It’s my pleasure to host mystery writer Carol Wright Crigger today on Birds and Books. This is her 4th China Bohannon mystery and a series well worth reading. I love mysteries with strong, independent women, especially when the setting is not in current times. China is a detective in the 1890s in Spokane, Washington; a time and place for a gutsy woman to prove herself. This is my kind of mystery series!
It’s time to get your protagonist out of her comfort zone. You want to present her with a challenge and you’ve given her the following choices: climb Mount Everest; run a Marathon; trek across the Sierra Desert with a tribe of nomads; or sail around the world alone. Which would China choose?
These are all daring choices, especially for an 1890s bookkeeper, although China Bohannon is a gal who’d rather sleuth than keep accounts. I doubt she’d climb Mount Everest because she couldn’t take her dog, Nimble. Ditto a marathon, since she’d probably have to carry the dog. Besides, it’s hard to run when one is constricted by a corset. Hard, although not impossible. She’s always up for an adventure and, because she’s a sucker for helping people, you’d find her trekking across the Sierra (Or Sahara) Desert with a tribe of nomads. Somebody in the group is bound to be in trouble. Most likely there’s a woman who has either been kidnapped or is running from someone trying to kidnap her. China, you see, seems to have a penchant for victims of abduction. And why not? She’s been abducted often enough to know how terrifying an experience it is!
If China could live in another time period, which would she choose and why?
Miss China Bohannon is a lady of independent nature. After her father died, her evil stepmother got away with claiming the fortune that was supposed to go to China. China even feared for her life. Instead of sitting around crying, she surprised her uncle, Montgomery Howe of the Doyle & Howe Detective Agency, by turning up and asking for a job. No charity for her. She keeps the books and earns her keep. Beyond that, she doesn’t see why she can’t be a detective. She knows for a fact she’s smarter and better informed than most men of her acquaintance. And she believes it’s past time women had the freedom to live and work as they please. China would never want to go back in time. The future beckons to her, but it’s her lifetime future. She’s determined to have her name on the agency door as a full partner, sooner rather than later.
If China could change anything in her life, what would it be and why?
The Doyle part of the Doyle & Howe Detective Agency is her uncle Monk’s partner, Gratton Doyle. Doesn’t it just figure she’d fall head over heels for him, while his feelings for her are questionable? China would like to know if Grat cares for her in “that” way, or if he’s just . . . um . . . friendly. She wants him to love her, but doesn’t know how or if she can make that happen. Furthermore, there’s bad blood between Grat and an officer in the police department over one woman already, and China doesn’t want to become the second. She’s afraid she can’t compete with the beautiful Fern Atwood in any way. Needless to say, she wishes Fern to perdition!
What do you and China have in common?
This one is easy to answer. We both love dogs, receiving comfort, joy, love and limitless amusement from our furry children. Maybe I should give China a cat, as well. A small creature for Nimble (China’s Bedlington terrier) to boss around and to nurture. Nimble certainly has her own personality. It would be fun to throw a cat into the mix; one that grows up big and bossy. I’ll have to think about it. What else do I share with China? Well, a love of justice and the idea there’s more than one way to achieve it. Sometimes it’s best if the method remains hidden from view. Let’s see, we both have a sense of adventure. A determination to take care of ourselves, even though we’ve both received a lot of help from our friends and family. A will to succeed.
If you and China had an argument, who would win and why?
I certainly hope I would win our arguments. The majority, anyway. I am, after all, China’s creator. I direct most of the actions she takes in her adventures. You notice I said “most.” She often has a will of her own and is apt to take off on some tangent I never expected. Sometimes I have to go along with her because she is, after all, the one living the story. I believe she’s more headstrong and set in her ways than I am, possibly because of the era in which she lives. I’m a product of my own times, more apt to adapt to quickly changing views, and more likely to concede certain points of argument.
What’s in store for China in your next mystery?
The next China Bohannon mystery (fifth in the series) takes pieces of Spokane history and twists it into a nefarious plot. Sepp Amsel, a wealthy German immigrant, (based on a real person although the rest of the story is a complete fabrication) has sent for a mail-order bride from the old country. He doesn’t get exactly what he asked for in this crazy story of bamboozlement, murder, and, as usual in a China Bohannon story, a kidnapping. And of course, somebody is out to get China. Thank goodness she’s a hard woman to kill! It’s set in a freezing cold winter, so I have the cast slipping and sliding everywhere. A couple new characters are introduced, we revisit some my readers have already met, and I expand upon others. I’m still pondering over the title.
Born and raised in North Idaho on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation, Carol Wright Crigger lives in Spokane Valley, Washington. Imbued with an abiding love of western traditions and wide-open spaces, Ms. Crigger writes of free-spirited people who break from their standard roles. In her books, whether westerns or mysteries, the locales are real places. A fan of local history, all of her books are set the Inland Northwest, and make use of a historical background.
Ms. Crigger is a member of Western Writers of America, and is a two time Spur Award finalist, in 2007 for short fiction, and 2009 for audio. Her western novel, Black Crossing, was the 2008 EPIC Award winner in the western/historical category.
FOUR FURLONGS BLURB: The Interstate Fair is underway in Spokane, Washington. Derby Day is fast approaching. Bunco men and pickpockets abound, and the racing commission has hired the Doyle & Howe Detective Agency to patrol the fairgrounds.
China is in charge of the Doyle & Howe office when a fourteen-year-old girl shows up seeking the detectives’ help in a case of what she says is murder. Neva Sue O’Dell’s jockey brother has been killed during a race, the horse he was riding—the dead-on derby favorite —lamed. Neva claims her mother and grandfather have been paid a lot of money to rig the race. Who paid them? Neva doesn’t know, but she wants China to find out.
It so happens China loves a challenge as much as she hates injustice. Nothing can deter her, not threats, physical assaults, or kidnappings.
Buy Link for Four Furlongs: Amazon: www.tinyurl.com/hz369fp