A Walk in Ophelia Flax’s Paris
A couple of years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would write a mystery novel set in 1867 Paris. But after I wrote Fairy Tale Fatal #1, I just knew that the next stage in Ophelia Flax’s sleuthing adventures, Cinderella Six Feet Under, would take her to Paris.
I’ll be honest: when I wrote the first draft, I had been all around Europe, and even in France, but I’d never made it to Paris. So needless to say, researching the book was a little wonky, and there were lots of holes in the story’s background. But as luck would have it, while I was working on revising the novel, my husband’s job took our whole family to Paris for a few weeks.
I really got down to business. First, I ate a lot of cheese (my favorite food), and enjoyed some French wine (so good and so inexpensive!). Then, while my poor husband was stuck in business meetings all day, I, my mom, and my two kids (then aged 18 months and 4) trooped all around the city with a double stroller. It rained a lot—thank goodness for the stroller’s rain cover—and my mom and I really got our system down pat for carrying the stroller up and down the Metro station stairs.
To say I was inspired would be an understatement. I took pictures, scribbled notes, and ended up changing a lot in my book. Many of these changes were in the magical details of Paris, like the gargoyles, the paving stones, and the big painted doors that hide secret courtyards. I incorporated specific buildings, bridges, streets, a cemetery, and even a certain type of tree into the story. Then there was simply the atmosphere of the city, with beautiful sights both humble and grand around every corner. And the cheese.
Of course, Paris now is quite different than it was in 1867. The opera house in which the Cinderella ballet is performed in my book, Salle le Peletier, burned down in 1873. The Tuileries Gardens, across the street from a hotel in which Ophelia Flax stays, used to have a palace in them, which was burned down by revolutionaries in 1871. My fingers are crossed that got all of the historical details right . . . and I calm down by telling myself no one alive today has ever been to Paris in 1867. Deep breaths. Cheese?
Cinderella Six Feet Under is, on one level, a fun, cozy mystery populated with quirky characters, sinister suspects, Cinderella’s descendants, (possibly) enchanted relics, and a sleuth who will stop at absolutely nothing to collar the killer. Yet on another level, it’s my little love letter to Paris, to its singular and yes, fairy tale magic.
If you’re intrigued by Ophelia Flax’s Paris, please take a moment to visit my Cinderella Six Feet Under Pinterest board (see link below), where I have lots of juicy and mysterious images that I used for inspiration. (If nothing else, the ball gowns are to die for. Probably uncomfortable . . . but to die for.)
Series: A Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery (Book 2)
Publisher: Berkley (September 1, 2015)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository
This Cinderella goes from ashes to ashes in the new Victorian-era Fairy Tale Fatal Mystery by the author of Snow White Red-Handed . . .
Variety hall actress Ophelia Flax’s plan to reunite her friend Prue with her estranged—and allegedly wealthy—mother, Henrietta, is met with a grim surprise. Not only is the marquise’s Paris mansion a mouse-infested ruin, but Henrietta has inexplicably vanished, leaving behind an evasive husband, two sinister stepsisters, and a bullet-riddled corpse in the pumpkin patch decked out in a ball gown and one glass slipper—a corpse that also happens to be a dead ringer for Prue.
Strangely, no one at 15 rue Garenne seems concerned about who plugged this luckless Cinderella or why, so the investigation is left to Ophelia and Prue. It takes them through the labyrinthine maze of the Paris Opera, down the trail of a legendary fairy tale relic, into the confidence of a wily prince charmless, and makes them vulnerable to the secrets of a mysterious couturière with designs of her own on Prue’s ever-twisting family history.
Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of Cinderella Six Feet Under to give away.
Giveaway open to residents of the US only.
Giveaway ends on October 11th
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Winner will have 48 hours, from the time of notification to confirm their win or another winner will be chosen.
Maia Chance writes historical mystery novels that are rife with absurd predicaments and romantic adventure. She is the author of the Fairy Tale Fatal and The Discreet Retrieval Agency series, and her first mystery, Snow White Red-Handed, will be released in November 2014 by Berkley Prime Crime.
Maia is a candidate for the Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington. This means that the exploits of Fairy Tale Fatal’s heroine, variety hall actress Ophelia Flax, were dreamt up while Maia was purportedly researching 19th-century American literature and fairy tale criticism. The Discreet Retrieval Agency series was born of Maia’s fascination with vintage shoes, automobiles, and cocktails combined with an adoration of P. G. Wodehouse and chocolate.
Maia lives in Seattle, where she shakes a killer martini, grows a mean radish, and bakes mocha bundts to die for.
Fairy Tale Fatal Mysteries