I suspect that one of the main reasons I find writing mystery novels so enjoyable is because they involve spying.
Not just writing about spying, which is fun, but actual spying. Watching people in bookstores, for instance, as I stand at my little table, waiting to sign copies of the Darby Farr mysteries, noting which sections the bookstore browsers go to and which titles they eventually choose.
Keeping an eye on strangers (hard to find in a small Maine town this time of year, but not impossible) and letting my mind create identities and stories for them.
Looking over people’s possessions as I work to sell their homes, noting which magazines they subscribe to, how many televisions they have, and what size the new Banana Republic pants in their closet might be.
My covert activities are nothing new. As a young girl I hid behind furniture and tape recorded conversations, often to my relatives’ chagrin. I formed a spy ring in my subdivision and we tailed people on our bikes and peeked in neighbors’ windows. We saw conspiracies behind every raised ranch, a double agent in every Country Squire station wagon.
Where did this love of espionage come from? I suppose Harriet the Spy could be to blame. I loved that book and would probably still would, were I to read it again. James Bond was big, and of course there was Drew. Nancy Drew.
Later, there were all those chilling Cold War books and movies, many of which still make my heart race. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, The Eye of the Needle, Gorky Park.
I’ve always had a penchant for keeping tabs on those around me, which is why I’m thrilled to announce my newest possession, the Live Action Coop Cam.
Thanks to my brother-in-law, I now have the perfect way to spy on some very suspicious characters: my flock of chickens. Jon Doudera’s gift of a tiny camera (hung out of pecking range in the coop) and a tiny television (within easy reach on the kitchen counter) means that I can now answer questions other chicken owners cannot, such as:
- Just what do those hens do on their roost all night?
- Is sitting in the nest box really for laying eggs?
- Why did the chicken cross the road? (JK, I can’t answer that one. Not yet anyway…)
So far, my covert coop work shows that some of the flock sleep with their eyes open. Do you think they suspect that I’m not just the person who shows up with yummy scraps every morning, but am a bona fide Poultry PI?
How cool! I didn’t know you had chickens. Can I call on you for expert advice about the rescue chickens in my WIP? Is your HenCam on line??
Edith — sure and not yet!
Stephen King calls writers the “secret agents of the arts.” I love that!
Not sure I’d be a fan of your chicken-cam, though. Might learn more than I want to know.
Ha ha! It’s when the cam leaves the coop that things will start to get interesting… hmmm… WWHD?