BOOK & BLOG
Decemeber 19, 2005
Books: Denise Swansons Scumble River books
Until I decided to write about Denise Swansons Scumble River books, I hadnt added up exactly how many shed written. I was startled to find that the seventh book in this excellent series will be out next year. The time does fly when youre having fun with Denises books.
I think I have them in order: MURDER OF A SMALL TOWN HONEY, MURDER OF A SWEET OLD LADY, MURDER OF A SLEEPING BEAUTY, MURDER OF A BARBIE AND KEN, MURDER OF A PINK ELEPHANT, and MURDER OF A SMART COOKIE.
Scumble River, Illinois, is the home town to which Skye Dennison retreats when she suffers severe personal and professional setbacks. Skye, a school counselor with curves, is a great character. (Shes the kind of counselor youd want your children to have at their school; caring, meticulous, and professional to her fingertips.) Unfortunately, when Skye left Scumble River to sample the larger world, she did a pretty good job of burning her bridges behind her, and the first two books are largely concerned with the amount of crow Skye has to eat to fit back into her original environment. Skye also has a host of relatives to complicate her life, to say nothing of the murders she stumbles upon.
I admit that part of my fascination with these books is because of the school setting. Skye encounters clueless parents, homicidal students, misunderstood kids, and a hostile administration as she struggles to do her best by the kids that are in her charge. Her father is largely inarticulate but loving. Her mother, though also loving, is fond of badgering Skye for her own good (as she sees it). Skye herself has a wry sense of humor that is often put to the test. Working her way through the murders that are around every corner in Scumble River, Skye also acquires two suitors whose jobs are really suited to her needs: the sheriff and the undertaker. Ive enjoyed watching Skye veer from one to the other, and I would put money on which one shell eventually pick.
Have a great time in Scumble River.
Im taking next week off, friends and readers. Not only will I have a slew of things to do, but Im sure my website person will appreciate some vacation time.
My house is decorated, my Snow Village is set up, and my sons are coming home from college. My daughter will be out of school on Wednesday, exams over and basketball practice suspended for a couple of weeks. My mother is coming two days before Christmas. Well go to Christmas Eve service at our little church. My best friend and her family will be coming for Christmas dinner. Weve split the cooking, so the day wont be as frantic as it sometimes is. Nothing out of the ordinary -- except that we are incredibly fortunate to have our homes and our family, unlike many of the victims of this years natural disasters. I am very aware of this great good fortune, and I hope I remember to be generous when charities knock at my door.
I wish all of you a beautiful holiday season. I hope the chocolate doesnt go to your hips, I hope your family doesnt quarrel, I hope your food doesnt burn, and I hope most of all that you look forward to the coming new year.
In 2006, I have a lot to anticipate. DEFINITELY DEAD will be out in May, and Ill be touring. I have a short story (Tacky) appearing in MY BIG FAT SUPERNATURAL WEDDING, which I believe will be out in June. In the fall, GRAVE SURPRISE will be published . . . if I ever finish it. If all goes as planned, the pilot for the HBO series will be shot. My oldest son will graduate from college, my middle son will go into the Army, and my daughter will enter high school. Theres no such thing as a dull year in my life, and I hope not in yours, either.
For now, as 2005 winds down, I hope you all are safe and content, and that your holiday brings you a lot of joy. Thanks for making this past year such a great one for me.
® 2010 Charlaine Harris