When murder in real life becomes fiction
April 5, 2016
THE “AKA PUEBLO DEL MAR” is the name I used for one of my ‘Bailey Crane Mystery Books.’ There are six titles in that series, and Murder in Pueblo Del Mar is the fourth book in the sextet. While fictional, this book was inspired by a true event in Rocky Point some years ago.
The ghastly murder in Rocky Point of an Arizona wife and mother happened a few hundred yards from my father-in-law’s villa. The good lady was on holiday with her husband and two children.
In writing Murder in Pueblo del Mar – A Bailey Crane Mystery, book 4, I built two of my characters from Bob Gerhandt, my father-in-law, and his wife, Diane. Bob and Diane had a beautiful villa which they had built to their architectural plans…unique for the area at that time.
They gave the villa a name – La casa de las campaῆas y de las mariposas (The house of bells and butterflies). So beautiful, It became a directional marker for people having trouble finding friends in the Las Conchas subdivision. 0n one side of the villa’s great room was the master suite.
On the other side were two guest bedrooms with access to a long curving veranda. The villa had three red-tiled turrets. The tiles for floors and showers were specially made for Diane – with bells and butterflies on the white facing.
From the veranda was a most glorious view of the Sea of Cortez. My wife, Julie, and I spent many happy weekends in that lovely villa…we called them ‘Bridge Weekends’ and the bridge game winners were usually Papason and his partner – me. (Papason was the nickname I gave to Bob.) Ah, the memories – cocktails on the sweeping veranda watching dolphins frolic in the sea, looking out at the far horizon, and listening to Placido Domingo and John Denver sing ‘Perhaps Love’ on a favorite CD.
I was in a familiar atmosphere, knew well the area, knew many of the details in the actual murder case, and knew some of the personal problems Bob and Diane were having, vis a vis Diane’s alcoholic consumption. So, as Bailey Crane is wont to do, he muses about the effects of his friends’ personal lives while helping Pueblo del Mar’s Chief of Police solve the murder case.
The true details of the mother’s brutal murder, the transsexual element in the case, and the US –Mexico pre-occupation with jurisdictional matters, are for the most part accurate in the book. Even, some of the fictional elements have validity. I am of course biased but I believe Murder in Pueblo del Mar makes for a darn good read.
A number of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ are fictionalized but inspired by actual cases and true events. You can easily find them all, plus seven other books at my website: http://goo.gl/nWMXm3
This blog is in part an ‘In Memorium’ for Bob and Diane, both now in a happy afterlife adventure – at least, that is my hope. The other part is an attempt to create a different kind of sleuth in Bailey Crane, one who stays tuned to a case but muses a lot with his alter ego about life’s many elements, his loves, his miscues, a sleuth that readers will like. I suppose the phrase is ‘cozy mystery’… For me, I get a lot off my mind.
Actually, I just want to write serious books that have fun elements with an amusing entertainment narrative and quality. So many times the characters ‘tell’ me where to put them and what action to give them.
Each of the six ‘Bailey Crane Mysteries’ stand on its own, but there is a progression in Bailey’s development.
One last point about Murder in Pueblo del Mar – A Bailey Mystery (book four of the series), I was fortunate to live for several years in Rocky Point (Puerto Peῆasco, ‘Pueblo del Mar’) on the Sea of Cortez and enjoyed the nostalgic feel of old Mexico.
That was after Bob and Diane had passed. The town is located about sixty miles from the Arizona border and a four-hour drive from Phoenix (or, less). The people are generous with their kindness, and ‘Kiko’, the mayor, is a fine gentleman who is making great inroads for tourism. I have met him and know he intends to do good things for Puerto Peῆasco.