Saturday, September 05, 2009

What Flavor Weird Is Your State?

Please join me in welcoming the wonderfully funny mystery author, Jess Lourey. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at her latest release in the Murder by Month Mysteries series, September Fair, and it had me in stitches. If you love a funny mystery with quirky characters and creepy villain - this should totally be in your TBR pile!



Minnesota--land of 10,000 lakes, hotdish, blue-eyed blondes who talk like Sarah Palin you betcha, lutefisk, niceness, cows, walleye, and 50 shades of weird. I think it's the combination of long winters and poor TV reception that creates so many "quirky" people here, but whatever the reason, I'm happy for it.

You see, I write the humorous Murder-by-Month series, set in the very real town of Battle Lake, Minnesota. The whip-change weather and oddball personalities of this beautiful burg provide limitless material. Twenty-four-foot fiberglass statue of an Indian chief in the town square? Check. Lazy-eyed restaurateur who responds to a different name depending which side of you he's sitting on? Check. Octogenarian who fishes off the roof of the nursing home, 1 mile from the nearest body of water? Check. White food, white people, and a thick layer of Minnesota Nice over a blood-red vein of untapped anger, resentment, and corrosive boredom? In spades.

September Fair, the fifth book in the series, hits shelves September 2009, and it's the first book to leave Battle Lake, though it doesn't go far. Seems that Battle Lake, Minnesota, has provided more Princess Kays of the Milky Way than any other town in Minnesota. Princess Kay is a wide-eyed beauty annually chosen to represent the Minnesota Dairy industry. Sounds standard, but pay attention, because this is Minnesota. Princess Kay's first official act is to get her head carved out of an 11-pound block of Grade A, unsalted butter on the opening day of the State Fair in a spinning, refrigerated, octagonal, glass-sided booth. (I wish I was making this up.)

Everyone in Minnesota knows who Princess Kay is, but not everyone knows that Battle Lake has cornered the market, so when I heard this bit of news, I thought, what a perfect setting for a murder. Princess Kay, perky and blonde, gets murdered on the opening day of the State Fair while rotating in a refrigerated booth in view of hundreds of spectators. It'd be the first locked-butter-booth mystery in history. I had to change the title of the winner, for copyright reasons (Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, anyone?), and add a healthy dose of intrigue, humor (it writes itself), and suspense, and voila! September Fair is born. At $14.95, it's a cheap trip to Minnesota, minus the mosquitoes. :)

But we're not the only weird ones out there, right? What weirdness happens in YOUR state?

Jess Lourey
Murder by Month Mysteries
www.jesslourey.com

8 comments:

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Having just spent 6 weeks in Northern Minnesota this summer (and nearly every summer of my youth) I can so relate to this! I'll definitely have to look into this series :)

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, Jenyfer! Six weeks, hunh? You're almost an honorary Minnesotan.

M. said...

I love the premise - congrats on pioneering the dairy product murder mystery genre. And I live north of the border, where we know a thing or two about mosquitos and fish, also....

Brandy said...

Ooh, I am already intrigued with the sound of this book! And I live in SC, where quirky is met with "Bless your heart....". *G*

Gemma Halliday said...

I LOVED the heads made out of butter in this book. So funny. Here in Cali the word "butter" is almost as bad as "cigarette". But it's kinda hard to carve anything out of EVOO. ;)

~Gemma

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, M! I like that word, too: "pioneer." Especially when used in conjunction with "the dairy product murder mystery genre." Ha!

Jess Lourey said...

I love that southern attitude, Brandy! I'm bringin' it north. The passive/aggressive smackdown. :)

Jess Lourey said...

Thanks, Gemma, and thanks for having me! And if you get the EVOO cold enough, maybe you could make amoeba-carvings, or some such?