered beneath a brightly colored tent.  In other places blankets were spread for picnics.  Everywhere I turned there was something else happening.

Then I saw it.  The yacht.  It was breathtaking.  I knew there was no way it would happen, but I really wanted to see the inside.  I must have been drooling over it because a flapper stopped and giggled at me.

“Be careful if you go in there, hon.  Doctor Fred might put you under that microscope of his,” the flapper told me as she hurried past.

I drew a breath to call out to her.  I wanted to ask the girl what she meant, but she was already gone in a flash of fringe and sequins.  Then a Victrola started blaring out the song “Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue.”

Abruptly an idea occurred to me.  I clutched my pocketbook and felt it still inside — the bent key.  I never had been able to make out what was engraved on it.  The flapper’s voice and the word “microscope” rang in my mind.  Was there really somebody on the yacht with a device that would let one see tiny things?  Maybe they could read the faint lettering on the key.

***

The mystery only deepens when the gang gets aboard the yacht.—  Hold onto your hats!

I really must give special thanks to a few people now.  I was thrilled to see reviews of this “Little 1920s Story” from OlgaColleen Chesebro and Donna Parker. My heartfelt thanks to them and everyone who reblogged their reviews, like Chris Graham, Sally Cronin, Adele, and Christoph.  

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you enjoyed the party.  Remember to leave a comment with links to your books and what-not.  You’re all the cat’s pajamas.

…We now return you to the era or universe of your choice.   Mega hugs! –

 

Copyright © 2016 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book 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 from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

 

Three Things Serial Shout-Out

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#TuesdayBookBlog at Olga, Author Translator

Please click this link.

My little 1920s novella, The Three Things Serial Story, just got a lovely endorsement from Olga Núñez Miret.  Of course I couldn’t resist sharing!Olga Núñez Miret

Please drop by Olga’s blog to say hello — comments are there.  Check out her extraordinary collection of books too. 

Stay tuned here as well.  You’re all cordially invited to a 1920s party. It begins here on Friday.

You’re the berries!3-things-back-cover_2-jpg