Saturday, August 1, 2020

Ep 10 - Daisy Bateman & Rest You Merry




Life-Changing Book 

by Charlotte MacLeod

Daisy Bateman
Daisy Bateman is a mystery lover, cheese enthusiast, and world-renowned expert in Why You Should Buy That. Her educational background is in molecular biology from Caltech and UC Berkeley, and in what passes for normal life, she works in biotech. She lives in Alameda, California, with her husband and a cat, only one of whom wears a tuxedo on a regular basis, and a puppy on a mission to chew the whole world into tiny pieces. Her first book, Murder Goes to Market, was released as an ebook in June 2020, and is coming in paperback in September, from Seventh Street Books..

Murder Goes to Market Book Cover
Aerio Ingram Spark
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The Thin Man

Hercule Poirot


Sisters in Crime (Note: Charlotte MacLeod was a founding member of Sisters in Crime.)


Denise:  So we're here to talk about Rest You Merry by Charlotte MacLeod. And the first thing I have to ask. Any relation to Duncan MacLeod? Sorry!

Daisy: I don't believe so no.

Denise: I know. Well, he's fictional so...

Daisy: Yeah, that would be challenging. I forget. I think Charlotte MacLeod is her real name. She also had a pen name and wrote as Alyssa Craig, but I think that was the pen name and Charlotte MacLeod was her real name. So she could be fictional. And then it still doesn't work.

Denise: Yeah, no, I just, I loved that last name, actually. And it's probably because of Duncan. I had a huge crush on him in high school. I'm sure a lot of us did, but-

Daisy:  Yeah, yeah.

Denise: And the book was published in 1979 based off a short story that she expanded into a longer story, is what I read about it , but it's like her eighth book published from what I could tell. And it's the first in a series of Peter Shandy novels.  So let me first ask you, what was your life like before you found this book?

Daisy:  I was probably in middle school when I read it for the first time. So my life was being a middle schooler. My reading life, I was, I was heavily into The Babysitter's Club and continued to be post-reading it.  The late eighties, early nineties YA,  kind of pre-YA really, it was before that was really a genre. All of the Black Stallion series of books and all the Anne of Green Gables and everything . I was only sort of moving into adult novels.

Denise: That sounds like me a little bit. Babysitters Club, yup. A little bit of the Black Stallion novels cause I, I basically read everything, but I didn't find this book. I read all the Agatha Christies instead, because that's what I found. So I was surprised that this was that old and I'd never heard of it.

And I was like, when I was looking for mysteries back then, how come I didn't find it?

Daisy:  I think she kind of dropped off, although she was still pretty popular by the late eighties. She's less known now, but a bestseller of her time.

Denise: She still should have been in the library, I would think.

Daisy: Oh yeah. No, she was still writing. She was still publishing into the late nineties. I think she died in the early two thousands. 

Denise: How did you even find the book then?

Daisy: My parents left it in the bathroom.

Denise: [laughter]


Daisy: That's pretty much how I got into reading mysteries. My parents would leave books in the bathroom and I picked up that one. I think I thought it had a neat cover and the opening scene is a lot of fun. My parents are big mystery readers. They had a house full of books and I just started read my way through all of their books.

Denise: Do you remember what the cover looked like?

Daisy: It's sort of a Christmasy scene with a skull, like a scene of a wintery town  and lights. Maybe a skull and Christmas lights. It's somewhere in their house. It probably was not a first edition, not the first version published.

Denise:  I'll have to see if I can track that down.

Daisy: It had a fun, kind of look to it.

Denise:  Cool.  Did your parents let you read everything?

Daisy: Pretty much. If they had anything in the house that I wasn't supposed to read , I never found it. They didn't have real restrictions on age level or content they tended to read mostly kind of traditional mysteries, anyway. So there wasn't really much that you can get into that much trouble reading. Agatha Christie and Aaron Elkins and Emma Lathen and all of that.

Denise: I think my mom had the same opinion. She was like, you're reading Agatha Christie? Okay. Because, you know, it's from a long time ago and she knew there was, it was basically cozy. There's not really anything except for a little bit of murder,

Daisy: On the other hand, my brother read the graphic novel Maus when he was like 10 or something, which this I'm not sure. They quite knew exactly what it was, but,

Denise: It had pictures must be for kids.

Daisy: Yeah.

Denise: Okay. So describe the book's plot for us.

Daisy:  So professor Peter Shandy is a  professor of agriculture at a a small new England college, the Balaclava University, I think it's called, I've forgotten the name actually.

Denise: Something like that.

Daisy: Anyway, he's a professor. He lives in this, there's this faculty housing on this crescent. Very nice, lovely, old houses that every year, everyone decorates up for Christmas and people come out and look at it and it's a whole thing. He's kind of a curmudgeon and he gets tired of being hassled to decorate his house and finally just kind of cracks and puts up the most outrageous over the top decorations all over his house. And then takes off, like leaves town to leave them to deal with it. His leaving town gets cut short. He comes back and he finds the woman who had been sort of leading the charge at organizing this display dead in his living room and it's staged to look like an accident, but he's fairly confident that it's not. So he ends up pursuing it and, and catching the murderer.

  Denise: I kind of feel his pain with the Christmas decorations.

Daisy: I think that was really what drew me into that book because it was the first Charlotte MacLeod I ever read. I just thought it was the funniest thing. His revenge that he gets on all the people and his crazy loud Christmas music and flashing lights and Santas on the roof and everything.

Denise: I know this book was probably written right before 1979, but published in 1979. I kept thinking in my head when I was reading this was it was like a 1940s - 50s movie. I kept feeling Rock Hudson was Peter Shandy and Doris Day as Helen.

He's such a lovable, like, he's not an absentminded professor, but he's  independent, kind of does his own thing person. he'll interact with everybody else, but he just really can't be bothered in a way. And he's very logical, very, focused, I would say, on his studies and assignments and stuff like that. So I kind of, I really felt like I was in the middle of a Doris Day, Rock Hudson movie, the whole time.

And then, all the regulars would be his neighbors and co-faculty.  I can't even think all the regulars that would be in the side characters in those movies. I could picture them. And I was like, yep. There's that guy? He's annoying. Yup. There's that guy. He's a problem.

Daisy: Yeah.

Denise: So tell me how you felt when you were reading the book for the first time. Sounds like you had a lot of fun, with it, with the setup.

Daisy: It's obviously been a long time. But mostly, I thought it was really, really funny and that was always, then and even now, sort of what draws me to books. I love humor. I liked the cast of characters and the adventure of it. And that was what made me really wanna steal it out of the bathroom and go and take it and read it and finish it.

Denise:  Have you reread it since then or is it something you reread frequently?

Daisy: Not frequently, but I actually just happened to have reread it last fall.  I've been kind of filling out my things that I have paper copies, buying them and rereading on the Kindle. And I was happy to see that it mostly holds up. Sometimes books that you really liked in the past...

Denise: Yeah.

Daisy:  You see things that you didn't see then. I was pretty happy with it and I think I probably read it a couple of times since the first time, but it had been a few years.

Denise: It definitely has a Christmas-y theme to it, which is another reason why I was surprised it didn't come up before now for me . When there's a seasonal thing, usually books will rise above like, Oh, Hey, read this book during Christmas. But it never did.

 Have you read the rest of the series or did you just read- 

Daisy: I think there was a couple of her early books I haven't read, but I've read everything. The Peter Shandy series goes on for a bit, and then she has three or four other series, that I've also read.

Denise: So, how do you think it's impacted you as a writer? Because you write mysteries now? Yeah.

Daisy: Yeah, I do. I would say it's a major influence. I would say that she and Dorothy Gilman are probably my biggest influences as a writer.

 Charlotte MacLeod, mostly for the humor, the kind of over the top characters, she does. I think my biggest takeaway as a writer is to not be afraid to have your characters be a little bit unusual. I mean, I don't write anybody nearly as over the top as his university president, the Viking, who runs his university. Definitely everything I write humor is centered  and characters are larger than life. That's a direct influence from her work.

Denise: She's very good at giving her secondary characters their own agenda. It's very clear they have their own different wants and needs. They're not just there to support the main character and in fact they're there to get in his way.

 Was that the first mystery you read or did you read other mysteries before it?

Daisy: If it wasn't the first adult mystery, if it wasn't the first, it was probably one of the first. I read a lot of the Happy Hollisters as a kid, which are sort of mystery. I don't know if you're familiar with them.

Denise: Un-uh.

Daisy: It's a series from the fifties, kind of Hardy Boys. It's a very large family of children who solve very mild mysteries of the missing treasure kind of variety, not murder sort of things. I never did Nancy Drew. I sort of skipped straight to adult mysteries.

Denise: Not Trixie Belden either?

Daisy: No, none of those.

Denise: Boxcar Kids?

Daisy: I've had a couple of the Boxcar Children books. I don't remember them terribly well. Yeah, no, I kind of skipped straight from the little kid ones to the adult ones. I think after Charlotte MacLeod I sort of branched into Agatha Christie and never looked back.

Denise: Yep. I know that. So were there any themes in the book that popped out for you? This is a tricky question for this book.

Daisy: It is. I would say there's probably a theme of personal responsibility.

Denise: That's a good one.

Daisy:  He does not take responsibility for his impulsive action and it kind of, not only in the murder, but it sort of trickles down into other parts of his life and takes his very ordered life and disorders it. And then that is also reflected in the mystery itself, like in the solution that the mystery has to do with people who have not taken personal responsibility. I mean, that's fairly vague as spoilers go.  I would not say it is a theme heavy book.

Denise:  I was thinking the elements. I don't know if they're, I wouldn't call them themes, but the elements that I liked were his focus on logic and science and just the way he thought through motives and people. He didn't not understand people. He did understand them. He just didn't care sometimes unless it impacted him.

And then the other thing I was going to say is he was totally cool with being on his own. He didn't require the social aspect, which I thought was good, but he was not portrayed as lonely. Some of the women were like, Oh, now you're interesting, we thought you were really quiet. But other than that, you don't really get the he's just the bachelor kind of dismissiveness for himself and by other people, you didn't really get any of that, which I thought was kind of nice.

Daisy: Then of course he finds something better than being a bachelor.

Denise: He does. Oh. And that was the other part I liked was, he's awkward. He's like, Oh, what are these feelings? And then he's awkwardly courting Helen. It's mutual though. She's a little bit awkward too. But they're almost just Frank about it as you know, it's pretty quick. They're like we just met, I know we just met that but I kind of like you.

Daisy:  I like that she's not just sort of the love interest. Like she doesn't just show up and be pretty or something. She's written as a character that you can see why he would fall in love with her, the way they interact.

Denise: I only read the first book, but they felt like they were matches.  And I was like, oh, he just totally met his match and partner because he tells her what's going on. He doesn't try to protect her so much, I mean, a little, but just as any human being would. He listens to her thoughts and they kind of work together a little bit. I thought that was an interesting set up for the series cause I'm pretty sure in book 2 they're married.

Daisy:  They're a team for the rest of the series. They're not always doing everything together, but  yeah, I like that relationship.

Denise: That's cool. Her other series? I know that was about a couple too, right? A married couple?

Daisy:  Actually, all of her other series tend to have couples in them. Yeah. And Max Bittersohn. That one is really fun too. That one's interesting because it's after the first couple of books, it tends to divide more between their point of view. I guess mostly it's from Sarah's point of view. So instead of with this one's from the guy's point of view, that one is from the wife's and she's the main character. I think you sometimes get point of view chapters from Max but not many. They really are an investigative team. Well, he is a professional art investigator, so that kind of feeds into that whole thing.

Denise: That's cool. I've always liked those. I haven't seen it in books that much, but I do see it occasionally on TV, like. Is it Hart to Hart?

Daisy: Hart to Hart. Yeah. I've seen some of that. And I mean, The Thin Man is sort of the, the canonical.

Denise: Absolutely I love The Thin Man. Although she takes kind of a backseat, she's kind of just like, you're on your lark. You're doing your thing, but I'll emotionally  support you.

Daisy: And pour lots of cocktails.

Denise: As long as you walk the dog. It's cool.

Daisy: Yeah.

Denise: So any characters that you identify with the most?

Daisy: Probably Peter Shandy. I'm a bit of a curmudgeon myself, not a bachelor, but I can definitely identify with just getting fed up and being like, well fine! And then of course, having to deal with the fallout and, that kind of not wanting to have people bother you. I relate quite a bit to that. Preferring a nice ordered life.

Denise: Yeah. Quiet, uninterrupted.  I'm not really a group person, going with the crowd or anything like that. So in any sort of group, I take a step back and I'm like, why, do I have to be involved? Why are we all doing this?  I think it's my paranoia for mob mentality or, I'm terrified of some of that.  I generally don't put myself in those situations, so I'm not usually in a big crowd.

Do you have any other strong reactions to any of the other characters?

Daisy: I just, of course I love the Enderbles. That's his neighbors, the very elderly neighbors, he researches small mammals and so they live kind of like small mammals in a den. I always found that very charming. And then, of course that Viking university president. It's just like any book he comes in like a hurricane and there's some great scenes in some of the later books where he comes in at the kind of big scene at the end and helps with the resolution, with his force of personality and strength and stuff. And you couldn't build a whole book around him, but he's great to have.

Denise: Yeah. That's the trick with those really cool characters that make a big splash is how to make them any kind of independent character in their own story.

 I liked Helen. I liked her calm. She kind of in a way reminded me of my grandmother in that she seemed to be able to have a conversation with just anybody. But she, unlike my grandmother, she seemed to, be good at giving , not passive aggressive, but like a veiled... if she gets attacked, she gives right back. But it's such a nice way that you might not even know that you just got, attacked in a way. Like belittled. Which is so exciting. I love seeing when people can do that, plus she's a libraian, which I always like.

Daisy: Yeah. A librarian that actually has a heroic role. Sort of.

Denise: So would you be friends with Peter or would you be friends with somebody else?

Daisy: Probably not. I think I'm more likely to be friends with Helen. I'm not necessarily friends with people who are that much like me. Possibly. I mean, it's, it's hard because he's obviously isn't so much of an older character and especially because when I read it originally, I was so young. I think of him as extremely old, even though the character is probably less than 10 years older than I am now. But-

Denise: Yeah.

Daisy: So I think that probably...

Denise: 56?

Daisy: Okay. So it was slightly more than 10 years older than me, but still like I have friends in their fifties, certainly. yeah. But it is funny. I sort of imprinted in my me that he is just a grownup. I could imagine being friends with the Shandys. I don't think I would be best buddies with, with Peter by himself.

Denise: It would be like, you go out on couple of dates or as a group or something.

Daisy: Yeah.

I don't think he and I would get a beer.

Denise: I think you're right. I think I would probably be friends with Helen too.

Yeah. You know, it's funny. I really wanted to see him... Do you see him teach in other books? Like in a class? Because I really wanted see that.

Daisy: Very little if at all. You see him interact with his students sometimes, but I don't, except maybe you get, as part of the lead into a scene, he's finishing up a class. I don't think there's any full scene set in his classes. It's been a while since I read them all, but I'm pretty sure you don't see much of his teaching.

Denise: Yeah, he's got tenure. And I kind of wonder like how, because he's so exasperated by most of the students we do see in this book, he's just like, you fools follow the rules, do the right thing, be smart about it.  and they're just kids, they're just doing whatever. But are you like this in your class too? Do you have any favorite students? Cause it doesn't seem like it, from what I can tell.

Daisy: In later books, he does seem, he's at least described as a well liked professor and he will interact with students in the more positive way. I think she was really leaning into the curmudgeon thing in this book and it lightens up in later books.

Denise: He's just grumpy cause it's Christmas and the Illuminations.

Daisy: Yes, pretty much.

Denise: So what about the setting? They're they're in a small college, so she's got that small town vibe for it. It feels isolated. He does kind of sneak off on a ship for a little while, but for the most part, the whole story takes place on the little college campu s, not quite sure exactly where, but I don't think it really matters.

Daisy: It's supposed to be somewhere in Massachusetts, or possibly Maine, I think it's Massachusetts.

Denise: Okay. I know she lived in Maine for a while. I think that's where she died. I couldn't tell if, I don't really remember seeing.

Daisy: I know that the Kelling-Bittersohn books were definitely set in Massachusetts. This one might be set in Maine. Yeah. She is kind of nonspecific, I think.

Denise: Yeah. I think it's definitely nonspecific. So, did you really get that feel?  I definitely got the feel for the small college. Like everybody knows everybody faculty-wise . I'm not really familiar with a college dedicated to agriculture, so that was interesting.

And it was a lot of sciencey stuff, engineering. It was almost like the engineering versus the plant guys versus the biology guys.

Daisy: Yeah. I mean, it's not my experience. I went to college in Southern California at an all science and engineering school. I've never lived in the Northeast, but it seems real. It seems like a very well realized place.

Denise: All you gotta do is put snow in it for me. And I'm like, sure, because I live in Arizona.

Daisy: Brick. You never seen brick buildings. That's a thing that always throws me when you go to the East coast, brick everywhere.

Denise: Yeah, that's true. Maybe old, old, old houses when we first populated Phoenix, but for the most part, it's definitely not brick. and we don't, of course don't have snow. So it always feels like it's got snow must be legit. And the red brick, like every house, it's a cute little house there with the red brick. That sounds cool.

But otherwise, I think I might've felt like, well, they were on holidays in a way.  I kind of thought, why doesn't he ever go to his lab? Doesn't he have a lab?

Daisy: That is a little unusual for somebody running a research lab, not to ever even drop in.  When I first read it, I had never worked in research. In retrospec, yeah, that is a little odd.

Denise: I haven't worked in research either, but, he  seemed the type where he'd be like, always puttering around.

Daisy: It's just normal. You don't wander away from your lab for weeks, I mean, you can. People take vacations, but he should have, you know,

Denise: Lab assistants.

Daisy: Grad students. I'm not sure if they have a graduate program at Balaclava College, but presumably he should have some people working in his lab. You don't do anything by yourself.

Denise: I thought it was hilarious that there, his claim to fame was a fancy rutabaga.

Daisy: The Balaclava Buster. I do remember that.

Denise: I was like, I don't know if I've ever eaten a rutabaga.

Daisy: Well, no, the point of that one is that was, it was very good cow feed.

Denise: That's true.

Daisy: I remember that detail sticking in my head.

Denise: No, but that is true.  but I still don't think I've eaten a rutabaga. So what would you say is your favorite part of the book?

Daisy: Okay. Probably the beginning, the opening 10% or so.  Not that I don't like the rest of it, but from the beginning depth to when he finds the body. I think that's the part that was mostly in the short story. And it's the most polished and developed and it just snaps right along. And you're right there in the world. And you're on his side and cheering him on  as he does what you might want to do, but never would.

Denise: Yeah definitely.

Daisy: When I think about the book, that's what sticks in my mind.

Denise:  My favorite part was the second murder because it caught me off guard. I don't know even why it caught me off guard. Cause I should have expected it coming, but I was like, Oh, Oh, Whoa. Now you're not going to get that answer, that guy's dead. And I was right. So that made me happy. I was like, got you.  I knew from the beginning. Shit. I can't say it because it's  gonna be a spoiler, but I will tell you that I knew from the beginning. I don't always get the killer. Or, at least got that as early as I did. So I was like, okay, I got it. But at the same time, I didn't feel cheated. Like, I didn't feel like it was so obvious.  Did you feel that that ending was satisfying?

Daisy: Yeah, I think so. Because I read it the first time before I'd really read many mysteries, so I wasn't as quite adept at spotting things . There, wasn't sort of the big confrontation scene that I kind of like, but, I thought it came together well. All the, all the clues fit in, everything worked in the resolution.

Denise: Did you feel like you knew who it was? Do you remember if you knew you got it right?

Daisy:  I don't think I knew the first time I read it. I remembered enough of it when I re-read that I'm like, Oh right. Oh right. It's that. And it's that. I suspect I didn't just because I was like 12 or something.

Denise: Yeah. When I was younger, and even now, sometimes I don't read to try to figure it out. I just read to go along with the journey.

Daisy: Same. Even, even the more puzzle,  the books that have like railroad timetables in them and things, I just gloss over and keep going. They'll tell me at the end, who did it, I'm not going to do the math.

Denise: Which book has something like that?

Daisy: Oh, there's definitely a Dorothy Sayers.

Denise: Oh, I haven't read her yet. I really need to.

Daisy: Oh, you've got to. Yeah, it might be The Nine Tailors. I can't remember. I'm sort of in the middle of a Dorothy Sayers reread. She's very good. You can just go ahead and read it and be like, I'm not going to bother w ith trying to figure it out, but there is the kind of complicated puzzle, if you want to figure it out.

Denise: Interesting. I did buy the first one. Peter Wimsey right?

Daisy: Yeah.  Yeah, they're all a lot of fun, but she likes an intricate plot.

Denise: So they haven't made this off into a show of any kind yet. If you were going to cast it, who would you pick to be Peter?

Daisy:  I was looking at this question earlier and I just can't think of actors. I think not Rock Hudson or anybody. Not that manly.

Denise: I was waffling between Rock Hudson and William Powell. And I know William Powell was Nick from Nick and Nora, The Thin Man.


But that's not the version I was thinking of him. I was thinking of him as more My Man Godfrey William Powell, but not quite. So like some kind of hodgepodge William Powell and Rock. I'd say ultimately Rock Hudson. And I'm just like put him in a sweater, put some glasses on him. So he looks like a nerdy professor. Ruffle his hair a little bit. So, you know.

Daisy: Yeah. I think I'm just going to have to pass on this. I'm just not that good at thinking of actors.

Denise: No, it's totally fine. And even still. I could picture Rock Hudson but I couldn't picture any buddy today in general.

Daisy: Maybe coming up with Stanley Tucci, but that's mostly from the role he played in, Julie and Julia. Yeah, I'm just not good at this.

Denise: There's no wrong way to dream cast a book though. 

Daisy: I can't even come up names.

Denise: All right. So I usually ask about epilogues  but it sounds like, I think there's like eight books after or something like that. So I feel like  she had written her own epilogue for this book.

Daisy: And then some,

Denise: And then some for sure. Do you know very much about the author Charlotte MacCleod herself?

Daisy: I actually don't, it's sort of an omission since I've been such a fan of hers.

 I think she's might've been originally Canadian. Two of her series are set in Canada. And she lived most of her life in the Northeast. And she might've been an early Sisters in Crime member.

Denise: I didn't see anything about her being in Sisters in Crime but that doesn't mean that she wasn't, but it wasn't like highlighted. I did see that she had won a couple awards for her stories. She won the Nero. She was nominated for two Edgar Allan Poe Awards. It was the American Mystery Award she won five times. She got the Bouchercon 23 Lifetime Achievement Award. She was nominated for a couple Anthony Awards as well. And then she got the Malice Domestic Lifetime Achievement Award. She did write a lot of books though. For someone so prolific-

Daisy: She was very prolific.

Denise: I'm still stunned that I never heard of her until you mentioned reading her book. It always puzzles me how many books I haven't read or even heard of that people want to do on the podcast. I'm just like, I feel, I feel like an illiterate person. I have not read this book and not only have I not read this one, I have not heard of it.

Daisy: I hope I introduced something that you can enjoy. I do feel  it's kind of a shame that she isn't very well known anymore. Cause I really like her. I think she's great. She's a forerunner of a lot of what you see in modern cozi es, comic small town, amateur sleuth mystery. She didn't invent it obviously, but you can see some of her, I think some of her influence, in a lot of what's become the modern cozy.

Denise:  Who would you recommend this book to then?

Daisy: I would definitely recommend it to any cozy readers, people who like the traditional mystery genre. Anybody who's looking for something that's going to not stress them out if they are, say, living in a fairly stressful time and would like to read something that's just enjoyable and not upsetting. I would tell them to try some Charlotte MacLeod.

Denise: Yeah. I agree with that. And what are you reading right now?

Daisy: I'm actually kind of  doing a Agatha Christie reread at the moment. I'm reading the pale horse right now, which is good. Cause that one I read so long ago, but I have no recollection of how it ends. So it's almost like reading it for the first time.

Denise: I read all of them and I was probably 12 and I don't remember any of the details of the plot at all. I just watched the, that last one that just got turned into a movie with Kenneth Branagh? I think it was Murder on the Orient Express. And it was  Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot. I love him so much.

Daisy: I just, I can't, he's like fist fighting and stuff, that's not Poirot. Like he is by definition, not a man of action.

Denise: Oh, I agree with that.

Daisy: It's like if we were going to do Miss Marple with, with Jennifer Garner. She is by definition, elderly. It is the whole point of the character. You can't cast a 35 year old playing that character. Sorry. I have very strong opinions on Agatha Christie. And Kenneth Branagh is a wonderful actor. I think his is Henry the Fifth is, is spectacular, but he had no business  playing Poirot..

Denise: I love that you love Henry the Fifth. That's like one of my favorite movies. Oh. And that's where I first saw him. Anyway. So I love him. I even like him as Poirot, but I totally get your point about how he's a little different in execution. Is that an understatement?

Daisy: That's maybe an understatement. Yeah, absolutely. For me, David Suchet is the only film Poirot.

Denise: Oh, see I was going to ask you that.

Daisy: He's just so perfect. Nobody else can do it.

Denise: I actually love Peter Ustinov better.

Daisy: Well, it takes all kinds. I

Denise: I like him being a little portly man. I like his mustache. I like his voice. I don't think it's related, but I love that Peter Ustinov also played, Prince John in the Robin Hood, Disney Robin Hood cartoon. I don't know why.

Daisy: Oh did he really? I love that movie, but, that, that is probably the best film version of Robin Hood.

Denise: Yeah, I think you're right. I don't mind David Suchet as Poirot either. I like Poirot, way more than I like Miss Marple in general. I think he's just a little more idiosyncratic. I don't know why. I just, I always struggled with the Miss Marple books a little bit when I was younger, so maybe I need to reread them and have a different perspective.

Daisy: I like them but she does tend to kind of come in, in some of them, she comes in just kind of a deus ex machina like, like the most of the book is something else and then she just sort of pops up and helps to solve it. I'm just saying this because I've been doing this reread lately and you do kind of notice that you are about two thirds of the way through the book before she even appears.

Denise: Oh, wow.

Daisy: Yeah. It's kind of like one of those Colombo episodes where you watch even watching it for half an hour before you even see him. I guess it's not that long. It's usually like 10 minutes.

Denise: Are you reading it for fun or are you dissecting it so you can understand it better as an author?

Daisy: Mostly reading for fun. I mean, I feel like you sort of absorb things as you read and I'm not, I'm not a terribly analytical reader. So I mean, if I come across something I'll be, Oh, okay. That's interesting. I see what they did there. But mostly I prefer just to let myself read and enjoy things.

Denise: And you said you were also rereading Dorothy Sayers.

Daisy: Sort of off and on.  I'd actually never read Strong Poison, which is a lot of people's favorites. So I finally got to that one. I'm not doing anything really in order, but, yeah, I've been dipping back into some of the classics to try to see what they can teach me.

Denise: Any other book recommendations?

Daisy: Well, in terms of somewhat forgotten authors from the seventies, Dorothy Gilman who wrote the Mrs. Pollifax books I would recommend along the same lines as  Charlotte MacLeod, if someone's looking for something particularly light and fun to read. She's an elderly widow who becomes a spy for the CIA.

Denise: Cool!

Daisy: I know she starts with you have to carry this thing and, and hand it to this person.

And because she's an elderly woman, of course nobody's ever going to suspect her of anything, but then something goes wrong and off we go, and then there's adventure. They are a little dated and it particularly shows because they're set in various foreign locales. But if you sort of overlook some of that, they are a lot of fun.  

Denise: You just made me think of Scarecrow and Mrs. King a little bit. Did you watch that show?

Daisy: I never did. No. That was just sort of never came on my radar.

Denise: It's a housewife who accidentally gets sucked into, not accidentally, some of it's because she's fascinated and she wants to be involved, but basically, becomes a spy.

Daisy:  Similar sort of. Just so much out there you just don't read or watch it all.

Denise: No, you can't. Do you listen to podcasts?

Daisy: Not very often, I'm afraid, when I'm listening to things I listen to music. But I'm very excited about podcasts.

Denise:  There's this podcast called, She Done It. It's about a lot of women in mystery and there was an episode entirely about Victorian mysteries.

Daisy: Oh, interesting.

Denise:  There's a whole book about women detectives written in the Victorian era. And people didn't know they existed, they got lost. And so it's kind of really cool to, to hear about that. I have to check out the books because I was so fascinated. In the podcast they were like there was a lot of lady detectives riding bicycles like that was their M.O. is they would get around on bicycles. They were very independent.

Daisy: Yeah. The bicycle was a big thing for independence for women in the Victorian era.

Denise: It was such a good episode, so fascinating. I'll just link it for everybody that can listen to it too.  Let's talk about your books.

Daisy: I've got my first book out. The ebook is out . Unfortunately the print version has been delayed until the fall and I don't have a publication date for the print version. The book is called Murder Goes to Market. It is a cozy set in a artisan marketplace on the California coast where a murder is committed and the owner of the marketplace who had quit her programming job to move to the country and run this business has to solve it.

Denise:  Is it going to be out on audio?

Daisy: Not, not as yet. I really hope so. I would love to have it as an audio book, but it's far as I know there isn't one planned yet, but I'm going to keep nudging on that one. Cause I'd love to have that.

 Denise: Do you have another book in the pipeline too?

Daisy: So far there isn't a book two on that series, I'm working on just a new book, potential new series, that I hope finish the first draft, some point in the next couple of weeks and start polishing that up and send it off to my agency. It's another cozy, but at the different setting and different main character.

Denise: Is there anything else that's coming up for you that you're excited about?

Daisy: Leaving the house eventually. Plans have been kind of disrupted this year. But, mostly I'm just really excited about the book coming out and finally seeing it in the real world.  There's a great bookstore in Alameda where I live that was going to host a launch event and I was really looking forward to that. So I hope when things are open again and we're allowed to gather in groups I'm hoping to do some sort of  party.  

Denise: Where can people find you online?

Daisy: So my website is just and my most used social media is Twitter. I'm @DaisyJ there cause I've had that since, before I changed my name.  I'm Daisy Bateman Author on Facebook and @DaisyBatemanAuthor on Instagram. Instagram is at the moment, mostly puppy pictures because I have an eight week old puppy. So if you want to come see he's a labradoodle and demon. Trying to eat our entire house. That's the sum total of my web presence.

Denise: Thank you so much for being on the  Heart-Shaped Books Podcast.

Daisy: Thank you.


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