Murder of Convenience: The Story Behind the Story — Linda Shenton Matchett ( + GIVEAWAY)
Today I’m happy to welcome author Linda Shenton Matchett as she shares the story behind her book, Murder of Convenience. Read through to the end to find out how to enter her giveaway.
My vision isn’t great. I’ve worn glasses for distance vision since I was in the 6th grade and went into bifocals at age 32. My husband’s vision is worse than mine, but glasses correct his eyesight to nearly “perfect” (20/20). However, we had a friend in high school who was designated legally blind and even with glasses was not able to see well enough to drive or do many other common tasks. What does “legal blindness” mean?
Visual acuity refers to how close a person must be to an object that’s twenty feet away to see it in detail. So, someone with 20/20 vision can clearly see the object as they should at that distance. People who are legally blind do have some usable vision, but acuity loss is such that they must be twenty feet from an object to see it with the same clarity that others do at two hundred feet. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be.
While trying to come up with plots for my latest book series about a group of women who serve in various organizations during WWII such as the Women’s Air Service Pilots, Red Cross, Army Nurse Corp, and the United Service Organization (USO), I was trying to figure out how to get my character to the USO. I wanted the story to revolve around a “run away to the circus” kind of event, and I had read several novels about arranged marriages/mail order brides. However, by the time WWII rolled around, arranged marriages and mail order brides were customs of the past.
After a significant amount of research, I discovered a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa which was and is still incurable. RP is a degenerative disease that slowly robs the victim of his or her vision. By giving my character, Geneva Alexander, this disability, she would need to be cared for, and I could force her into an arranged marriage. Rather than be tied to a man she doesn’t love, Geneva leaves home and joins the USO.
Unfortunately, her jilted fiancé winds up dead, and she is the prime suspect in his murder. The police don’t seem motivated to look for any other culprits, so despite her deteriorating vision, she must prove her innocence. In an effort to understand the difficulties Geneva faced performing day-to-day functions, I put myself in several vision “blocking” situations, most of which I failed at miserably.
As a result of writing Geneva’s story, Murder of Convenience, I don’t believe I will ever take my vision for granted again.
How’s your vision?
About the book:
May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.
Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is a tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in the exciting new “Women of Courage” series.
Geneva Alexander stifled the impulse to roll her eyes as her mother complained about the latest difficulty in obtaining yet another rationed food item. Although the thought of a smear of butter on her roll made her salivate, Geneva poked at the last bite of potato in the congealing gravy on the heirloom Royal Doulton plate before lifting it to her mouth. Too heavy a meal for the humid, June night in Philadelphia.
“Stop fidgeting, Geneva. It’s not ladylike.” Father huffed a sigh then turned to his wife with a grim smile. “We must do our part, Oceana. Everyone is experiencing shortages. We can be expected to do no less.”
Mother pouted. “But I don’t have to like it.”
He patted her arm. “No, you don’t.”
Geneva pushed away her empty plate. “Father, Bethlehem-Fairfield launched three more liberty ships today. That makes six this week. The yard has been producing the vessels at an unbelievable rate.” Mother wouldn’t care about the news, but it might serve to prevent further grumbling. “I wish I could have been there. Lorraine Perkins said it was terribly exciting.”
“Tsk! What is wrong with Lorraine’s parents, allowing her to loiter in a shipyard? It’s not proper.” Mother dabbed at her ruby-tinged lips with a linen napkin.
Geneva shook her head. How did her mother manage to eat an entire meal without smudging her lipstick? “She wasn’t loitering, Mother. She works in the typing pool and used her lunch break to watch the first ship cast off. Lorraine said the president spoke for a bit and then a woman dressed in a fur cape and rather ornate hat broke a bottle on the bow. I would have loved to have seen the ten-thousand ton ship slide down the rails with a screech. Can you imagine the splash and the noise?”
“Lorraine’s parents have plenty of money. People of our station don’t mingle with laborers. Why on earth would they allow her to take a job, especially at a shipyard?” Mother shuddered then motioned for Bernice, the housekeeper, to begin clearing the dinner dishes. A young maid assisted with the task. “Rest assured, Geneva; you will never have to seek employment.”
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library. Click https://mailchi.mp/74bb7b34c9c2/lindashentonmatchettnewsletter to receive the free short story Love’s Bloom a prequel to Love’s Harvest when you sign up for my newsletter.
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Group blog: http://www.StitchesThruTime.blogspot.com
Leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. One winner will receive their choice of paperback or ebook version of Murder of Convenience. If an international winner, only an ebook will be awarded.