|Raleigh heading for Juneau, Alaska|
My answer? "The mystery I'm currently working on."
But one particular Raleigh Harmon book holds such a special place in my heart it might be my favorite: The Mountains Bow Down.
For the next ten days, Amazon is offering the e-book edition of Mountains for $2.99.
Don't wait -- operators are standing by.
And in honor of this special window of reader opportunity, I'll be posting my Top Ten Reasons for writing The Mountains Bow Down. You'll understand why I carry a burning torch for this book, and why anyone who doesn't nab it for $2.99 is nuts.
I'm kidding. Sort of.
Reason #10: AGATHA CHRISTIE
My serious Agatha Christie addiction screeched into the station with The Blue Train.
Published in 1928 -- when it retailed for $2 (ahem, see above offer) -- The Blue Train features Christie's singularly brilliant detective, Hercule Poirot, as he boards Le Train Bleu heading for the French Riviera.
Also boarding the train is Katherine Grey, an Englishwoman with a large inheritance. She makes the onboard acquaintance of Ruth Kettering, an American heiress stuck in an unhappy marriage who is planning to meet her lover. The folllowing morning, Ruth is discovered dead in her train compartment, a victim of strangulation. And the ruby which her father gave her-- the famous "Heart of Fire" jewel-- is missing.
The Blue Train captivated my imagination, from the compartmentalized setting and tight schedule to Poirot piecing together a murder and jewel heist most certainly committed by someone still onboard.
And that's when Raleigh Harmon jumped up and begged me to stick her in similarly challenging circumstances. Raleigh's request launched the cruise ship setting for The Mountains Bow Down.
Here's a short excerpt from Mountains where the redoubtable Raleigh Harmon reflects on her long day aboard a cruise ship heading for Alaska, with a dead woman onboard:
"I pulled the covers up tight and listened to the ship sliding through the Inside Passsage. The ocean brushed against the side, whooshing and splashing, and once again I thought of Judy Carpenter.
I wondered if she was completely dead when she hung there, or if her last moments were spent listening to this cold brush of sound, the silver splash of ocean as it escorted her to an end of days."
Tomorrow: Reason #9