Holiday Shorts - Decking the Halls

Yule Be Home for Christmas

By Alison Bruce

When I decided to set Deadly Legacy with Christmas looming, I asked myself: "How can I make the holiday season as challenging as possible for Kate?"

I made her father was a lapsed Catholic cop turned private investigator. Her mother converted to Judaism when she remarried. Her godfather follows the old Norse religion. As a result, Kate grew up celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, and Yule... except she doesn't feel much like celebrating anything with her father's death so fresh.
Festival lights twinkled throughout downtown. Less than a week ago, when the world was still a whole place, Kate met her father downtown for the annual lighting ceremony. It marked the official beginning of the winter holiday season. Shops and office windows competed for best dressed displays. The downtown board supplied unlimited quantities of hot chocolate and the food bank collected food and money from conscience-stricken consumers.
Kate had been going as long as she could remember, first with her parents, then her father. Christmas was their holiday together, just as the secular holidays of Thanksgiving and Victoria Day weekends belonged to her mother.

 When I was writing these words, my own mother had just died in early November. The feeling of loss, that first Christmas without her, was fresh in my mind. I remembered how familiar traditions didn't seem the same without my mother being at the centre of them.

Deadly Season, the next Carmedy and Garrett mystery, takes up almost exactly where Deadly Legacy ends. Kate Garrett and Jake Carmedy are getting paperwork out of the way. Kate is trying to hold things together by continuing the holiday traditions she shared with her father. Jake just wants to wrap things up so he can go home to his family. Also grieving the loss of Joe Garrett, it's his turn to lack holiday spirit.
“Deck the halls with boughs of holly . . .”
“I thought we agreed, no holiday songs in the office.”
“We agreed no holiday music in the office,” Kate said, hanging fresh holly over the last window. “I didn’t think that included me singing.”
“Well it does,” said Carmedy, scowling.
She gave him her best look of wounded sorrow.
He sighed.
She upped the ante with a lip quiver and sad smile.
“Oh give it up,” he said, laughing. “The pouty-face was one thing, but I don’t believe that quiver for an instant.”
But I got you to laugh, she thought. These days, that’s victory enough.
With family and romantic tension; grief and healing; humour and getting the job done... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.


December 22-23, 2012