Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Clue - Do by Cathy Ace

You’re organizing a writers retreat with some fellow authors. Friends, perhaps? Describe the plan, the setting, the food, the drinks, and the results. And, of course, who gets murdered…

Oh, what fun...I think. 

I'll admit I've never been on a writers' retreat...I'm not really a "retreat" sort of person, because, frankly, anything that takes me away from the company of my husband is something I consider very carefully, and I'm not convinced that trying to write anywhere but my known, home environment would go well for me.

Confession: the first advance I was ever paid (to write a marketing communications textbook, in 1994) was immediately spent on renting an apartment in Nice for three months, where I didn't even manage to finish the first chapter (too many distractions!). 

So...a retreat? Hmm...maybe not my thing.

That said - if "writers' retreat" is code for long weekend partying with people you want to spend time with, and then there's a murder mystery to solve, too...I'm your gal. Oh, and Husband will be coming along...just so we're clear about that up front.

Those who know me won't be surprised that my chosen venue would be a cruise ship...touring the Hawaiian Islands, please. This means the food and drink won't be my responsibility at all, as there's always anything and everything anyone could fancy available 24/7 on a ship, though I'd warn them to make sure the champagne list was comprehensive, and well stocked...because, well...champagne! 

Now then  -who shall I invite? Ack...there are so many people I would want to be there...but what if I leave someone out? This could be a nightmare, so I'm going to neatly sidestep that issue by only inviting...dead people!

First up - Agatha Christie, of course. Not only could she give us all surfing lessons (yes, she used to surf) but we could have fascinating chats about her time in Jordan and Egypt; I've visited the house she shared with her husband in the Jordanian wonder that is Petra, and have also been into the suite she stayed in at The Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Egypt. 

Next - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, because I would want to talk to him about his fascination with spiritualism, and learn more about how he plotted his Holmes works. I'd also love to ask him how he feels about all the works that now exists based upon his characters...I have a feeling his answers would be interesting.

Also - William Shakespeare. Probably not a surprise, and wouldn't it be wonderful for all the other guests to be able to quiz him about the way he used language? I think everyone there would be grateful to have the chance to thank him for his work - and I have a feeling he'd be amazed to discover the impact he's had not just upon the field of drama, around the world - but on the English language we use today. Also - he's a bit of a whizz when it comes to anything involving buckets of blood - so handy to have around if the ship ends up littered with corpses.

If I could persuade him, I'd risk inviting Georges Simenon. I realize we might not see much of him, because he'd probably be off  bonking anything that would let him, but I feel I could learn a great deal from him about the writing process, given half a chance.

If prising Simenon off any willing female takes some of our time, we might also have to spend a bit more dragging Dylan Thomas away from the bar - though maybe that's where we'd all be in any case  because whatever ship you're on, the best bar (in my experience) is always outside, on the top deck, at the stern - you get fresh air, drinks, and the wonderful wake to enjoy! (Bonus points for everyone having to give up caring what their hair looks like, because of the wind.) NB: I know Thomas isn't very murdery, but that's okay too.

To balance the male count here, I'm also going to invite Ruth Rendell and PD James, because - well, come on.. two fascinating women, who wrote genre-defining books, and both knew their way around the halls of power, the media, and publishing - lots of discussions to be had there. 

And, to round out this group - though I am desperately sorry either of them are available - I'm inviting Sue Grafton and MC Beaton. Two unforgettable women who created two unforgettable women - Kinsey Millhone and Agatha Raisin, respectively. When it comes to knowing how to give a protagonist longevity, they have a massive amount of experience between them.

This gives me five women, and four men - all of whom, bar one, are British! Gobsmacked? No, me neither. But that's not fair - so I gave Husband one pick, too, using my rules, and he opted for Robert B. Parker, who would be a fabulous addition to the group because...well, you know...loads of books, successful series across sub-genres, and Westerns too (all of which Husband likes). 

Since they're all dead, none of them can be murdered...there'll be no distractions, and we can all have a good old knees-up, BUT...I would make sure the cinema showed the movies "CLUE" and "MURDER BY DEATH" so we could all have a good laugh (and I'd also give all my guests the opportunity to watch any and all screen versions of their work they fancied - so we could all talk about that, too!) 

Sounds like my sort of party...for days.  

Wanna come??? 

 And maybe bring a book??

BSP: On Sunday Dru Ann Love will be revealing the cover of my 11th Cait Morgan Mystery, THE CORPSE WITH THE GRANITE HEART. Don't miss out! Sign up for my newsletter here, and get a private preview!


Terry said...

What a smashing list! And yes, I want to come. I'll bring snacks.

Susan C Shea said...

I'd be on awe-overload the entire time!

Josh Stallings said...

You had me at William Shakespeare. But toss in Dylan Thomas? Where do I sign up?

Cathy Ace said...

Hi folks - just discovered my responses didn't "take"! Terry - yes, snacks...LOL! Susan - me too! Josh - no need, just bring yourself!