Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown
by Jeannette de Beauvoir
About the Book
Murder at Fantasia Fair: A Provincetown Mystery
2nd in Series
HomePort Press (September 28, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages
E-Book ASIN: B075ZY26XQ
Wedding coordinator Sydney Riley never thought she’d get caught up in a murder investigation, but she became an amateur sleuth when her boss was killed during Bear Week. Now she’s back, this time as the Race Point Inn hosts Provincetown’s venerable transgender event, Fantasia Fair… and murder is once again an uninvited guest!
It’s all hands on deck at the inn as visitors arrive for the week-long event and Sydney helps coordinator Rachel Parsons organize the occasion. Guest Elizabeth Gonzalez is attending with her spouse, Bob, who–as Angela–is taking a bold first step into a whole new existence. Angela, Elizabeth, and Sydney learn the ropes and politics from other guests, some of whom have attended annually for more than forty years.
But the next day, Sydney’s detective friend summons her to one of the town beaches where Angela’s body has been found–with a knife in her back, a knife stolen from Adrienne, the Race Point Inn’s diva chef.
Fair organizers and attendees try and carry on as Provincetown is overrun with police, press, and rampant speculation. Sydney, her boyfriend Ali, her friend Mirela, her boss Glenn, and a host of Fantasia Fair participants scramble to find out who killed Angela–and why–before the killer strikes again.
Why Should You Read Murder at Fantasia Fair?
So here’s the thing.
Cozy mysteries are as much about context as they are about plot. We read mysteries that teach us about quilting, or the antiques business, or cooking. We read mysteries set on dude ranches, in quaint Vermont villages or Southern mansions, at ski resorts. Part of the attraction is curiosity—mystery readers tend to wonder about other people’s lives and are eager to learn something new (everything I know about knitting, for example, I got from the Tangled Web mystery series by Sadie Hartwell).
Part of the attraction, though, is that these venues and contexts offer a glimpse into—and temporary membership in—a certain community.
That’s the idea behind my Provincetown mystery series: I started with the concept of introducing readers to that community before I even got around to ideas for specific plots. I created my protagonist, Sydney Riley, intentionally to be a guide to take readers into this community. Sydney knows everyone and travels in lots of different circles, but she’s a step removed from them all, which makes her both observer and participant—exactly what any good guide should be!
And there are a plethora of circles in P’town, as we affectionately call it! First inhabited by the Wampanoag tribe, it was the first landfall of the Mayflower and later grew into a Yankee and then a Portuguese whaling capital and fishing center. Discovered by bohemians, intellectuals, and artists soon after the start of World War One, Provincetown is the birthplace of American theatre and the oldest continuously operating art colony in North America. And finally tourism became its major industry as people from all walks of life flock to its inns, beaches, museums, dunes, and more, while from the 1960s on it’s been known as a premier gay resort.
The town celebrates all these layers of inhabitants and visitors through “theme weeks,” when every community within the larger community has a chance to shine. And that was what piqued my interest, because each of these communities is packed with stories, with interesting people, with possibilities for adventure and even mayhem. There are weeks for women, weeks for sailing, weeks for families, weeks for gay men… schooner races and Portuguese cooking and a carnival parade. This place was made for mysteries!
So why did I write Murder at Fantasia Fair, a book that deals with a pretty specific community, the transgender and cross-dressing community? I’m not transgender myself, and I expect that most of my readers aren’t, either. So why should you care? Why should you read it?
First of all, you should read it for the same reasons we read about knitting clubs and birdwatchers and psychics and cruise ships: because this is a community that most of us don’t know anything about, and it’s fun to learn something new. And also, this is a community that’s been in the news a lot lately—and it’s bound to stay front and center, with Chelsea Manning running for elected office—and isn’t it easier to learn about an issue via fiction than it is to read dreary news stories?
Mostly, though, you should read it because it’s a great story with a protagonist who combines sarcasm with astute observations and occasionally even breaks your heart a little. It’s a story that could take place in any community at any time, and that’s the bottom line: that we’re more alike than we’re different.
So please do read Murder at Fantasia Fair. And let me know what you think!
Jeannette de Beauvoir grew up in Angers, France, but has lived in the United States since her twenties. (No, she’s not going to say how long ago that was!) She spends most of her time inside her own head, which is great for writing, though possibly not so much for her social life. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or traveling… to inspire her writing. The author of a number of mystery and historical novels, de Beauvoir’s work has appeared in 15 countries and has been translated into 12 languages. Midwest Review called her Martine LeDuc Montréal series “riveting (…) demonstrating her total mastery of the mystery/suspense genre.” She coaches and edits individual writers, teaches writing online and on Cape Cod, and is currently writing a Provincetown Theme Week cozy mystery series featuring female sleuth Sydney Riley. More at JeannettedeBeauvoir.com
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