Bruce Robert Coffin here at the helm of Maine Crime Writers, wishing all of you a very happy Groundhog Day. Hopefully, Punxsutawney Phil, that most celebrated of weather prognosticators, will see nary a hint of his shadow today, that we may be whisked away toward a much needed and early spring.
Speaking of spring, Malice Domestic is right around the corner and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate three members of our MCW family, Kate Flora, Jessie Crockett, and Barb Ross, for well-deserved Agatha nominations. Kate received a best non-fiction nom for Good Man and a Dog (with retired Maine Game Warden Roger Guay), Jessie’s nom was best historical for her novel Whispers Beyond the Veil, and Barb received a best contemporary nom for Fogged Inn. Congratulations to all!
By now you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with crime fiction or Groundhog Day. Well, I’ll tell you. Last Thursday, whilst drowning my sorrows in coffee and corned beef at a local haunt, I starting thinking about my scheduled MCW blog date of February 2nd and about how the more things change the more the stay the same. Naturally, as all mystery authors are prone to do, my mind drifted into the lives of Phil, his wife Phyllis, and their only daughter Phelicia. And I wondered what kind of mischief might arise that would throw their sleepy little hamlet at Gobbler’s Knob into chaos. Bam! I had it. What if Philippe, philanthropist and patent holder for tiny little marmot crampons, and owner of Blizzards, a local outfitter specializing in winter gear, decided to force Phil’s hand? What if Philippe wanted Phil to see his shadow, forever locking him in some Murray-esque perpetual loop, living out the rest of his days on February 2nd? To what depths might he stoop to to keep the season alive and profits soaring? Blackmail? Kidnapping? Murder?
Maybe Philippe would enlist the help of Philbert, a top hat and tuxedo wearing member of the Inner Circle and one of Phil’s most trusted advisors, to kidnap the lovely Phelicia and hold her for ransom. Who would come to the rescue? Perhaps Philomina, Philbert’s wife, who once dated Phil and still holds out hope that they will one day be together, slips a pill into phyllo dough while preparing pastry for Philippe and Philbert. But what would become of Phyllis?
A plot so twisted it’s guaranteed to make Hank Phillippi Ryan envious. I’ll bet you’re wondering what I might title such a literary masterpiece. How about Phive O’Clock Shadow…?
Happy Groundhog Day, everyone! Wishing you all an early spring.