USA Today and New York Times, best-selling author, Lynn Cahoon is an Idaho native. If you’d visit the town where she grew up, you’d understand why her mysteries and romance novels focus around the depth and experience of small town life. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander. She lives with her husband and four fur babies.
Here’s what Lynn told me when I asked her, hey, what’s so so funny about murder?
Thanks for having me over to discuss humor and murder. There are two things you need to know about me to understand what I’m going to say.
The first is I’m a happy ever after kind of girl. I enjoy knowing that the dead guy I’ve just invested two hours in watching the heroine figure out the best, and sometimes, only way to kill remains dead. When Halloween changed all that with Michael Myers walking away in the final scene, my love of horror was broken.
Second, I grew up LOVING Monty Python. Yep, I’m one of them. My humor is sick, twisted, and best served with a bit of an English accent. In high school, Monty Python aired on PBS on Sunday night. So you knew exactly what people in my nerdy, bookworm, band geek group would be talking about on Monday. And if you missed the show, you had to have someone tell you what happened. Which was never as good.
Mix those things together and you have a writer who gets the joke when at dinner, the host reveals the meat you’re eating came from the much loved Eddie. (Any Rocky Horror Picture Show fans out there?)
Now, don’t get me wrong. I feel for real life murder victims and their families. But there’s a reason I don’t watch the evening news. And when I read, I don’t read true crime or books that are based in reality. I want fantasy. And fiction. And that’s also what I write.
When a dead body shows up in my books, you can bet the victim probably did something to deserve their fate. Not always of course, but they really are the best victims to write.
My sister told me at the dinner table this summer that if she ever showed up in my books, she would know I was mad at her.
I told her only if the character was murdered off.
She didn’t find it quite as funny as I did.
If you really want to read gritty, ugly murder with a moral attached, pick up the original Brother Grimm’s fairy tales. Blackbeard’s new wife who uses the key to open the door she never should have opened? The little girl who finds the bird who is the soul of her brother, murdered by the new step mother? You won’t be able to sleep.
I’d rather read a story with a heroine (or hero) with a dark, twisted sense of humor. And have the bad guy get his judgment at the end.
And if you can throw in a Monty Python joke at the end? You’re my new favorite writer.
If the Shoe Kills
The tourist town of South Cove, California, is a lovely place to spend the holidays. But this year, shop owner Jill Gardner discovers there’s no place like home for homicide. . .
As owner of Coffee, Books, and More, Jill Gardner looks forward to the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers. But when the mayor ropes her into being liaison for a new work program, ’tis the season to be wary. Local businesses are afraid the interns will be delinquents, punks, or worse. For Jill, nothing’s worse than Ted Hendricks–the jerk who runs the program. After a few run-ins, Jill’s ready to kill the guy. That, however, turns out to be unnecessary when she finds Ted in his car–dead as a doornail. Officer Greg assumes it’s a suicide. Jill thinks it’s murder. And if the holidays weren’t stressful enough, a spoiled blonde wants to sue the city for breaking her heel. Jill has to act fast to solve this mess–before the other shoe drops. . .
“Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true.” –Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries
The holidays were supposed to be a time of goodwill, celebration, and community. You couldn’t tell it from the glares going around the table as Mayor Baylor talked. Earlier, the leader of our little town had the group eating out of his hand. Then all hell broke loose. Focusing on the uproar going on at the Business-to-Business monthly meeting, I wondered if the shop owners gathered around the mismatched tables had even seen the calendar. As South Cove’s council liaison, I volunteered my shop each month for the meeting. I’m Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More, and president of the I-Hate-Mayor-Baylor Club. A red-faced Bill Simmons, chair of the business council and owner of South Cove Bed-and-Breakfast, stood at the front of the table, trying to get the group to quiet down.
Aunt Jackie issued a shrill, earsplitting whistle, two-finger variety. My aunt could make me smile even in the worst situations. She’d been a rock the last year during all the craziness that had been my life. Now I didn’t know what I’d do without her help with Coffee, Books, and More. Or without seeing her on a daily basis.
The room finally quieted. I’d been the city council liaison with the business community in our little coastal California tourist town for the last five years. I’d never heard this kind of uproar over a mayor’s mandate before. Maybe the Honorable Mayor Baylor was losing a bit of his power over the group.
“Look, I know it’s a bad time for many of us to take on a charity project, but think of it this way, you’ll have an extra pair of hands for the season.” Bill pulled out what he’d thought would be his trump card.
“I don’t understand what you’re all so upset about. I got you free help for the busiest season of the year.” Mayor Baylor glared at me, like their reaction was my fault. “These people want to work. We need to be charitable in our attitude.” This time, his scowl was full-on directed at me.
I put on my sweetest smile, the one I saved for the few customers I truly didn’t like. “I’ve already signed up the coffee shop to participate. How about the rest of you?”
“Not all of us have South Cove’s finest working part-time in our shops.” Darla Taylor, owner of the winery and editor of the local news for the South Cove Examiner, sniffed. “I heard he couldn’t place these losers anywhere else so Ted paid the mayor to take on these stragglers.”
“That is totally unfounded speculation,” Mayor Baylor blustered, his face turning a bright shade of scarlet. He turned his stare from me to Darla. “I hope I won’t see anything close to that being reported in the Examiner.”
I turned my head so no one would see my smile widen. As one of the local media, Darla’s nose for rumors was spot-on. Ted Hendricks, program director for Bakerstown’s welfare-to-work program, had come to our tourist town of South Cove with an offer. Ten participants would work for eight weeks with a local business in an intern capacity. South Cove was their last chance.
The mayor’s gaze shifted down the table, landing on Josh Thomas, a strong Mayor Baylor supporter. Except even I could see that His Honor wasn’t winning any points with his friend today.
“Delinquents. You want me to let a delinquent run wild in my store. Talk to my customers and probably scope out my merchandise so they can rob me blind when I turn my back?” Josh owned Antiques by Thomas, the most recent business to open its doors on Main Street. Today, he pounded a chubby finger on the table.
“Of course, you’d have a problem with this. You don’t even know that they are kids, or if they had trouble with the law. Just because someone is down on their luck doesn’t mean they are a bad person,” Sadie Michaels shot back. Sadie, owner of Pies on the Fly, was my main supplier of desserts for the coffee shop. And a strong advocate for the underdog in any fight.
We’d gone down this path before. Josh and Sadie rarely saw eye to eye on any discussion. For my part, I liked the way she called him on his prejudice and narrow-mindedness. Bill tried again to short-circuit the argument he saw developing. “We don’t have time for a political discussion on the topic. This is a done deal. They’re coming today for the initial meet-and-greet with a walk through town.
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