Here are my TOP TEN REASONS for writing The Mountains Bow Down.
#10: Agatha Christie
My serious Agatha Christie addiction screeched into the station with The Blue Train.
Published in 1928—when it retailed for $2—The Blue Train features Christie’s singularly brilliant detective, Hercule Poirot, as he boards Le Train Bleu heading for the French Riviera.
Also boarding the train is Katherine Grey, an Englishwoman with a large inheritance. She makes the onboard acquaintance of Ruth Kettering, an American heiress stuck in an unhappy marriage who is planning to meet her lover. The following morning, Ruth is discovered dead in her train compartment, a victim of strangulation. And the ruby which her father gave her—the famous “Heart of Fire” jewel—is missing.
The Blue Train captivated my imagination, from the compartmentalized setting and tight schedule to Poirot piecing together a murder and jewel heist—most certainly committed by someone still on board.
And that’s when Raleigh Harmon jumped up and begged me to stick her in similarly challenging circumstances. Raleigh’s request launched the cruise ship setting for The Mountains Bow Down.
Here’s a short excerpt from The Mountains Bow Down where the redoubtable Raleigh Harmon reflects on her long day aboard a cruise ship heading for Alaska with a dead woman on board:
I pulled the covers up tight and listened to the ship sliding through the Inside Passage. The ocean brushed against the side, whooshing and splashing, and once again I thought of Judy Carpenter.
I wondered if she was completely dead when she hung there, or if her last moments were spent listening to this cold brush of sound, the silver splash of ocean as it escorted her to an end of days. smell, I told myself. But maybe I was wrong.