Guest Blog Post…
When I first started thinking about the costume shop mysteries, the most important questions became where would they be set? I already had a series set in Pennsylvania, Texas, and California, the three states that I knew the best. I wasn’t in the mood to pick up and move someplace new, so that meant I had to get creative.
Requirements: a different state from one I’d already written about. One that was close enough that I could go to for inspiration and local flavor. And an area that I could re-imagine with a fictional town. It was with those requirements in mind that I looked at a map. Of the California-adjacent states, I chose Nevada. Back when I’d worked for the clearance division of a major retailer, the store manager of our Primm, Nevada store told me that you could walk to the end of the parking lot and stand with one foot in California and one foot in Nevada. I’d never lived close to a state border, but that idea stuck in my mind. A little bit of research netted me another interesting fact: scofflaws from California often head for the Nevada border in order to avoid California jurisdiction. What a perfect place for a mystery series! And even better, once you cross the California state border, it’s forty miles to Vegas. That’s forty miles of desert and small town sandwiched between the golden state and sin city – the perfect spot for me to plunk down my community of costume-wearing residents.
I spent four days in and around Primm, exploring desert roads, local taverns, and mom-and-pop shops. I met a woman who claimed to communicate with the dead and sat in the chair Clark Gable sat in while waiting for Carole Lombard to return from a war tour (she didn’t return; her plane crashed close by where I’ve been told you can still find pieces of the wreckage). Away from the glitz and lure of gambling, I found people who didn’t care much that Las Vegas was only forty miles away. And that was the basis for Proper City, Nevada – not a replacement for Primm, but an additional town on the California/Nevada border, one that was named for a fictional prospector who gave up all of his vices when he struck gold. Find out more about Proper City, Nevada in A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR!
A DISGUISE TO DIE FOR, A Costume Shop Mystery
By Diane Vallere
Berkley paperback, $7.99
Feb. 2, 2016