Casey Feldstein has a reputation of not sticking with people, places or jobs, but in WOUND UP IN MURDER, she is still in Cadbury by the Sea, located on the tip of California’s Monterey Peninsula and is getting ready to put on her third Yarn Retreat. I think she is as surprised as everybody else that she’s still in town.
This time she is sure she is prepared for the yarn craft in her retreat. More of a problem is the other retreat going on at the same time as her retreat at Vista Del Mar, the hotel and conference center across from her house. The retreat is called My Favorite Year 1963 and basically it is as if that group is going back in time. For the weekend, they dress in clothes from that year, eat food from that year, hear music from that year, watch movies from that year and enjoy other activities connected to 1963.
Who could blame them for picking Vista Del Mar. The buildings are mostly over 100 years old, and the guest rooms are spartan and have no phones or TVs. The whole place has gone unplugged so there is no cell reception or WiFi. The TV has been removed from the social hall which is a gathering spot and serves as a lobby. The only way to make a call is to use one of the landline phones in a vintage phone booth. There is nothing to bust the illusion that they are in 1963.
Casey has a deal with the management that the 1963 people can join any knitting group held in a communal area. By the same token Casey’s people are welcome to join into some of the larger activities put on by the 1963 people.
I had a lot of fun looking through what went on in 1963 and what was popular. I used some of the real stuff and made up some things which I hope seem of that time. I really liked looking at the fashions. Every woman wanted to look like Jackie Kennedy with her designer suits and pill box hats. Women still wore white gloves. Looking at the old fashions I was struck by how good a lot of them still look due to their classic lines.
It was an interesting year for food. Julia Child started her TV show “The French Chef,” Coca Cola came out wit Tab and Fruit Loops cereal was introduced. Cream cheese was a big ingredient in food, so when Casey is asked to bake something for the 1963 people, she bakes cream cheese brownies. There is nothing dated how delicious they are and the recipe is included in the book.
1963 was before the British Invasion and the popular songs were more pop than rock. An example of songs from the top 100 for the year were “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby and the Romantics, “Telstar” by the Tornadoes and “Walk Like a Man” by the Four Seasons.
Movies ran the gamut from Hitchcock’s “The Birds” to Perky Doris Day’s “Move Over Darling.” Sean Connery was James Bond in “From Russia With Love.” Gary Grant and Audrey Hepburn lit up the screen in “Charade.”
TV was black and white. Teens danced afternoons on “American Bandstand.” There were no exercise videos, but Jack LaLanne had a daily exercise show. You had to watch a show when it was on since there were no VCRs or On Demand.
If there hadn’t been a murder, it might have been a very relaxing weekend.
About the author
Betty Hechtman became entranced with mysteries through Nancy Drew’s amateur detecting and when she began to read Agatha Christie’s books, she was hooked. She wrote her first mystery story in high school. While studying fine art at Roosevelt University in Chicago, she wrote a weekly column along with news stories for the school newspaper.
After college she wrote scripts, magazine and newspaper pieces, along with short stories. Her first book was a young adult mystery titled “Stolen Treasure”. The idea for the crochet mystery series grew out of her desire to mix her love of making things with mystery. The paperback edition of the 9th book in the series, KNOT GUILTY, comes out in November. She is busy writing the 10th book right now.
She is thrilled to be mixing yarn and murder again in the national bestselling Yarn Retreat Series with WOUND UP IN MURDER. All the books in both series include patterns and recipes.
Website: www.BettyHechtman.com Facebook: BettyHechtmanAuthor Twitter:@BettyHechtman