Please help me welcome today’s guest, author M. S. Spencer….
Thirty years ago my family drove up for the first time to a small village in Maine for a week’s vacation. Thirty years later, we own a house in that village, and consider it home. That first year, however, was unique. We were met by the rental agent, who apologized for the chaos—Mel Gibson was making a movie in the village. We thought (and said), “Cool!” Turned out the apology was indeed in order. All activity had to stop while the cameras filmed, and parts of the tiny hamlet were off-limits to the lay folks. To this day my kids will stop a conversation by saying, “Cut!”
The movie, The Man Without a Face, premiered in 1993.
My second novel set in the village of Amity Landing takes its inspiration from that event.
Lights! Camera! Action! Hollywood comes to Amity Landing, trailing corpses
What do you do when Hollywood takes over your tiny Maine village to make a movie?
Cassidy Beauvoir, chair of the board of overseers of Amity Landing, is ready to throw the bums out; that is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. It’s instant attraction until a series of deadly incidents threatens their budding romance. Are the attacks directed at the movie crew or the townspeople?
As the two search for answers, the trail leads them to long-held secrets of the worst naval defeat of the American Revolution—including betrayal, murder, and a lost hoard of English gold.
Excerpt: Cassidy Meets the Toff
Cassidy decided she could safely ignore the sarcasm. “I think I just encountered the Toff.”
“You think? The man gives ‘demigod’ a whole new definition.”
“Okay. Greek hero with Samson’s locks and Julius Caesar’s nose?”
“That’s the chap. I’ve been ordered to introduce him to the Spinney house. Want to come along?”
She checked her watch. She didn’t have to open up the store for another couple of hours. “Sure.”
“Hop in.” They proceeded at a more sober pace past the row of tiny houses perched on the cliff above the bay and pulled in next to the green-shuttered Spinney house behind the McLaren. They walked down the steps and entered the kitchen. It looked the same as when Cassidy showed it to Sally, but the rest of the house had been transformed into Prospero’s cave. Black curtains covered all the windows—even the great bay ones looking out to sea. Equipment and captain’s chairs were strewn about, the original furniture pushed against the walls. Cassidy sucked in a breath. “Why did you need a real house if you were going to turn it into a studio?”
“Oh, we’ll move stuff around as needed. There’s Digby.” He led her over to the current heartthrob of dozens of middle-aged women. The actor was standing in the middle of the room, eyes shut, with a hand over his heart.
He started. “Who disturbs me in my cogitation?” His round BBC tones resonated in the room. He opened his eyes. “Oh, it’s you, MacEwan. What do you want?”
“I would like you to meet Miss Cassidy Beauvoir.” He made it sound as if he were doing Toff-Smythe a favor of the highest order. “Cassidy? This is Digby Toff-Smythe, star of our little project.”
“Little? My dear boy, this will be the toast of Sundance, of Cannes, of Venice. It has all the makings of my best effort yet.” He smiled graciously at Cassidy. “Are you with the crew, Miss Beauvoir?”
Jasper jumped in. “No, she’s the president—”
“Chairman of the board of overseers of this town.”
“I see.” He shook her hand. “It’s always gratifying to connect with the local establishment. Are you here to present me with the keys to your municipality?”
This question met with astonished silence. Finally, Jasper—his voice rather desperate—added, “And she owns Mindful Books. It’s a bookstore in Penhallow. I am pumping her for recommendations for nearby watering holes. I know you prefer to avoid the canteen—all those fawning stagehands.”
It will also be available on Overdrive, Indigo, and other online stores.
About the Author
Librarian, anthropologist, research assistant, Congressional aide, speechwriter, nonprofit director—M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.
Ms. Spencer has published fourteen romantic suspense and mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an exuberant granddaughter and currently divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
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