Friday, March 30, 2012

Hair Stories

It started when I happened to glance at a shelf in a small corner bookcase in my dining room. There, within three books of each other, were paperback copies of Jack Webb’s The Bad Blonde (1956) and Michael Connelly’s The Concrete Blonde (1994). I had purchased both books used and never gotten around to reading either. The Webb book was a Signet paperback, price 25 cents. Looking at the sultry blonde on the cover, it occurred to me that one way to work through my backlog of books was to look for themes. Maybe I would read all the books that had a woman’s hair color in the title. Start with blondes and see how many more I had, move on to redheads and brunettes.

A quick glance at my bookshelves revealed that I had no other blonde mysteries in sight. But by now I was curious. Do blondes turn up more often in the titles of mysteries than redheads or brunettes?

As you may suspect, I was allowing myself to be distracted from a task I didn’t really want to do. I was happy to be intrigued by the blonde question rather than going to the Internet to find if anyone else had asked how to get shoe polish off of a hardwood floor. The blonde question was more interesting and less likely to require a trip to Home Depot.

So I turned to Amazon and discovered blondes abound in crime novels. Killer blondes, botoxed blondes, dead blondes, blondes wearing black, cold blondes, and dirty blondes, black-eyes blondes, and, of course, blondes crying murder. Blondes outnumbered their red-headed and brunettes sisters by at least 10 to one in the case of the redheads and even more in the case of the brunettes. The redheads were dead or restless. The brunettes plain or naked.

I thought about this as I leafed through my mental images of blondes. Marilyn and Madonna. Grace Kelly and Sharon Stone.

Lizzie Stuart, my crime historian protagonist, is a brunette. Aside from the fact she is African American, she is more Suzanne Pleshette than Tippi Hedren (remember Hitchcock’s The Birds?). Lizzie gets her hair cut in the first book in the series and has been wearing it in head-clinging curls ever since. Hair problem solved.

But now there is Hannah -- Hannah McCabe, the police detective in my new series. In the first book, she wears a baseball cap at a crime scene because of the sun beating down. She's bi-racial, and I'm pretty sure she's a brunette. But there’s something about her hair that keeps bugging me. That -- as much as the shoe polish on my hardwood floor -- probably explains my fascination with blondes in the titles of mysteries.

Strange how the mind will tease at something and find ways to keep bringing it up again. The book is written. I don't need to know anything else about Hannah's hair. It is irrelevant to my plot, but still . . . I'll let you know if and when I figure out what it is I'm supposed to know.

And, no, I never did find the answer to the shoe polish question. Note to self, stop looking up blonde mystery books and call hardwood floor guy.

3 comments:

Rick Blechta said...

I can always use a good hair story!

Diablo III Gold said...


This kind of good post, We appreciated that a good deal! Nice fashion sense! Fantastic photos! Cheap GW2 Gold


Mists of Pandaria MoP Key

adeoe said...

Strange how the mind will tease at something and find ways to keep bringing it up again. The book is written. I don't need to know anything else about Hannah's hair. It is irrelevant to my plot, but still . . . I'll let you know if and when I figure out what it is I'm supposed to know.
buy cheap gw2 gold