posted on May 22, 2013 by Alyse Carlson

Murderous Bystanders

thebegoniabribeDo you ever see a pair of people with their heads together and wonder exactly what they’re up to?

Overhear a snippet of conversation and think… “That’s weird. I wonder what that was about…”

I’m not sure when this happened, but somewhere in the span of time since I began writing murder mysteries, I’ve begun to notice killers everywhere…  suspicious activity… I catch snips of conversation and notice they are plotting murder, or at least giving juicy details that sound like motive. I see people behave strangely and recognize those suspicious signs! We are SURROUNDED!  Every day, everywhere we go!

I look at ordinary everyday happenings and wonder how exactly that plays into whatever dark plot they are involved with.  Why would a person really NEED all that eggplant? Can a person be paying THAT LITTLE attention to the road if they aren’t trying to escape the law?

I get involved in regular, everyday conversations and I hear people I think are ordinary neighbors or coworkers giving the most heinous murder set-ups…

In fact it’s rather shocking more people aren’t jumpy and panicked.

You know, I didn’t used to be inclined to eavesdropping… I’m not typically a gossip, and before I knew all these people were plotting murder, I just figured what they were discussing was none of my business. But now I can’t seem to resist the delicious details. Oh, I’m still not gossiping, but the details might make a book, or at least get the juices flowing and inspire a scene.

I am also guilty of angling to look into peoples’ bags and purses, in case… you know… something might be used as a murder weapon. Prescription pills, nail files… heck… I might even give MacGyver a run for his money… I could probably come up with a murderous use for a paperclip…

So What is a Person Surrounded by Murderers to Do?

Well keep a notebook handy, of course!  I don’t want to LOSE these gems when I get distracted by the next plot or weapon!

And practice CONSTANT VIGILANCE so I don’t end up on the wrong end of one of those plots…


Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment …

A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all.

But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb.

hartjohnsonHart Johnson (aka, Alyse Carlson) writes books from her bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, on Facebook (author page, profile), Twitter, or Goodreads.


11 thoughts on “Murderous Bystanders”

  1. Avatar Old Kitty says:

    Yikes!! I’m so glad you are taking down NOTES and keeping an eye out for these murderers, lovely Hart!! Me, I’m locking my doors, drawing the curtains, turning the lights off and and staying under my duvet!! 🙂 Take care

    1. But it’s almost summer! What will you do then?

  2. Love this! I feel the same way. My husband will tell me I have a pretty well-developed imagination…but what if I’m right and there really *is* a nefarious plot afoot? At least we’re armed with notebooks to record all this suspicious activity. 🙂

  3. Once in a while I get paranoid and wonder if I should carry a little knife in my purse. For self-defense purposes, only, of course. Because one never knows when a deadly crime is about to happen…

    1. HA! You’re braver than me! I’m convinced any real weapon would be confiscated and used against me.

  4. Avatar Barbara Thompson says:

    Love this interview! I’m always making sure doors are locked. Check out the Windows before going to bed. Make sure there’s no activity happening that should not be. The book sounds great!! Thank you for your interview!!
    Barbara Thompson

    1. We all need neighbors like you! Thank you!

  5. Elizabeth- And those notebooks will be so important to the police solving the crime! Though an amateur will need to solve it in the end…

  6. Avatar Jai says:

    I love eavesdropping and if you can turn what you hear into something fun then it is a total win/win.

  7. I’ve been a people watcher since birth. It’s only lately I’ve become a professional eavesdropper, as in leave scene, take notes. I’ve always listened in…
    Tina @ Life is Good

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