Savings

Author Connie Knight Opens Up About Her Book: Cemetery Whites

Here is what Connie Knight has to say about “Cemetery Whites”:
Why
Does a Mystery Story Start in a Cemetery?
Connie
Knight
            “Cemetery Whites,
my first cozy mystery novel, begins in a family graveyard out in the country. History
professor Thomas Harrison, a black man, lies dead in a patch of white irises in
the Hargrove Family Cemetery in DeWitt County, Texas. He lies close to a grave
from 1875, where it’s rumored a second body was secretly buried under the man
whose name is on the tombstone. Heroine Caroline Hargrove Hamilton and her
cousin Janet, who have come to the cemetery to visit family graves, find the
body and call the police, starting the investigation of homicide.
            What was the professor from San Antonio looking for? Why
was there a shovel in his hand? Caroline and Janet become amateur detectives,
and the cemetery holds the solution to the murder mysteries—one from 1875, and
one from today.
            Those are the reasons the novel begins in the cemetery,
and the climax occurs there, too. Another reason has to do with my perception
of cemeteries—why I would want to create characters interested in them. I don’t
see them as ghoulish homes for vampires and ghosts. I perceive them as peaceful
final homes for people we knew and loved, places to visit and pray for their
souls, places where we can find spiritual communication between the living and
the dead.
            They’re also a source of family history. Names and dates
on tombstones contribute to genealogy. Some old cemeteries have been neglected
or abandoned, and they might be hard to find. Others are still in use and
well-kept, even as private family cemeteries. Sometimes historic societies take
on the project of restoring a crumbling old graveyard. One of these exists in
my book as well as the well-kept Hargrove Family Cemetery and the church
cemetery in San Antonio where Professor Harrison is buried. Also, there’s the
huge 103-acre National Historic Cemetery in San Antonio, which Caroline and
Janet visited and found another clue.
            In a murder mystery, funerals are often mentioned, even
if not lengthily portrayed. In Cemetery
Whites
, I now have to admit, cemeteries and funerals are more prominent
than I previously thought. However, there are other elements of life portrayed
in my book: a large family, new friends for Caroline, Janet’s children to look
after, an engaged couple, and a blossoming romance.
            Birth, marriage, death. Those are the dates on a
tombstone, and all of these things occur somewhere in my book.”

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