When you are writing as a team, what could be better than to be inspired by the work of your teammate? Prudence Emery and Ron Base, collaborating on their first novel, Death at the Savoy, found inspiration in each other’s work—and more!
Ron Base: I must say, Prudence’s fascinating, entertaining memoir, Nanaimo Girl, inspired me a whole lot more than any other book I have read for a long time. Her memoir was not only well-written but highly entertaining, particularly when she recounted her years working in the press office of London’s fabled Savoy Hotel in the late sixties and early seventies. As I eagerly turned the pages, amazed by her life at the Savoy, I began to think, what a great place to set a mystery—a series of mysteries in fact!
Prudence Emery: In my case, my muse is Ron, or should I say “amuse.” His thirteen Sanibel Sunset Detective novels follow the often quite humorous adventures of a somewhat incompetent detective who’s prone to mishaps. They contain the mix of humour and suspense I thought would be perfect for Death at the Savoy.
Ron: Pru doesn’t realize it, but back in the days when she was a movie publicist and I was a freelance magazine writer, she probably had more influence on my professional life than anyone else. Thanks to her, I got to Israel to cover a movie she was working on, ended up in a snowbank in Barkerville, British Columbia, drank champagne with the legendary British playwright, John Osborne in Montreal, and, oh yes, most importantly of all, thanks to her, I got kissed—really kissed!—by Ann-Margret in Toronto.
Prudence: When Ron called me suggesting we work together on a mystery novel, I wasn’t sure how we would approach it until I started to read his earlier novels. Those books were a great help in forming the character of our heroine, Priscilla Tempest, who inadvertently attracts trouble. I found Ron’s The Sanibel Sunset Detective Goes to London and his latest, The Sanibel Sunset Detective Saves the World, particularly helpful.
Ron: Okay, we’re writing a novel together. But who is our heroine? I was scratching my head a bit until I went back to Pru’s Nanaimo Girl. Aha! There she was in those pages along with just the right tone for our novel: breezy and fun, yet with an undertone of seriousness as well. Prudence in her memoir is the original plucky heroine overcoming the hurdles that life threw in her way. The character in Nanaimo Girl became the basis for Priscilla in Death at the Savoy. Is Prudence Priscilla? Well, that’s a mystery not so easily solved!
Prudence: As for other books, I’ve lately found inspiring, War Tourist features a real-life heroine in Hilary Brown. Hilary was the first female foreign correspondent for the American television network, ABC News. At the time she was very much the token woman in a man’s world. Beginning in 1973, and for more than 35 years, she reported from trouble spots around the world. She was one of the last journalists to be lifted by helicopter from the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1975 during the Communist takeover of South Vietnam. Her ABC report later appeared in the motion picture The Deer Hunter. Her memoir is a riveting account of a charmed life and extreme adventure.
Ron: Finding on Canadian bookshelves the sort of smart, humorous, sophisticated mystery that Pru and I set out to write is a bit of a challenge. We tend to take our mysteries pretty seriously here. However, I was impressed with the humour contained in C.S. O’Cinneide’s two Candace Starr mysteries, The Starr Sting Scale and Starr Sign. I hope she writes more of them.
Although she is a much more serious writer, I also found Anna Porter’s thriller Deceptions helpful in the way Anna so knowledgeably dropped bits and pieces of telling description around the European locations she used as backdrops.
And I have to add that my daughter Erin Ruddy’s talent and determination writing and publishing her thriller, Tell Me My Name, has been an endless source of pride and inspiration.
An atmospheric, entertaining new mystery series introducing a plucky Canadian heroine and set in the world’s most famous hotel.
It’s 1968. London is in full swing and the Savoy Hotel is at the height of its legendary glitz and glamour, welcoming the rich, famous and aristocratic into its rarefied world of perfection. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are squabbling in the American Bar while Noël Coward drinks champagne. Royals wait upstairs in luxurious suites for discreet encounters. In short, all is as it should be at the Savoy.
If only it weren’t for the dead body in Room 705.
Could it be murder at the Savoy? Impossible! Who could have done such a thing?
Suspicion falls upon Priscilla Tempest, the quick-witted Canadian head of the Savoy press office who has a penchant for champagne, the wrong sort of men—and trouble.
Death at the Savoy is an intoxicating blend of mystery, suspense and humour. And it’s just the beginning!
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