Saturday, June 2, 2007

One of the writers in the writing workshop I honcho likes to write mystery stories. A character she thought up is named Steve Shovel ( Show-Vell ) Why that name?

" Sam Spade was taken, " she says.

Guida is very good at writing the kind of thing Raymond Chandler, Daishell Hammett, Robert Parker, Michael Connelly, Val McDermott, John D. McDonald, Agatha Christie and a long list of usual suspects wrote and are still writing.

Guida is one of the regulars. She's been coming to the workshop since I started facilitating it four years ago. It was like clockwork. If it was Wednesday morning at 10, Guida'd be there. Lately? She hasn't been there a whole lot. She's been missing. I asked last week, " What's the story with Guida? "

It was a mystery and I was looking for someone, maybe Steve Shovel, to solve it.

Turns out it was no big deal. Guida in the process of moving and that's been taking up much of her time. That's why she hasn't been coming to class. It's not like she's going to be the next woman MSNBC is going to have us all focus on.


Mystery stories. I love 'em. My favorite mystery writers are James Lee Burke, Peter Robinson, Michael Connelly and Randy Wayne White. I'm reading one of White's books now. Tampa Burn. White's hero is a guy by the name of Marion Ford. Doc Ford. He's a microbiologist who has on his eclectic resume a stint doing some covert work for the U.S. government.

The books in this series are set in and around Fort Myers, Florida. That's the area in which Donna and I have been spending some time in the past few years. Sanibel. Captiva. Fort Myers Beach. Estero Boulevard and Lovers Key.

I like reading books set in places I know. That's why I like Peter Robinson's books. His hero is Detective Inspector Alan Banks. Banks spends a lot of time in London, a city with which I fell in love back in the 70s.

Mystery stories. Laconic loners whose women don't ask them a whole lot of questions. That's my taste when it comes to summer reading. What's the story behind it? Why do I like mystery stories in which guys like Ford and Banks are the heroes?

Don't ask.

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