Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Anita Ray Short Stories

Some of the best fun I have as a writer is coming up with situations for an Anita Ray short story. These allow me to explore the culture of India as well as work out a crime and its solution. Modern India is a mix of traditional and rapidly modernizing features, with people who live as their ancestors did several hundred years ago and scientists who are the match for any in the United States today. Figuring out the interplay of these different worlds in one of my favorite challenges.

Dorothy L. Sayers talked about the tactile pleasure in plotting the mystery, planting clues and red herrings, and moving characters through the story. The Anita Ray stories have the added pleasure of giving me an opportunity to talk about a culture and a people that I have loved since I was a young girl.

At the beginning of the year I set myself a few goals, one of which was to blog each week. Mostly I’ve met that one, though every now and then I miss one or two weeks. One of my other goals was to self-publish the Anita Ray short stories published earlier in anthologies and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. I may eventually gather these in one collection but right now I want to repost them as individual stories, available as eBooks for $0.99 each. I enjoy using my own photographs for the cover, and matching cover and story.

I posted “The Secret of the Pulluvan Drum” in January 2015. In this story, Anita is impressed with a young woman who has just opened her own shop despite her family’s opposition. Anita is excited for her, but when the shop suddenly closes, she is worried. She quickly learns that the new shop owner has died. She has no suspicions until she visits the family to offer her condolences and comes away feeling very uncomfortable as well as suspicious. The Pulluvans are a caste little known today outside of the world of anthropology but these small groups have ways of organizing their lives that can teach us about how much is possible in the way humans live. If you're interested in reading the rest of the story, go here:


I posted “The Silver House” just this month. Anita wants to know why a well-off man known for his generosity to local temples would fall into a canal and drown, especially when the path along the canal was very familiar to him. He walked it for most of his life. He had recently had made a special offering to a temple, a perfect replica in silver and gold of a miniature house, which the silversmith called the finest work he had ever completed. If you're interested in reading the rest of the story, go here:


There are a total of fourteen Anita Ray stories to date, and I will be posting them over the next year, at the hoped-for rate of one each month.

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