You probably know Carolyn Hart as the author of the Death on Demand mystery series. Or the Henrie O mystery series. Or the Bailey Ruth Raeburn mystery series. Or perhaps you've already latched on to the first in her new Nela Farley mystery series, What the Cat Saw.
But before all of those books, Carolyn wrote several stand-alone suspense novels, every one of them as superbly-crafted as you'd expect from this enormously talented writer.
Being the dear and generous lady that she is, she graciously agreed to share this guest post about some of those early books. Do not believe the rumors about blackmail. I would never do that, and I'm sure Carolyn has no dark secrets, anyway.
The great Spanish explorer searched for the fountain of youth, a cascade of magical waters always just beyond the horizon. Thanks to Oconee Spirit Press, I now know how to feel young and eager and fresh again even though those days are far distant from me.
I’ve been a writer for forty-nine years. THE SECRET OF THE CELLARS, a mystery for girls and my first book, was published in 1964. I began the book in 1963 when I was 27. My 50th book DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE, will be published in May by Berkley Prime Crime. If anyone’s counting, I am now 76.
But a wonderful thing happened when Oconee Spirit republished RENDEZVOUS IN VERACRUZ. This long ago thriller is set in Mexico in the late Sixties and drew upon the fall of 1954 when I was a freshman at Mexico City College, then located in Toluca, and later visits to Mexico with my husband. The college students in Rendezvous in Veracruz are drawn into danger when a coed living with other students in a private home oversees an odd surreptitious act by a young man waiting in the living area for his date to come downstairs.
As I reread the book when checking galleys, I once again felt as though I was eighteen and arriving in Mexico City with other American girls for our first taste of college and our immersion into the fascinating culture of Mexico. Though the characters in Rendezvous in Veracruz are fictitious, they lived the life we lived. The streets in the book are the streets I walked. The beauty of snow-capped mountains seen from the terrace of the college are the mountains I saw. The allure of the jungles near Veracruz is the fascination I felt when my husband and I took a bus from Mexico City to the seaside town.
Oconee Spirit offers me another peek into the past with its elegant reissue of FLEE FROM THE PAST, first published in 1975. FLEE FROM THE PAST is a thriller about a young American college student in Italy who is used as a pawn in a terrible crime. She disappears from Italy and rebuilds her life until the day the past catches up with her and she must dare everything to save herself and her little daughter.
FLEE FROM THE PAST doesn’t afford the personal reminiscence of RENDEZVOUS IN VERACRUZ but it marked a turn in my writing life and is my first adult novel.
I’m excited that both of these early books are once again available to readers, but RENDEZVOUS IN VERACRUZ holds a special magic for me. Now I know how to feel eighteen again . . .
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