A SENSE OF PLACE – THE IMMACULATE
Boston is a great setting for a mystery novel like The Immaculate – a story about the murder of an elderly nun and the unholy alliance that did her in.
Rich in history, ethnic neighborhoods, political intrigue and, at the time of the story, an ecclesiastical structure tightly tied to powerful civic interests – the city is a gift to any writer.
Sister Mary Aurelius – secretly called Spike by her students because she could be tough – burned with a mysterious mission she was determined to complete before she died.
But Aurelius is murdered before she can.
Rosaria O’Reilly, a former student who’d left the old neighborhood for a very different kind of life, comes back for the nun’s final services. There, she finds herself drawn further and further into this murder case where nothing is as it seems. At great personal risk to herself and others, Rosaria commits to finishing Sister’s dangerous mission. She does so, but in the process, her own sense of herself is changed forever.
To build the book’s sense of place, without having it read like a travelogue, I tried to weave specifics into the narrative:
The sound of a Bruins game playing on the TV at The Creek, a rough bar in Chelsea where Rosaria uncovers a key piece of the puzzle;
The smell of salty ocean air mixed with newly mown hay at the Motherhouse on the North Shore when Rosaria visits a nun with a story;
The sight of old Italian men in Frank Sinatra hats sitting outside the cafes in Boston’s North End as Rosaria drives along the waterfront;
The taste of whiskey in strong tea on a rainy day when Rosaria contemplates her losses in her condo on Boston Harbor;
The feel of the red bricks on the wall of the old-line parochial school where Aurelius is murdered.
Rich locations are like additional interesting characters in our stories. I’d like to think that worked in The Immaculate.
Available at Barking Rain Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and selected bookstores.
MARIAN MCMAHON STANLEY: Like her protagonist, Marian McMahon Stanley enjoyed an international corporate career with a Fortune 500 company and, more recently, a senior position at a large, urban university. A dual citizen of the Untied States and Ireland, she is a proud mother and grandmother of four adult children and a growing number of grandchildren. Marian writes in a small town outside Boston where she lives with her husband Bill and – just as in The Immaculate – a Westie named Archie.
Currently, she’s hard at work on her next mystery. You can find out more about Marian on her website, or on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. WWW.MARIANMCMAHONSTANLEY.COM