Monday, March 26th, I had the delightful pleasure of being the guest of honor at the Tea and Book Club held every last Monday (fall through spring) at Mrs. Bridges Pantry in Woodstock, Ct. It’s an exciting experience, where I join the book club for an evening of tasty comestibles and tea, then get to talk to them and answer questions about my writing – as well as sell some books! For good luck, I wore a beautiful navy and grey two-tone suit that Yang made for me, based on a pattern he created from a vintage outfit. Of course, I couldn’t talk about my smart-talking gal, Jessica Minton, without wearing a pin that had once belonged to one of the original smart-talking gals, Joan Bennett!
Mrs. Bridges is set in beautiful rural Connecticut, just over the border from Massachusetts. The tea room is in a rustic wooden building. Every day of the week but Tuesday, you can journey there for lunch, dessert, and/or afternoon tea. They have a wide selection of black, green, red, and herbal teas. In fact, they are a major supplier for me! I highly recommend you visit, as I and my husband or I and my girlfriends frequently do. The people there are so friendly and fun, you’ll feel as if you are back with chums in no time. As you can see in the layout for the evening’s tea, there is a homey, lovely dining room. Further, you can find on the other side of the building all kinds of teas, china, and tea-related items for sale – including Bait and Switch and Letter from a Dead Man, the perfect accompaniment to a nice cuppa!
I had a wonderful time talking to the regulars in the club about my love of mysteries from the golden age, both on the page and on the screen, and the cinematic inspirations for many of the characters in my novels. It was also fun to talk about how evocative settings don’t just inspire a writer; they can drive you to use that place creatively. The folks had stimulating questions about how I found time to work, did I write by the seat-of-my-pants or did I have a fully formed plot at the start, how long it took me to complete work on a novel, or how I researched locations and events. In answer to that last point, I had fun telling them about going to New York City to test out one of Jessica’s hair-raising escapes, myself. You’ll have to read Letter from a Dead Man to find out how it works out. Here’s a hint – it involves the lions in front of the New York Public Library. And speaking of Patience and Fortitude (the lions’ names), it turns out that a brother and sister there that night were descended from the man who ran the business charged with moving them to the library. Small and intriguing world, isn’t it?
It was fun to renew old acquaintances and make new friends amongst the book club folks that evening. It was also lovely to work with Hope, who runs the Tea/Book Club, and Amber, who was our waitperson for the evening – constantly and patiently supplying me with Irish Breakfast tea! I have a picture here of Hope and I together, but I forgot to get one of Amber. Shame on me! If you live in the area, check out the Tea/Book Club. For $15.00 you have a delicious evening (homemade soup, tea sandwiches, dessert with homemade jam, and unlimited tea), as well as the chance to meet and talk with interesting authors (like me!). Or just stop by Mrs. Bridges for lunch or an afternoon snack – and pick up a copy of Bait and Switch or Letter from a Dead Man while you’re there! Dusty would approve!