I love visiting the historic Shockoe Slip section of Richmond, Virginia. Centuries ago it served as a trading post but today visitors will find an eclectic shopping and dining district. Restored warehouses, taverns, cobblestone streets and alleyways create a little of yesterday with a little of today.
In the middle of this charming and restored area is the Fountain Bookstore. The Fountain is the kind of place where serious readers while away the hours as they browse. They may get so lost in the world of books that they fail to notice the stamped tin ceiling, wooden shelves, and exposed brick wall that display oil paintings created by local artists. In my story, “Reunion in Shockoe Slip,” a successful mystery author is signing copies of her latest bestseller when her lover from years ago appears before her.
Nearby is the Urban Farmhouse Market & Café, whose stated mission is to “bring the farm to the city and suburbs and provide area residents with local, wholesome food in a warm, rustic environment.” The Urban Farmhouse is housed in the storefront of a historic warehouse, close to one of the oldest farmers markets in the country. Nancy and Roger, the successful author and her former lover, continue their reunion in this atmosphere of urban chic, refinement, and culture.
Then the story takes a downward spiral into darkness and violence as the characters travel to an unsavory yet unspecified section of Richmond.
I’m intrigued by contrast and this story offers plenty of it. The difference between the trendy, upscale Shockoe Slip and the unsavory section of Richmond is stark. We learn that Nancy and Roger were drifters thirty years before but made 180 degree turns in their lives and are now thriving in their chosen careers. And they may very much want to maintain their status quo. Do they succeed?
The “downward spiral” suggests otherwise.
My fellow Virginia is for Mysteries authors will be signing copies of volumes 1 and 2 of the anthology at the Fountain Bookstore on Saturday, April 9, from 2-4pm. Stop by and say hi! Learn how we select story settings, marvel at the location and subject suggestions they receive from readers, and suggest to them sites you consider mysterious.
Maggie King is the author of Murder at the Book Group, a Hazel Rose Book Group Mystery, and the upcoming Murder at the Moonshine Inn (2016, Koehler Books). She contributed the short story, “A Not So Genteel Murder,” to the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology.
Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime and the American Association of University Women. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. Visit Maggie at maggieking.com.