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  • Ronald Hore

Requiem for a Series

The Housetrap Chronicles

You've heard some of this before, but worth repeating as motivation for a new writer if nothing else.

Back in the dark and early days of my writing attempts, to give myself a break from writing what I call medieval-style fantasy novels, I decided to create something completely different, and which would give me free rein to do whatever I liked. I decided on a fantasy detective novella, with the inspirational gimmick that I would take an existing or famous title, mess with it, and use that to give me a plot. I’d just seen Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” in London, so I came up with “Housetrap” and wrote a wild tale. Sent it off to magazine editors, who liked the story, but said it was too long for their format. (Or I wasn’t famous enough?). I came up with a brilliant solution. I’d write two more novellas, bundle the three giving myself a book-length product, and send the package off.

Two book publishers loved it and requested the manuscript. After two years, they both said they were still interested, but not quite ready to proceed. I met the publisher of Champagne Books at a convention and pitched my medieval-style fantasy novel. She liked it and asked if I had anything else. This year, 2022, the twelfth and final novella in the series will be released.

To date, most of the tales have followed my original scheme, with titles such as #3, “House on Hollow Hill,” a gathering of strangers in an old mansion, and #8. “Murder on the Disoriented Express,” which is self-explanatory, as examples. I used to tell people I threw in everything but the kitchen sink. That was achieved in #9, “Silence of the Sands.”

This year will see the release of #12, “The Mid-Winter Cuckoos at Midnight,” designed as the final tale in the series. The inspiration for this epic was those endless English murder mysteries set in a small village, population twenty, where they cheerfully kill off two or three inhabitants every week, without reducing property values. I’ve done my best to tie up most loose ends, while leaving a few, in the best tradition.

All of these stories are written so that you don’t have to digest them in order to follow along, and with enough of an introduction that the new reader is not completely lost. A minor disadvantage is you may come across recurring characters. The individual tales are all available as ebooks and then gathered as groups of three in print anthologies. Omnibus Volume 4 should be available in print later this year once “Cuckoos” is released.

So, is this the end of Randolf C. Aloysius, Private Eye, and his trusty sidekick, Bertha Wildwater? Only the capricious gods of tale-telling, know for certain.

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