Inspiration in a 55+ Community

Feb 8, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by J.M. Roberts

I’ve long been a fan of the cozy murder mystery genre. I enjoy the locations, exotic or homegrown, the time periods, from medieval to modern, and the sub genres like those with witches or ghosts. In fact, I love everything about this perennial favorite among mystery readers. When I started writing, I focused on another love, historical fiction and time travel, which I also adore. But something happened in my life that made me decide to pen a series of cozy murder mysteries. What was this momentous occurrence? I moved to an over 55 community!

J.M. Roberts

Now this senior living community is built right on the edge of a rural Texas town, and I’m sure that the influx of city dwellers delivered its share of consternation and misunderstandings to its residents. Where the masses go, so do the fancy coffee shops, the malls, and all the amenities that urban/suburban dwellers can’t live without. I imagine there was and is some resentment at the destruction of their quiet country life.

Upon our arrival to the beautiful Bonterra, I acquired a readymade set of new friends. Ours is a small, close-knit group, who know each other’s business. We’re all home during the day, watching the comings and goings of our neighborhood. My writing desk faces the street, and I write and watch my neighbors pass by my window, sometimes multiple times a day. Our community bills itself as resort-style living with a large pool, golf course, gym, and much more. It is a pleasant place to live and write.

One sunny afternoon when my husband and I were learning to play bocce ball, I remarked that Bonterra would be a great setting for a cozy murder: Death on the Bocce Ball Court. I looked around at the surrounding amenities and ideas popped into my head. Titles spilled out. Death on the Pickle Ball Court, Mahjong Murders, The Golf Cart Caper. I remember laughingly sharing my idea with my husband who just grinned and said, ‘write it’.

And so, Stinky Springs was born. Stinky Springs is a quiet town deep in the heart of Texas. The inhabitants are a hardworking bunch who enjoy their country lifestyle. My MC, Peggy Rector, was born in Stinky Springs, but after college and nursing school, she lived in Houston, where she married, raised her kids and had a fulfilling career as a nurse administrator. And then her husband died.

In her late forties and ready for change, Peggy returned home to Stinky Springs. She gave up her nursing job for a chance to write romance novels and reconnect with old friends and an old flame. But life is not static. A new subdivision is being built nearby, and its presence is both a blessing and a curse. Peggy, with a foot in both worlds, can fully sympathize. The tension between the old-timers and the newcomers is fodder for my plots, as are the foibles and idiosyncrasies of my real-life neighbors. I’ve warned all my friends and family they may appear in a Peggy Rector Mystery at any time. Sadly, I’ve had to kill a few of them off, but they completely understand.

I invite you to meet Peggy and her band of friends, the women of the Stinky Springs Ladies Social Club, as they adjust to the changes life brings and solve a murder or two along the way! My first cozy mystery book was published in November and is called A Murderous Grudge, book two, A Trophy for Murder, drops on February 16, and the third, Murder in the Genes, is under construction. I also have a companion cookbook full of great Texas recipes from the books.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

J.M. Roberts, who also writes as Jean M. Roberts, is a retired nurse administrator who lives north of Houston with her husband. When not plotting the demise of her characters, she can be found with her nose in a book, gardening, or traveling.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations on your series. Love it when the ladies get curious and take charge. Karen94066 @


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