After I finished reading the Miss Fisher books, I started looking for a mystery series that was just as clever, with just as many cultural references and jokes—but with a Millennial-aged heroine. Someone in her late 30s, with six figures of student-loan debt, who might still be figuring out the whole love-and-friendship thing (not to mention the whole gainful-employment thing).
When I couldn't find precisely what I wanted, I wrote it myself.
I created the character of Larkin Day, a 35-year-old, all-but-dissertation grad student who finds herself stuck in her mother's guest bedroom in Pratincola, Iowa.
Then I created Larkin's sidekick—Anni Morgan, a 37-year-old freelancer who can type faster than she can think but can't make small talk.
Then I built out the rest of the cast—Larkin's mother, a tightly wound academic dean who doesn't know what to do with her rapidly-unwinding daughter; Ed Jackson, a choral director and vocal coach who is one of the only Black people in the Pratincola community choir; Claire Novak, a police officer who has a soft spot for 99-cent romance novels; and Harrison Tucker, a salt-and-pepper fox who is as good at seducing women as he is at playing the piano.
And then I killed one of them off (guess which one), and left the rest of them to deal with it.