Cumberland Times-News

August 20, 2010

Author brings murder mystery to fictional Deep Creek Lake area town

For the Cumberland Times-News
Cumberland Times-News

— HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — Lauren Carr has brought murder to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland.

In “It’s Murder, My Son,” mystery author Carr introduces readers to Mac Faraday, a homicide detective. After a messy divorce hearing, the bankrupt Faraday discovers that his birth mother was America’s Queen of Mystery, a famous novelist who had made him her sole heir.

“It’s a fantasy,” Carr says with a grin. “Success is the best revenge. One moment, Mac is licking the curb. Literally the next minute, he’s king of the world.”

Mac moves into his late mother’s estate at Deep Creek Lake, where he discovers that months before, his next door neighbor had been murdered, presumably by a stalker who is now nowhere to be found. Mac ends up on the case after Gnarly, a German shepherd that was part of his inheritance, drags home a human skull.

Carr says Deep Creek Lake was not her first choice of setting for her third book. After the release of her second book, which was set in her home town of Chester, W.Va., Carr says her sister-in-law had asked she set a murder mystery in her home town, a sweet summer place in Wisconsin called Pelican Lake. “At the time, I was working on a storyline that wasn’t a good fit for Joshua Thornton, the protagonist in my other books,” Carr explains. “So I went to work on a new series set on a lake in a resort town modeled after Pelican Lake.”

However, Carr says that after completing the first draft of “It’s Murder, My Son,” her sister-in-law was horrified to discover that the murder was committed in her house. “Since she lived in the big house on a point on the lake, anyone in the area could easily tell that the murder took place in her home.” For the sake of family harmony, Carr decided to do a re-write.

 As luck would have it, her family started vacationing at Deep Creek Lake, which, like Pelican Lake, is a resort area.

“It was child’s play to pick up my murder in Pelican Lake and plop it down in Deep Creek Lake.”  In order to accommodate her protagonist living in a luxurious home on a point on the lake, she created a fictional small town tucked in the corner and up the mountain of Deep Creek Lake called Spencer.

Nestled in a corner of Deep Creek Lake, Spencer is named after Mac Faraday’s ancestors.  From the lakeshore, Spencer’s border stretches up and over a mountain, on top of which rests the Spencer Inn, a resort and spa, which is also part of Mac’s inheritance. Ironically, before his windfall, he couldn’t have afforded to eat there.

Carr says she had a lot of fun creating a whole town set on Deep Creek Lake. “When a murder mystery is set in a real town, readers familiar with the area have a hard time forgiving authors when they rewrite their hometown’s history or change the streets. For example, a woman once told me that she had stopped reading a series set in Washington DC when the author had placed an exit ramp off Rock Creek Parkway that wasn’t there. When I sat down to create Spencer, Maryland, it was like a bird set free from a cage. My imagination opened its wings and soared. Since this was my town, I had the freedom to do with it as I saw fit.”

Since its release, book reviews for It’s Murder, My Son have been applauding the murder set on the shores of Deep Creek Lake.

Reviewer Connie Gregory of Connie’s Reviews says, “Lauren Carr has provided a complex plot with a diversity of characters that blend so well with the mystery. Lauren's dialogue is brisk, her setting beautiful and the addition of Gnarly is very clever.”

Amazon.com’s no. 1 Reviewer, Harriet Klausner calls, Carr’s whodunit “Top-Rate.” Reviewer Glenda Bixler of Book Reader’s Heaven announces, “Lauren Carr has won a new fan!”

“It’s Murder, My Son” is available through Ingram, Baker & Tailor, Barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, and everywhere fine books are sold. It is available in print, Kindle, E-Book, and audio format, including MP3 download.

In addition to being an active member and director of the Association of Independent Authors, Lauren is a popular speaker who has made speaking appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and son on a mountaintop in West Virginia. Visit Lauren at her blog: http://writerlaurencarr.blogspot.com, or her website at http://laurencarr.

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