Mother's Day

If you’ve seen my Instagram post, you know the last few months have been busy for me. Since May holds both my birthday and Mother’s Day (for the US and The Netherlands), though, I wanted to get back to the blog.

My Mum with Princess Beatrix of The Netherlands.
There are more flattering pictures of her, but this one clearly demonstrates one of the reasons why I’m so proud of her 😊

Why cozy mysteries? It’s one of the first questions people ask me when I tell them what I write. so what got me started on this path?

As this post is titled ‘Mother’s Day’, you won’t be too surprised to learn that much of it has to do with my mother. Apart from the usual being-a-good-mum bits, some of my most vivid memories from childhood are the stories she told. When we went on a holiday somewhere, she’d read the guidebooks and tell us about the robber knight who lived in this castle, or the monks that produced beer in that abbey. But the one that stands out most clearly in my mind was when we went to Devon. She told us about Sherlock Holmes and how he’d cleared up the mystery of a giant ghost dog. Stories don’t get much better than that.

In the following years, I read other Sherlock Holmes stories. Then I got started on the Agatha Christie books we had on the book shelves. I think they actually came from my grandfather on my father’s side. I was always intrigued by the library books he was reading: The Cat Who, and a Dutch police series about Inspector De Cock. My favourite, though, was a series by a Dutch contemporary of The Saint writer Leslie Charteris, a man writing under the pseudonym of Havank. They were exciting, intriguing, and as the series continued, more and more silly. The protagonist, Carlier of the Sureté (yes, France was in there early on), had taught himself, for instance, to recognise the distinguished sounds different letters made as they were typed on a typewriter, so he could hear what was being written, even if he was some distance away. Also, two of his henchmen in one of the stories, are called Gherkin and Pickle. Now that was the perfect continuation of my dad’s old boy’s books filled with mystery.

Silliness and mystery. Two of my favourite things. Also chocolate. Over the years, I enjoyed watching all those good shows on TV with my parents: Midsomer Murders, Poirot, Murder, She Wrote, Rosemary and Thyme, Miss Marple, Jonathan Creek, Sherlock Holmes, Baantjer, and Magnum, P.I.. I know, he’s different, but come on!

So where did the pinup photographer come from? That was a coincidence, really. My husband is an artist (he made the artwork for my victorian fantasy novel), and he was watching a course by Sue Bryce, a photographer specialising in glamour photography. Getting people to feel comfortable was a large part of her job, so my strange mind immediately went to: ‘Ooh, she could get people to confess.’ I simply combined that with my love of Gil Elvgren, and Julie Belmain was born.

By the way, I never stopped watching detective shows after I moved out. Some of my favourites since then have been: Father Brown, Queens of Mystery, Death in Paradise, Shakespeare and Hathaway, and Agatha Raisin. If you have any recommendations for me, let me know below!

And, as always, if you’d like to be the first to know about how my books are coming along:

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