The Poppy Cove Mystery Series is set in 1950’s – 60’s Santa Lucia, California, a fictional town loosely based on Santa Barbara. The two main characters, Daphne Huntington-Smythe, a born and bred fun-loving California blonde is the accessories buyer and Margot Williams, a recent arrival with a contemplative nature, custom designs the store’s apparel. Both in their mid 20’s, run and own their two and a half year old atelier Poppy Cove in the center of town, where Poppy Lane and Cove Street meet, catering to a host of colorful customers.
The stories themselves are character driven, revealing the lives and secrets of the residents, how they evolve, change and what they’ve lived through, rounded out with the Poppy Cove creations and daily workings of the town, with a little murder and mayhem tossed in the mix.
The first novel in the series is tentatively titled “Strangled by Silk” begins at the opening ceremony of the new Stearns Academy, an exclusive girls’ boarding school, founded by the town doyenne Constance Stearns-Montgomery, who is nowhere to be seen, until the silk scarf tangled in the rose bushes leads to her strangled body.
The fifties were an amazing time in American culture. The country was still feeling the glow of having “won the war” and with it came a booming economy and an unsurpassed radiant confidence and idealism that nothing could go wrong. Women’s clothes were feminine and colorful, men dressed sharply in suits and hats, consumerism was at its peak of big, bright and shiny homes and cars. But at the end of the 50’s, and start of the 60’s, there was an underlying change — cold war, McCarthyism, women questioning their roles in society and teenage rebellion were starting to crack through the veneer. It makes for an intriguing setting for telling tales. Santa Lucia, population 50,000, is a bucolic setting of endless possibilities and temperate climate which drew the rich, glamorous and dangerous to its natural charms.
The pen name Barbara Jean Coast became this terrific reflection of the time and place. Once it popped out, it had to stay.
Stay tuned as it gets published and out to the readers. There’s so much more to share!