Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cozy Mysteries, They're Not All Tea Parties

Each author has a setting for their mystery stories. The genteel county manor, the secluded beach, a romantic cruise, a tea party with suspect tea...the list goes on. Since my mysteries tend towards (fake) haunted houses, mysterious islands and such I thought I would share one of the things that truly creeps me out. 
Okay truth to tell many things creep me out, I’m a coward that way, but the number one thing is…trees. Seriously, they are creepy.
Don't believe me? I have photographic evidence!

Extremely Creepy Looking Trees. Don't They Fill Your Heart With Terror?
See what I mean? They’re just…there. Waiting. For what? Who knows? That's creepy. But that doesn't mean they don't do stuff...
Disgusting Leaves Left By Creepy Tree I Will Now Have to Clean Up
Okay I'm bitter about this, but that's beside the point. So what is the point? It never ends! And let’s not even get into the sap that gets on your car and you can’t get it off without ruining the paint job. It's a conspiracy I tell you.
And worst of all...
Creepy Birds That Live In Creepy Trees That Drop You Know What
Okay so it's fake chicken on a bush. I couldn't get a real bird to pose. Why?  Because they're creepy, they know it, and they don't want it documented. I'm on to you creepy birds!
Now my mother, a very logical person, has told me I need to get over this tree conspiracy thing because they are just trees after all, but don't confuse the creepy factor with logic. Sure they're pretty and all, and they look harmless, but I tell you it's all part of their evil, creepy plot to rule the world.
Okay that's probably an exaggeration, but get tree roots into your plumbing sometime and you begin to wonder.
Please tree lovers don’t judge me. I know trees aren't really evil, at least that's what they want you to think, but this all comes from growing up in an area where scary tree stories were everywhere.
First there was The Orchard, The Evilest place on Earth (yes it really existed I didn’t just make it up for the books). Okay, it was gone by the time  I got old enough to remember things, but I was told by my sisters that it was truly the most frightening place ever. They know because our older brother Jack told them so. True Jack was known to love to torment his little sisters with scary stories but what's that got to do with anything? 
Then there was the Gully, a forest…okay a grove… okay a line of trees where you went in but never came out. I know this because my sisters told me and Jack told them...Oh you've noticed a theme here huh? Come to think of it Jack was a bit a stinker, a loveable one, but still a stinker. 
Also, now that I'm an adult, I know they were only stories. But these things tend to stick with you, and even today I still tend to give trees a second or third look before enjoying their shade in hot California summers. When I'm desperate.
So you see not all cozy mysteries are tea parties, especially if you have a tea party under the trees. If so you may want to watch out, they may be up to something.

Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Mystery Series. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories with just a bit of whopper in them. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. She loves to embroider and knit and is a big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons.
Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.


  1. Now I'll never look at trees quite the same:)

    1. Hey Linda if you want to truly see how creepy trees can be in literature read the short story The Willows by Algernon Blackwood. It's a classic, it's free and let's just say it didn't help my creepy tree obsession.

  2. Love your post Cindy. I remember a movie when I was young that was about trees that came to life. I was scared of trees for a long time. I have to admit, I haven't thought about them being scary lately. LOL However, I do hate to see the w/o their leaves they look so forlorn.
    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"

    1. Was it The Day of the Triffids? That was a book, and a movie, where these plants walked around and ate people. They didn't specifically call them trees, but trees are a plant so you never know.

  3. Cindy, I wrote about two trees in this exerpt from "From the Clutches of Evil." You're right - trees can be creepy!

    It was growing dark. I knew I needed to start back, but I wanted to find the road that led to that house. I got back into my car, made the turn around, and began searching for a road. I drove along slowly, not seeing anything at first, but then I noticed a lone pine tree growing behind a large boulder. I checked to see if there was a road next to it. My instincts were correct. There it was—a single-lane, dirt road that led down into the valley, and I’m sure it led to the lights of that house.
    I drove back down the lonely road, turning on my lights so I could see in the dusk of evening, until I came to Kearny Woods Road. I looked around for a landmark, and found what I was looking for, directly in front of me. A withered old oak tree stood directly across the street. It looked like a hangman’s tree, and I knew I wouldn’t forget it.

    ~Nancy Jill Thames
    Author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries

    1. You know, I think I may have given everyone a tree phobia. Nice not to be alone.


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