Saturday, May 19, 2012

What's For Dinner by Evelyn David

The author of Murder Off the Books, Murder Takes the Cake, Riley Come Home, Moonlighting at the Mall, Zoned for Murder and The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries e-book series, Evelyn David is the pseudonym for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett.

Marian lives in New York and is the author of eleven nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics ranging from veterans benefits to playgroups for toddlers! For more information on these books, please visit her web site at

Rhonda lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is the director of the coal program for the state, and in her spare time enjoys imagining and writing funny, scary mysteries. Marian and Rhonda write their mystery series via the internet. While many fans who attend mystery conventions have now chatted with both halves of Evelyn David, Marian and Rhonda have yet to meet in person.

Please check out Evelyn's website at and their blog – The Stiletto Gang - for information about Evelyn David's appearance schedule and writing projects.

 Zoned for Murder -

First Book in the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries series

I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries -

First Book in the Sullivan Investigation Mystery series

Murder Off the Books -


What's for Dinner?
by Evelyn David

First, thanks so much to Kaye for her delicious blog, full of insight, laughs, and wisdom. We're honored to be a return guest. Neither half of Evelyn David has had the pleasure of meeting Kaye in person, but on the other hand, neither half of Evelyn David has met the other. Yep, ten years into our writing partnership and we still haven't been in the same room together.

But as we've all learned, the Internet provides a remarkable opportunity to forge friendships. So maybe it doesn't seem so odd that Rhonda and I started planning a dinner party, even if we wouldn't be together for the event. But that's okay because our guests, we each got to invite three people, were our favorite sleuths, gathered around our virtual table, munching and chatting about constantly stumbling over dead bodies (somebody mentioned the Cabot Cove syndrome they all seemed to suffer from). The dinner was hosted by Maggie Brooks, the intrepid reporter, reluctant sleuth of our new mystery, ZONED FOR MURDER.

Marian, the Northern half of this writing duo, invited Mary Alice Sullivan Nachman Crane, the hysterical, six-foot, 250-pound older sibling found in the wonderful Southern Sisters series by the late Anne George. Always the life of any party, Mary Alice could out-eat, out-drink, but not necessarily out-detect the guest to her left, Miss Jane Marple of St. Mary's Mead. An elderly spinster (do we ever actually know how old Miss Marple is, because old wasn't so old when Agatha Christie was writing those books), Miss Marple insists throughout the dinner that detecting is just a matter of seeing the similarities in people, regardless of the differences in circumstances. Marian's final guest is Precious Ramotswe whose No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency makes her the only professional sleuth in the crowd. MMa Ramotswe, sharing an after-dinner cup of bush tea, challenged the others to solve the case of a husband gone missing after a Baptism ceremony in a river.

Rhonda, the Southern half, invited Park Ranger Anna Pigeon from the series by Nevada Barr. Experienced in navigating the wilds of the National Parks, Anna was at a distinct disadvantage in the fictional village of Milford, New York, a suburb of the Big Apple. She passed on the tea, suggested they open a bottle or two of red wine, and reminded Maggie Brooks to give her a call the next time she investigated a crime scene in the woods. Maggie nodded but knew she'd never make that call. She just didn't have the physical endurance or luck to survive an Anna Pigeon investigation. Rhonda's second guest was Judge Deborah Knott from the series by Margaret Maron. Deborah was more than happy to take up MMa Ramotswe's challenge, after she returned a half-dozen telephone calls from her new husband Dwight and her extended family back in North Carolina. She reminded the group of the time she was missing for days – stuck in a wrecked car on the side of a mountain. The final seat at the dining table was filled by psychic Brianna Sullivan, the heroine of our on-going series set in Lottawatah, Oklahoma. Widow Maggie Brooks wanted to ask Brianna if her deceased husband Pete was haunting the house, but decided if he was, she didn't want to know about it.

"I really can't detect without my sister," Mary Alice declared. "Are we sure that the husband is really missing? Was he fully immersed or just sprinkled?"

"The ghost I'm seeing looks pretty dry except for the blood." Brianna pointed towards the doorway. "If I had to guess, something blew up in his face. There's black stippling on his skin."

"A gun! Was he a hunter?" The question was asked simultaneously by both the Judge and the Park Ranger. Deborah and Anna immediately got into a discussion over firearms and the statistics concerning the likelihood of being killed by your own weapon.

"No," MMa Ramotswe said, softly. "He lived in Gaborone, not on a farm. But the ceremony was in a river, filled with crocodiles and with dangerous snakes in the area. So you are surmising that this was a tragic hunting accident?"

"My last by-line concerned a fisherman who was killed." Maggie served a platter of Girl Scout Thin Mints. "Sorry about the dessert. I didn't have a chance to pick up the cake I ordered. My daughter is a terrible cookie saleswoman and I'm no better. I have a whole freezer of these stockpiled for a rainy day. I buy them and both Zoe and I avoid a lot of stress. We keep it a secret from the Girl Scout leaders."

Miss Marple accepted a cookie. She took a small bite and placed it on her teacup saucer. She'd declined the bush tea and had very reluctantly accepted a cup of Lipton's brewed from a teabag. Maggie heard her murmur something about "Americans."

The little old lady with the lace gloves spoke so softly, everyone had to lean forward to hear. "I wonder about the wife's role in the disappearance. Reminds me of a young maid in St. Mary's Mead who insisted that her boyfriend had disappeared, when in fact, she had killed him. I knew it the moment I saw how she had hung out the wash."

Maggie Brooks was confused by Miss Marple's comparison of the two cases, not to mention the concept of hanging out the wash. She resolved to look up St. Mary's Mead on Wikipedia. The evening closed with stories about bear baiting, moonshining, World War II spy craft, electronic voice phenomenon detectors, and a bare-bottomed Birmingham, Alabama landmark (which elicited a roar of laughter from Mary Alice and a quiet tut-tut from Miss Marple).

As the "all-knowing" narrator, both halves of Evelyn David sat back and enjoyed the party. We hope you have too.

We had fun imagining such a dinner party. But what it actually tells us is something that we, and all writers, know. Our characters are our friends. We know them as well, if not better, than people we know in real life. We can envision spending time with them.

Which sleuths would you like to see around the dinner table? Sam Spade and Nick Charles (with or without Nora and Asta)? V.I Warshawski (playing opera in the background?) and Stephanie Plum who brings a bag of Cheetos for the host?

Leave a comment and win a free download of I TRY NOT TO DRIVE PAST CEMETERIES, the first Brianna Sullivan mystery.

Thanks again to Kaye – and with whomever you dine, may your meal be filled with delicious food, (fictional) murder, mayhem, and (very real) fun.


Jill said...

I have no idea who my dinner guests would be, but I thoroughly enjoyed your post! Can't believe that Marian and Rhonda have never been in the same room! I had no idea..that makes for a great mystery..Ha ha.

Earl Staggs said...

I think my dinner guests would be the two halves of Evelyn David. In the same room at the same table, at the same time. What a thrill it would be to see them meet for the first time. I'd also invite Kaye Barley, of course.

Evelyn David said...

Thanks Earl and Jill. Maybe Marian and I will meet sometime - but then we'd probably never get any writing done. Grin.

aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

for Women said...

Meanderings and Muses
Thanks for this great stuff!, It's rare to see a great blog like this one today, continue it , Best Regards

Patricia Stoltey said...

This is such a charming and fun post...and oh how I would love to have Miss Marple join me for tea. :D

Evelyn David said...

Thanks Patricia for the kind words about the blog.

jenny milchman said...

Ha ha! Great to see both halves of Evelyn David on Kaye's glorious blog. This post puts a whole new face on fan fiction--AND the concept of which fictional characters would you have to...tea?

Anonymous said...

I myself would love a dinner party composed of Evelyn David and all the authors mentioned plus Kaye, too, of course. I would even brew loose tea in one of my ceramic pots for Dame Agatha.