TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS is a humorous mystery set in the small Texas town of Lockhart, featuring our dog Boo Radley. Most of the settings are real.
And believe me, I made up all of the characters (except for our dog), even though local readers josh me from time to time about how they recognize so-and-so in certain scenes.
If you live in Lockhart and have read the book, then it’s pretty easy to scout out the real places. But for readers from outside the area, (we had the opportunity last week showing a nice couple from Seguin around) we came up with the TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS Lockhart tour.
We started at the City Park (where the novel begins), drove past the site where the first dead body was found down by the creek bed (in the book, guys. it’s all made up). Then down into the historical cemetery right next door. One of the inspirations for TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS was the yearly Speaking of the Dead nighttime cemetery tour the historical society holds out here. The last year we walked it, when I couldn’t keep up and came close to tripping over grave borders, I started laughing, picturing our dog Boo Radley dragging me through the dark and onto something scary.
After the cemetery we drove to look at the mansions along Main Street, one of which served as Grady William Pearce’s fictional abode. Then to the Caldwell County Historical Society Museum, which is commonly known as the old jail. It looks like a castle on the outside, and up on the second and third floors it’s definitely a 19th century rusted-out jail. We still think it would be a great place to have an overnight ghost story party.
We were there too early in the morning to tour.
From there we passed Grace Lutheran Church, then to Maple Street and the house standing in for the Gruene House in my book. Then to the Maple Street walking and biking trail. The year I wrote the book, the fields alongside it were planted with cotton. Every other year, it’s corn. Here’s a photo of the corn. Walking Boo Radley past the corn or cotton fields day by day and dealing with her quirky personality was the other inspiration for TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS. I really did make part of it up walking the dog (getting dragged by the dog is more accurate).
From there we drove all the way up to the field alongside the junior high school where the fictional Barkie Bark and Sophia got into so much trouble. Then back down to the park where the fictional FBI agent got into so much trouble.
Ended it with a short look inside the Dr. Eugene Clark Library (where the third installment of my Boo Done It series will see a murder done). And then we really ended it with a great BBQ meal at Blacks BBQ.
The couple we took on this tour wanted photographs to send along with TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS to make it more special for the recipient. We volunteered to drive them around because it sounded like a fun thing to do, especially since they liked our mystery novel.
I doubt we’ll ever get any more Boo Done It fans visiting Lockhart just to see the places I’ve written about, but if we do, we might be up to showing them around.
WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: Watch Me Die by Lee Goldberg.
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