I love cozy murder mysteries that feature a parish priest and small towns/villages. All the series I enjoy feature a Roman Catholic priest. Fr. Brown Mysteries, Fr. Dowling Mysteries, here is a more extensive list. I wanted to write a cozy mystery series where the sleuth is Orthodox Christian, and American. It is not based in a small town, however. I am placing it here in my home city of Colorado Springs, CO. Our population as of 2016 is just under 500k (it has since gone over that number but I’m not certain as to what it is now). I live in a part of the city that feels like it is its own small town. As I develop the series, I will show the reader the differences between our part of town and everyone else. Here is an excerpt from book one. This is copyrighted. There is no authorization for anyone to use any part of this excerpt or the whole of it. Please be respectful of me, and the law. Thank you.
It was Wednesday, a fasting day and vespers was later tonight. She would add a special prayer for Anatol in front of the icon of St. George, that his killer would be caught swiftly. She had tried to come into her home as quietly as possible but the small amount of noise she made still managed to awaken her sleeping beasts. Two black cats, one with green eyes, the other with yellow watched as she took out a veggie wrap she had made that morning in anticipation of afternoon hunger. Her tea now steeping, she sat down in her favorite wing backed chair near the large picture window that looked out on her backyard. The cats came and sat on the ottoman upon which her feet, tucked into warm socks, now rested. She had turned on her gas fireplace to ward off the afternoon chill. Cool fall nights had transitioned into cool fall days. A lap blanket knitted by one of the women from church, and purchased at the annual church craft fair last December, covered her legs. She perused the information she had collected in the notebook. She had drawn a rough sketch of where she thought, Anatol’s body had fallen based on the location of the pool of blood she had found on the floor of the barn that she had photographed using her cell phone. The pictures helped her remember what she had seen, but her drawings, and notes helped her to piece together what she suspected had happened. It was an ugly scene. Were murders ever cute? No, but this murder seemed especially brutal. Did the killer use the ax because it was there? Because it was convenient? Perhaps this person used the ax for its brutal efficiency? One thing is for sure, an ax was not easy to wield. It would take a certain amount of upper body strength and familiarity with the motion of the swing to hit one’s mark with the least amount of blows. If the person swinging the ax had missed on their first attempt, it would have given, Anatol time to defend himself and/or to call for help.
She looked down at the two black puff balls of fur that had managed to creep onto her lap as soon as she finished her wrap and tea. Her green eyed buddy was called, Jerome, or Jerry for short. He was named after St. Jerome who came to the aid of a wounded lion. The lion was so grateful, he never left the saint’s side. Barbara had had a similar experience with, Jerry. She rescued him from the streets where he has been treated poorly and was half starved. She took him in, fed him and he is constantly at her side when she is home. The yellow eyed cat, a girl, she named 50 after Psalm 50 which is in the Orthodox book of prayer (and of course the bible) was given to her by a family that had to move and could not take her with them. Her two faithful companions purred contentedly on her lap, helping her to relax.
As you can see, my sleuth is not the parish priest. She is the iconographer as well as a botanical artist . That’s it for now. I hope you all are having a wonderful Memorial weekend.