Mysteries and mysticism.
Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis is a former therapist turned detective. And she's got a body on her doorstep.
After author Myra Jolivet reads to us from The Holiday Murder Melange, we talk about the influence of Creole culture in Sarah's life, what Pushed Times Chewing Pepper means (that's the title of the first full length novel in this series), and the courage and tenacity it takes to be a writer.
This week's mystery author
At six years old Myra was a poet and playwright, holding SRO productions in her Berkeley, California backyard. That led to a 20+ year career in TV news, politics and corporate communications.
When her children went off to college she gathered the nerve to begin a series of cozy, paranormal murder mysteries, the Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis mysteries. Sarah’s life is a blend of Myra’s own California and Louisiana Creole cultures that have helped her create a world of mysticism, murder and humor.
To learn more about Myra and all her books visit MyraJolivet.com
Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the excerpt below. Remember you can also listen on Apple Podcasts,Stitcher, Android, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, and Spotify.
Except from The Holiday Murder Melange
Sarah Doucette Jean-Louis removed freshly baked kale chips from her oven and uncorked a bottle of Luc Pirlet Cabernet, as velvety as her new purple Chesterfield sofa. She had planned to sit, sip and read. It was a gorgeous, sunny day in the San Francisco Bay Area, but two interruptions pissed all over her one-person peaceful Saturday afternoon. The first was a call from her mother, a mini-Lena Horne look-alike powerhouse of a woman who stood four feet, ten inches. Every greeting from her sounded like an order.
“Good afternoon, Ma-ma.”
“Good afternoon, Sarah. I hope you’re well. I want to run something past you.”
“I get to have an opinion?”
“Don’t sass. I think that this year you should host the family holiday dinner.”
Sarah wanted to quiet the inner child begging for family validation, but couldn’t. “Oh, Ma-ma. Me? I’ve wanted to host since I was a kid. Wow, I get to pick the menu and set a gorgeous table, and . . .”
Ma-ma cut her off. “That’s right. You’re good at all of that.”
“Yes, but why me this time? I know it’s usually the married-with-children and I’m neither.”
Creole holiday meals are major events and to be chosen to host is a woman’s rite of passage, like a Creole bat mitzvah. Men are never chosen to host in the culture; they’re served. Sarah had a love-hate relationship with Creole tradition.
“Sarah, you’re such a great cook. I just thought it was time.”
Sarah remembered something.
“Wait a minute. Isn’t Lizette’s kitchen being remodeled?”
Her sister, with her slender caramel-colored face, was called the beautiful one. She and her husband, Tom, had the favored home for holiday gatherings.
“Well, yes. The work isn’t going so well. It won’t be ready in time.”
“Ah, and we all know that Lyle’s wife is a terrible cook. Her food tastes like feet.”
Sarah’s brother was a shorter version of their father with chocolate skin, a round face and a thin mustache. He and his wife Tracy had the least favored home for meals. One year they all were left with a touch of diarrhea.
“Well, ok. You weren’t first choice. I just tend to think of my married kids for this.”
“No problem. I’ll make it festive.”
Fifty-plus years in California had only separated Sarah’s mother from her Louisiana Creole accent, not from the cultural biases. Sarah considered herself the misfit daughter born to transplants, Bernice and the late Charles Jean-Louis. She was a curvy size eight with brown locks, brown eyes and brown skin—a near monochrome. She had career success but lacked the MRS status symbol Creoles revered.
“Don’t forget to run the menu past me.”
“How’s my favorite attorney?”
“Manuel is wonderful.”