I have mentioned that I live in Ventura, CA and before that I lived in Santa Barbara, CA. Between the two cities, I have lived on the edge of the Pacific Ocean for 35 years. However, since I can’t swim a stroke and I don’t fish much anymore, I don’t spend a lot of time at the beach. My dog, Tinker, likes it, so we go for walks on the beach now and then, but I don’t spend enough quality time on it to be called a beach bum, however, I can see the ocean from most parts of Ventura and in my daily commute, I drive next to it for over 30 miles.
One day when I was trying to think up more trouble for my Detective Anderson character I may have been looking at the ocean when a title for a story popped into my head. I cannot say for sure if the image of all this blue water was the reason for it but since Anderson seems to be around a lot of dead people, some by his own hand, and he lives in Miami, the deep blue of the sea made me think of this phrase: Death and the Deep Blue Sea. Maybe I was thinking of all of the mariners that have gone down to the sea in ships or maybe it came to me for some other reason. I honestly don’t know, but it got me to thinking about how I could involve Anderson in a murder mystery at sea.
The first challenge, of course, was to get him on the water. For this I used his partner, Detective Coombs. Coombs loved to fish while Anderson detested it but Coombs kept inviting him to go on a party fishing boat with him and since Andy was tired of making up lame excuses not to go, he relented this one time. Naturally, trouble followed when something awful turned up in the offal. In a tip of my hat to Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal movie, Lifeboat, all the actions take place on board the ship. This had to be done because Anderson was afraid that if the ship made landfall before he deduced who the criminal was, said criminal would be able to make his escape.
Between the time he and Coombs boarded the ship and the time they set foot on dry land again, our two intrepid detectives discovered who was murdered, who did the deed, and what was the main dish in the galley… The entire story evolved from what I thought was a catchy title.
This story, Death and the Deep Blue Sea, is included in my book, On Borrowed Time.