Monday, December 21, 2009

Guest Blogger Cathy Pickens

Today's guest blogger is Cathy Pickens, author of the delightful Southern Fried mystery series. Cathy lives in Charlotte, North Carolina now, but she sets her books in nearby South Carolina. A Southerner born and bred, Cathy's characters are true to her heritage—down to earth, salt of the earth, and just a little bit wacky.

Please join me in welcoming Cathy Pickens!

Christmas Reading Then and Now
by Cathy Pickens

Our old family photos include one of me, age 8, sitting beside the Christmas tree, wrapping paper and gifts scattered about, my bangs flopped over my eyes, my shoulders hunched over as I read the brand-new Trixie
Belden book in my lap.

Ah, those were the days, when most of any holiday break from school could be spent reading. Even now, picking out just the right book (or books, if I’m lucky to have the time) to enjoy for the holidays is a consuming task
for me.

This year was unusually easy. As soon as Molly’s review of the Brixton Brothers and the Case of the Mistaken Identity appeared on this blog, I rushed to the bookstore down the street for a copy. Hilarious! The good-natured spoof on the Hardy Boys Detective Handbook was only part of the story, but laugh-out-loud funny. And it reminded me how I’d wished
Nancy Drew had a detective handbook instead of a cookbook. But I digress.

If you have younger readers in your circle, give the Brixton Brothers a try. Even if you don’t have any kids who can provide a disguise for why you’re reading the book, get it anyway.

I also shared my latest favorite book with one of my sisters: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Oh, my, what took Alan Bradley so long to “discover” and write about Flavia? Any grown-up Nancy Drew lover will recognize her darkly humorous twin in 11-year-old Flavia. I can’t wait for
the next installment, if the voice is even half as fresh.

Then I moved to less humorous fare. I’d gone to a local bookstore to sign stock for the new paperback edition of the latest in my Southern Fried mystery series: Can’t Never Tell.

Everyone has been raving about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, so as a treat, I finally picked up a copy. By page 40, I was hooked. It was particularly comforting, as I read of 30 below zero weather in Sweden, to cuddle in a blanket in front of the fire.

For a holiday motif, I’ll have to re-read the opening scenes of Charlotte MacLeod’s Rest You Merry. Her professor-sleuth Peter Shandy and the holiday shenanigans designed to drive uptight neighbors nuts is one of my favorite mystery openings.

So what have you picked out for your holiday treat/reading? Or for gifts? Do tell us!

And I hope you are having a wonderful, joyous season full of plenty to
make the holiday bright. Happy reading!


JUANdelaCRUZ said...

your blog is very nice, so i will invite you to visit my blog

mybillcrider said...

Juan looks pretty weird.


Vicki Lane said...

Hey, Cathy -- I love Christmas afternoon with a new book. Calvin Trillin's ALICE,LET'S EAT was one favorite. I'm hoping to find something similarly entrancing under the tree tomorrow.

Merry, merry Christmas to you and to Molly, who brings us all these great guest bloggers!

Anonymous said...

Cool story as for me. It would be great to read a bit more about this theme. Thank you for posting this material.
Sexy Lady

Mary Kennedy said...

I'm a big fan of Cathy's books and would have posted something sooner, but I was out of town for the holidays. I love all books set in the south and I can really relate to the Southern Fried series, I lived in Kinston, NC for 15 years before moving up to the Philadelphia area. Really miss my Southern roots, but Cathy's wonderful books bring back a taste of home. Hope this series goes on forever!

Anonymous said...

I love Cathy Pickens! I also loved the Charlotte MacLeod books-thanks for reminding me of them.

Mary Kennedy said...

Cathy, I just finished Southern Fried--I love it!! Hysterical, and it really brings back memories. I'm doing a workshop for Liberty State Fiction Writers in March, and I'd like to mention your book when we talk about the importance of the setting. Your books are right on target.