Dorothy Cannell: Had a wonderful Malice Domestic spending time with old friends and hopefully making new ones. My husband Julian and I set off in the car 5 AM on Thursday, April 27th. We always leave at that inhumane hour so if traffic is relatively merciful we can fetch up in Bethesda by 5 PM. Why don’t we fly instead? Julian’s reply has remained the same over the years: “It gives us time alone.” This made sense when we had four children, but now that it’s just the two of us humans at home it doesn’t pass the credibility test and has to be hurtful to our dogs Teddy and Watson.
The truth is Julian finds the mammoth drive emotionally fulfilling, especially when mentioning it to our sons, both of whom wilt at the thought. When talking to people at Malice who have driven in from Pennsylvania or New York, he gets a self-deprecating smirk on his face. Unbecoming, but we all have our small vanities. A more convincing response would be that it provides Dorothy with a great environment for working.
No, I don’t pound away on as laptop as the miles slip by under the wheels, but I do some scribbling, usually on whatever scrap of paper I can root out from the bottom of my purse. More often than not a Hannaford’s shopping receipt. My creative source – highway exit road signs. A few years ago I noted one for Lamorna and thought great first name for a female character. And so came Lamorna Blake, a beautiful but vapid young woman in Murder at Mullings.
Here are some of my name notes from this trip and the images they provoked:
Havre de Grace – readily converts to Grace de Havre, an aristocratic woman struggling to maintain the appearance of wealth.
Rochele Pelham – attractive career titian haired woman.
Leona Teaneck – a tall, thin middle aged woman lacking a sense of humor.
Perth Amboy – a short, rotund young man wearing round gold rimmed glasses.
Hackensack – last name of a tall, rangy, bookish man.
I also, though less frequently, pluck out names for places. On this occasion I also noted:
Churchman’s Crossing – area on the outskirts of a village. Picture body found in a car on the verge.
Larchmont – a large country house with lovely gardens, possibly home of Perth Amboy.