Meet Doris Matheson – Not Your Average Grandmother
By Lauren Carr
I’m a people watcher. I was really no fun back in my single days because instead of listening to my dates, I would be spying to the strangers at the next table in an effort to figure them out. After almost thirty years of marriage, my husband knows what’s happening when he sees that look in my eye, when I become more interested in a particularly juicy exchange happening at the next table. That’s when he’ll break out his cell phone to text our son, “She’s doing it again.”
My favorite part of being a writer is finding new characters and exploring their minds and backgrounds to figure out what makes them tick. I enjoy presenting the character to the readers as a whole, and then, through the story, I slowly peel back the layers to show the reader what is underneath—who that character really is.
Admittedly, I knew while writing Ice that some readers may think I was pushing the envelope with Doris Matheson, who is not your average grandmother. No, Doris is not a hipster, who dances to disco, rides around on a motorcycle, or chases men. Rather, she is a strong, compassionate woman whose tuna casserole can be considered a weapon.
While going through the edits for Ice, I felt a sense of recognition when reading the mother and son exchanges. It wasn’t until I was proofreading my latest mystery that it hit me.
Doris Matheson is my mother!
I had no idea while creating the character of Chris’s sixty-five-year-old mother, a spunky, take charge library director, that I had based her on my own mother, who passed away last year. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if it was by accident or my subconscious at work.
Like Doris, my mother was an avid reader, particularly of murder mysteries. Actually, to tell you the truth, if the book didn’t have a dead body in it, my mother wasn’t interested. She went to school in a one-room school house. Even though she didn’t attend college, she had common sense and wasn’t shy about sharing it with her children
A beautiful blonde, my mother was also a farm girl, who was a regular at all of the libraries in our small town. One librarian told me that behind her back, everyone called her “that beautiful lady.” She was truly a lady, who conducted herself with class. A widow, she had more dates than I did when I was in high school.
But my mother was no push-over. Every time we have to buy a new vehicle, my husband recalls when we bought our first car together as a married couple. Since my mother worked for General Motors, she and her family had an employee discount. Finding the best deal in her area, Jack and I traveled to Ohio and sat in silence while Mom haggled with the salesman. Through each issue, the salesman would relent with a groan and “Oh, Beryl.” She even made sure we left that dealership with a full tank of gas.
I recognized that strength of character in Doris in this scene in which Chris has called her down to the sheriff’s department when he is taken in for questioning about a shooting:
The interrogation room door flew open. The deputy’s eyes were wide when she said, “Bad news, Bell.”
“Matheson’s lawyer’s here,” the deputy sheriff said with a sigh.
“Worse. His mother.”
Rodney’s eyes were as wide as the deputy’s when he looked across the table at Chris. “You called your mother?”
“And she brought Sheriff Bassett with her,” the deputy said before running down the hallway to get as far from the imminent battle as possible.
“I’m sure this is all a big misunderstanding, Doris.” Sheriff Grant Bassett held the door open for Doris, clad in a black leather coat, gloves, and tall fashion boots, to step into the room. “We’ll get everything straightened out, and you and Christopher will be on your way ASAP.”
While Doris appeared polished, Sheriff Bassett’s shirt was wrinkled and haphazardly buttoned. His hair stood straight on end as if he had been in such a hurry that he didn’t bother combing it.
Rodney jumped out of his chair as if he were greeting the governor. “Ms. Matheson, what a pleasure to see you.”
“Is it really, Rodney?” With the precision of a leader inspecting her troops, she looked him up and down while removing her leather gloves. “A pleasure to be seeing me, I mean.”
She shot a glance over to Chris, who was enjoying the beads of sweat forming on Rodney’s forehead. Her gray eyes narrowed upon seeing that Chris was handcuffed to the table. “Are you serious? You have Christopher handcuffed?”
“Really, Bell? Seriously?” The sheriff hopped toward the table as if to remove the handcuffs himself. “What were you thinking?”
“Well …” Rodney swallowed.
“Well what?” Doris demanded an answer.
“Don’t just stand there, Bell! Uncuff Matheson!” When Rodney didn’t move fast enough, Sheriff Bassett raised his voice. “Now!”
Rodney spun around to remove the cuffs from Chris’s wrists. Rodney’s fingers trembled so much that he had difficulty getting the key into the lock. Seeing a bead of sweat roll down the side of the deputy sheriff’s face, Chris asked, “Is it just you or is it getting hot in here?”
Rodney shot a glare into Chris’s eyes before yanking the cuffs from his wrists. “Go home, Matheson.”
Readers will find that Doris’s power is not due to wealth or political position. After all, she is only the director of a small library. Rather, she has earned the respect of those around her through intelligence, compassion, and strength.
Yep, that’s my mom. I can’t wait for you to meet her. You’re gonna love her.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Book Title: ICE by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, 380 pages
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Cozy
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: February 26, 2018
Tour dates: April 2 to 30, 2018
Content Rating: PG (It's a murder mystery and there is mild violence. Very mild swearing no F-bombs. No on-stage sex scenes.)
The clues for a close-to-the-heart missing person’s case heat up when Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on the cold case.
When Sandy Lipton and her unborn child disappear, the court of public opinion finds young Chris Matheson guilty. Decades later, the retired FBI agent returns home to discover that the cloud of suspicion cast over him and his family has never lifted. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on this cold case to uncover what had happened to Sandy and her baby and the clues are getting hot!
To read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr's page on iRead Book Tours.
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About the Author:
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
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Ends May 5, 2018