Cabot Cove Syndrome

Remember Jessica Fletcher who lived in the small New England village of Cabot Cove? So many murders happened in that tiny town when Jessica Fletcher was around, it was a wonder she wasn't the prime suspect. It didn't get any better when she started traveling. Wherever she went someone dropped dead of suspicious circimstances.

My little town of Bear Creek where Deputy Tempe Crabtree is the resident deputy has some similarities to Cabot Cover in the sense that it's unlikely that many people would be murdered as has happened over the years in my books. Fortunately, Tempe is never on the scene at the time of the murder, she is always called in after the discovery.

We've had three murders that I know of and they happened over a long period of time. The first a book was written about it, Murder in California, and a movie from the book. It happened right across the river from where I live. A large ranch owned by a prominent family in Beverly Hills sits atop a hill. Right behind it is a guest house. The daughter of the family and her husband were staying in the guest house. The couple became friends with a man who ultimately became the daughter's lover and murdered her husband.

The next murder I heard about happened higher in the mountains at a lodge. The female owner of the lodge had become the lover of one of her employees, a handsome Indian. Her husband hired a killer who shot them both. The woman died, the Indian survived. Eventually the killer tried to blackmail the husband and was shot for his trouble. The whole story came out then and the husband went to prison.

One of the wealthier landowners was going around collecting rents from his various renters and had the money in a roll in his pockets. One of the male renters killed him, took him and his truck and left both on a country road. The murderer spent the money in town on silver belt buckles, expensive boots and the like. It didn't take long for the authorities to figure out "who done it."

I've used bits and pieces of the second murder in my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries.

Within the last year, two women who attended our church died within hours of one another under what many of us think were suspicious circumstances. However, the deputy who found the bodies declared them death by natural causes and that was that. No big investigation despite the obvious coincidence and missing medications at one of the victims' residence. This can happen because in our county deputies are also coroners.

Yes, I'm going to use this in a book--in fact it's the one I'm writing now.

Books by Marilyn


Cheryl said…
I never missed an episode of Murder, She Wrote when it was on TV. It's true, though, how many murders can happen in a tiny place. I like that you've been imaginative with what Tempe gets involved in.
April said…
Wow, what an incredibly interesting post, Marilyn! One always thinks that small towns are safe from such horrors, but they really are not.
Hi, Cheryl, I loved Murder She Wrote too.

Thanks, April, bad people live everywhere.
Vicki Rocho said…
I always thought Jessica Fletcher ought to be a suspect more often. Statistically speaking, it was way weird that she always happened to be nearby.

Anyway, it's cool your finding inspiration from real-life cases.

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