My journey with Peri and her friends

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Posts Tagged ‘the birds’

A pleasant place to live

Posted by Gayle on November 18, 2008

I’m listening to Benny’s favorte music, The Essential Dean Martin, and trying to figure out how to explain why I set my murder mystery in Placentia, California.  A large part of it is because this has been my hometown since about 1984. I’ve never been a P.I. and never solved a murder, so I wanted at least a piece of the book to be familiar, even if it was only the territory.

But there were another few reasons for setting it here. Placentia is teeny, really, about 6.6 square miles wedged between Brea, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Yorba Linda. These are all cities at the north end of Orange County, which is south of Los Angeles. Even people who are unfamiliar with SoCal know Anaheim as the home of Angels baseball, Ducks hockey, and Disneyland. Recently, Brea and Yorba Linda have been in the news because they’ve been on fire, but it’s a helluva way to make headlines, and I don’t recommend it. Placentia rarely makes the news. And that was one of my reasons.

Many novels and movies have set themselves in tiny places, out of the way towns that no one would blink at, until scandal or tragedy hits. Then the magnifying glasses come out. “The Birds” is an excellent example. Who would even know of Bodega Bay’s existence, if not for the horrific events? So a mystery set in a small town is not exactly new territory. But why Placentia?

Because I like the town. I’m proud of it. For small acreage, it has a lot of faces, and I’d like to show them all to the world.

My last reason has to do with location. Placentia is a small fish in a big pond, and lots of fishes swim through, on their way north to Los Angeles, south to San Diego, west to the ocean, and east to the desert. In addition to freeways, we have train tracks running through town. People may not plan to visit us, but they can stop by, accidentally. So if I want Peri to solve a lot of murders, it doesn’t look suspicious to have them occur in and around Placentia. One of the endearingly funny things about “Murder, She Wrote” (a show I still love) is that there were so many people getting bumped off in Cabot Cove, Maine. By the second season, the town’s population had to have decreased by a third!

Enjoy my town. Get to know it as you follow Peri around.


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