Missy Jenkins Musical Mysteries
|Posted on June 14, 2016 at 12:30 AM||comments (129)|
The second book in the Missy Jenkins musical mystery series, "Death in 3/4 Time," takes place in December of 1979. The following excerpt is from Chapter One:
The sparkle of ice on the bedroom window softened the deep blue of the winter night. She glanced at the clock on the nightstand. Two a.m. With her husband on a business trip and her teenagers spending the night with friends, this was her opportunity to indulge her secret passion for ballroom dance.
Taking a deep breath, she inhaled the cool, clean pine scent of the Christmas garland looped around the upstairs bannister. Lilting strains of a Strauss waltz played softly as the woman's slippered feet slid noiselessly across the hardwood floor. Head tilted to one side, embracing an invisible partner, she glided to the rise and fall of the waltz rhythm. One-two-three, one-two-three. Her heart soared with the freedom the music instilled in her. As she twirled, the pink chiffon skirt of the ball gown swirled out like an airy puff of cotton candy, then settled back around her shapely calves. The neckline was adorned with marabou feathers that fluttered gracefully in time with the rhythm of her movements.
Behind her, the lid to the chest containing her ball gowns was propped open. Once, long ago, she thought she would become a dancer. But her husband scoffed at her love of dance, suppressed her joy. Her children who used to prance around the house with her as toddlers, ridiculed her as soon as their father's influence took hold. For many years she gave in and gave up. Now, with only a few weeks remaining of 1979, a new decade promised a fresh start for her. She had finally found the self-confidence to live the life she wanted, not what others demanded of her. She had shared her secret with someone she could trust, and a weight had been lifted.
She thought about the wasted years. A rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows had marked her married life. Marital bliss had soon eroded into lies and infidelity. When her son was born, she devoted herself into becoming the perfect mother. After her daughter was born, a failed suicide attempt sent her to the psychiatrist who prescribed the drugs that had ruled her life since then. Manic-depressive, the doctor called it. Looking back, now that she no longer relied on the pills to get her through the day, she realized how overcompensating and overprotective she had become.
A loud noise jolted her out of her reverie. What was that? She turned off the music and listened intently. Nothing. The old feeling of paranoia welled up inside her. No! She closed the lid of the chest holding the gowns and waited. The hall was dark, the house bathed in silence. A few months ago, she would have said that withdrawal symptoms were making her imagination run wild. But not any more. She definitely heard a noise. She started down the stairs.
|Posted on June 6, 2014 at 1:20 PM||comments (195)|
The first novel in the Missy Jenkins mystery series, TERROR IN DOUBLE TIME, is finally published on Amazon, Kindle and in print version. Look it up by title at either the Amazon or Kindle sites to buy it, or for a signed book, email me at [email protected] and I'll send an order form.
I'm especially excited about the cover photo because it's a snapshot I took in 1978 before the Three Mile Island accident. I was driving up the same stretch of road that I describe in Chapter One of the book, when I thought, "What an awesome view" and stopped the car to take that picture. I never imagined it would become not only historically important, but inspirational in my future as a writer.
Those of you living in the area today are familiar with the two stacks of Unit One sending billows of steam into the atmosphere. For one short year, between March 28, 1978 and March 28, 1979, those of us living near Three Mile Island watched the four giant towers in full operation. Some of us thought the nuclear power plant was the best thing to happen to our community; when the incident occurred, they still did not panic. Others thought it was an accident waiting to happen as soon as it went online, and when the incident did occur, were the first to point fingers. Still others had no opinion, or were in favor of the power plant, but when the incident occurred, panicked and ran. The best stayed calm in the face of emergency and helped others, no matter what their personal opinions. I hope I tried to portray all of these different reactions to a very difficult real, historical situation, which I used as a backdrop to the fictional situation I created with my mystery. The juxtaposition of a real-life TERROR with a made-up TERROR and a musical theme and a protagonist who is a music teacher is what led me to the title of the novel: TERROR IN DOUBLE TIME.
|Posted on November 5, 2013 at 12:24 PM||comments (83)|
Book Three of the Missy Jenkins series, KILLING IN QUARTER TIME, is underway as a NaNoWriMo project. What's that, you say? NaNoWriMo stands for the National November Writing Month when people across the globe get together online to try to write their novels (the goal is 50,000 words) in one month. It's daunting, I know, and it means I have to write close to 2,000 words every day. I'm not that disciplined. Some days I write more, but most days I don't. Some days I don't get a chance to write at all. This challenge will force me to follow a schedule (eeek!!) and not play so many games on the computer (boo!!) and get my novel done sooner than I would have before (yay!!) Wish me luck, and I'll talk to you again on December 1 (or 2nd, or 3rd, whenever I recuperate).
|Posted on July 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM||comments (1477)|
Hi. I'm Missy Jenkins, and I'd like to introduce you to my neighborhood, Twin Pines, and my family and friends. I'm a piano teacher, but I like to solve mysteries. Suzanne Flaig writes about me in her musical mystery series. MURDER IN MUSICAL MODE is a short story; some of my other adventures are novels. Here's the beginning of MURDER IN MUSICAL MODE, which will soon be available for sale in an anthology of Suzanne's short stories titled THRILLED TO DEATH.
Major Mode, Minor Mode,
Dorian Mode, Lydian Mode,
Musical Modes, Too Many Modes,
“I’m really excited about this new student,” Missy Jenkins said, between mouthfuls of chocolate cake. She sat at her best friend’s kitchen table, a fork in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
Ronnie Milner nodded, her short blond curls bouncing up and down like little Slinky toys. The two women had known each other since grade school in 1955 and now, in their thirties and with families of their own, they still lived in the same neighborhood. Hardly a day went by when they didn’t chat, either in person or on the phone. Their husbands called it gossiping, but Missy knew better. She was concerned about the welfare of the people who lived in her small neighborhood of Twin Pines, especially the children.
“Anyhow,” Missy continued, not giving Ronnie a chance to slip a word into the conversation as usual, “you know I love teaching the little ones, they’re so sweet, but this is such an opportunity, after all, kids are usually there because their parents sign them up, but an adult, well, they really want to learn, don’t they, and she’s at an advanced level, besides, so I can actually speak to her about things like modes, and chromatics, and…”
Missy stopped to take a breath and Ronnie finally had the chance to interrupt the run-on sentence. “What’s this gal’s name, Missy? How’d you get her as a student?”
“Her name’s Gina Martin,” Missy said. “She walked into Keynote Music last Wednesday, looking for someone to help her prepare for a recital. She’s a college student who just moved here from New York City. Can you believe it? I happened to be there giving lessons, and Steve Bordner, the store owner, recommended me.”
That evening, Missy sat in front of the TV with her husband, Dick, watching the eleven o’clock news. The lead story was about a young college student who had been brutally murdered outside of her dorm room, on the Middletown campus of Penn State University. Her name was being withheld pending notification of her family. The police had no suspects at this time. Anyone with information regarding this crime were asked to call the Middletown police department.
Missy’s breath caught in her throat until she thought she would choke.
Dick patted her on the back. “Are you alright? Do you need some water?”
She took a gulp of air and said, “I just started teaching a college student from the Penn State campus. What if it’s her?”
Dick’s hand moved gently up and down Missy’s back. “There are hundreds of girls over there, hon. It’s tragic, but I doubt it’s the same girl.”
Missy huddled closed to Dick. “This town used to be so safe. I grew up here in Middletown, and there never used to be so much crime.”
“I think it’s always been here, honey, you just weren’t as aware,” Dick said.
Missy shook her head. “I can’t remember all these murders ten years ago when we first moved to Twin Pines.”
“Maybe not,” he said, “but it’s 1979, and times have changed.”