Crime Writer Halloween Guest blogs. Check them all out and the list of Halloween Mysteries. Today I welcome mystery writer Glynn Marsh Alam.
Glynn Marsh Alam, the author of the Luanne Fogarty Mysteries, lives in north Florida. Her seventh book, Moon Water Madness, is the winner of the gold medal in popular fiction in the Florida Book Awards. Her latest book, Tide Water Talisman, involves Katrina refugees who find permanent refuge on the north Florida Gulf coast. She has a literary novel, River Whispers, also in a north Florida setting.
Glynn Marsh Alam:
Thank the saints for Halloween. It’s one of my favorite holidays, one that brings to mind a chilly, dry twilight with fallen leaves sweeping down an empty street. The fine edge of something about to happen is there, and if you stare long enough, you’ll see the ectoplasm curl around the tree trunk. Spooks are afoot.
Take all these magical and ghosty feelings that have harbored themselves within you for years and add them to your mystery stew. It all makes for good murder. (Good murder? Is that an oxymoron?)
I write the Luanne Fogarty mysteries set in the north Florida swamps. They alone provide a perfect setting for all kinds of death. When it came to writing about mysteries around holidays, however, it was Halloween that grabbed me. It just kind of fits inside moss-draped darkness with water moccasins and alligators. That’s why Green Water Ghost, my sixth book (of eight) was born.
Tradition here in the South is pretty much like anywhere else in the USA with costume parties and trick-or-treat raids. Contrary to national media, most of the religious factions don’t consider it evil and devil worship. Instead they embrace it, often giving their own parties to keep young kids from tramping the dangerous streets. That’s what happens in Green Water Ghost. A church, on the edge of an ancient cemetery, joins in the fun. The cemetery just happens to be remnants of an old slave burial spot. It’s on private land, and the owner has begun giving tours.
Enter mischief. Someone is adding modern bones to the old ones. History preservationists and religious fundamentalists are fighting over the ruins, and a group of college students haven’t got enough to do yet. A collision is bound to happen. When it does, everyone from the local farmer to the Baptist preacher to the funeral director seem capable of making ghosts out of people.
I had great fun writing this book. Some may have a little trouble in spots where body parts get in the way, but these are necessary to story, not to mention the suspense. The book takes on a uniqueness, its own version of holiday horror. In other words, it uses local color to enhance the Halloween elements. Where up North, one might bob apples in a sort of harvest festival, outdoor supper on the ground (meaning long tables set up outside) with cheese grits, slaw dogs, and catfish would feed the goblins here. Sinkholes present danger to the temporary fairies and pirates. Draped moss in the distance appears to be human or something like it hanging from a limb. And when suddenly all the critters of the night hush their cries, we all know something is out there and wants in with us.
Luanne, the adjunct diver, takes to the water and the discovery of even more horrors. She knows these woods and makes her home amongst the denizens who live in them. In the end, Halloween darkness fades to dawn. She has put things to right, but the memories linger and the moss waits in the sunlight to once again appear as night ghouls.
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