Ms. Dee Ann Meets Murder is back, beat up and bruised, from its most recent visit to an editor. One criticism about the novel is that Dee Ann spends too much time going to church (not a fault anyone has ever found with me, for sure). “You’ve got to hurry things up, move things along,” wrote my critiquer. “You need to keep your eye on the detective ball.”
Okay. I understand. Below is a scene describing Dee Ann’s Methodist church at Christmas. Given the above advice, these words may wind up deleted from the final draft. But in the spirit of Christmas and because I hate to waste anything, I offer them to you, along with photos I took this past Sunday at my own Methodist church, the inspiration for my description.
Enormous evergreen wreaths hung on the walls facing the congregation, and a bank of brilliant red poinsettias flanked the pulpit. An Advent wreath, holding the symbolic purple and pink candles circling the white Christ candle, rested on an ornate brass stand beside the steps leading to the choir loft. On a mahogany table near the side entrance was a nativity scene set up by the children, and white tapers in clear globes surrounded by shiny magnolia leaves graced the sills of all the tall windows. Most magnificent of all was the sanctuary Christmas tree, a giant Balsam fir rising twenty feet and adorned with oversized white Chrismon ornaments—giant crowns, crosses, stars, and doves.
Not anything there that advances the plot of a cozy mystery, I agree, but maybe a setting that evokes the glory of the holy season of Christmas in a Methodist church.