Author’s Commentary 2: The Clean Plate Club Murder Mystery

I initially titled my little murder mystery “The Blue Hammer,” in homage to the Lew Archer detective series written by Ross MacDonald.   However, I will definitely need a title of my own if I continue this exercise. After reading a few more Lew Archer books, I realized that the title need only be tenuously related to the plotline. The Blue Hammer only comes up in one line in that novel; it was not the murder weapon at all, but described the pulsating temporal artery of the love interest who succumbs to colllateral damage in one of the final scenes.  In the “Zebra Striped Hearse,” the car makes only a cameo appearance. Therefore, for the time being, my story is called “The Clean Plate Club,” after a dinnertime phrase my mother often used. It was the 1960s and there was this notion going around that Americans should not waste food since others were going hungry.  She would say, “You had better clean your plate, because Armenians are starving,” but I don’t think that anyone had a clear idea of who Armenians were.  In our household, members of the Clean Plate Club would be rewarded with two Hershey kisses for dessert. I always thought that “Clean Plate Club” would be a good name for a restaurant, implying particularly yummy food. However, Nick pointed out that diners would have no confidence in the cuisine if a restaurant had to reassure them that the plates were clean. So I have shelved the improbable restaurant idea and have repurposed it for an equally improbable book title.

The detective was at first unnamed, but now I have decided to call her Liza Blue, which I have occasionally used as an alias for Elizabeth Brown. This name came about when my brother Tim proposed that we change the color of our last name, so I changed Brown to Blue and went with Liza.

Suggestions welcomed regarding plot lines – i.e hidden identities, family secrets, possible blackmail, shady business deals, etc. No clear idea where I am going with this.

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