Exclusive Interview: “The Honeymoon Homicides” Author Jeannette de Beauvoir


As someone whose friends vacation annually in Provincetown, Massachusetts, my impressions of this Cape Cod town are that it’s a rather festive and delightful place.

Which is not the impression someone would have if their friends instead read author (and Provincetown resident) Jeannette de Beauvoir’s Provincetown Mysteries novels. Not entirely, anyway.

In the following email interview, de Beauvoir talks about the tenth installment, The Honeymoon Homicides (paperback, Kindle).

Jeannette de Beauvoir The Honeymoon Homicides Provincetown Mysteries

For people who haven’t read any of the previous Provincetown Mysteries, who is Sydney Riley, what does she do, and where and when are they set?

Sydney Riley (her name is a bit of a play on the name of spy Sidney Reilly, on whose life the James Bond character was based — I like to have a little fun with names) is one of the many “washashores” who either ran from something or to something and ended up here. Up until this book, she worked as a wedding and events planner at the Race Point Inn; the nineth book [The Fine Art Of Deception] in the series saw her become co-owner. She also got married to her longtime boyfriend, ICE anti-human-trafficking agent Ali Hakim.

And why did you decide to set these stories in Provincetown, Massachusetts as opposed to some other beach community like The Hamptons or Fire Island? I know you live in Provincetown, but having so much crime in your town would drive people’s property values down…oh God, that’s it isn’t it? Did I just Scooby-Doo this?

Well, you make a point: no one wants to fall into the Murder, She Wrote scenario where everyone in town is either a victim or a killer — or, for all I know, possibly both. That’s one of the strengths of setting the series here: throughout most of the year we have festivals and “theme weeks” that attract very different kinds of visitors, so at any given time you have a great many people washing in and out of town. People who come for the Portuguese festival aren’t here for Trans Week, and those folks aren’t here for the international film festival. So most of the novels take place during a certain “week” with its particular ambiance and audience.

There’s another aspect to the town I’ve enjoyed exploring, that it’s literally Land’s End — the next stop is Portugal. No one comes here by accident; we’re not on the way anywhere else. So the kinds of people who accumulate at the end of the continent tend to be quirky to start with. That’s fun to play with.

So then what is The Honeymoon Homicides about, and when does it take place in relation to the previous installment, The Fine Art Of Deception?

The series is pretty much chronological, though I don’t specify how much time elapses between books. Sydney’s best friend Mirela adopts a child, so the closest to a given time can be gauged by how old the kid is, though I may have messed that up, having myself little interest in or knowledge of children.

The Honeymoon Homicides opens as Sydney and Ali’s wedding reception is about to begin — and ends abruptly when a murder takes place pretty much in the middle of it. Sydney is tempted to investigate, but she’s off to her honeymoon at one of the dune shacks in the dunes of the Province Lands. Something nefarious is brewing out there as well, that connects both to the murder at her wedding and also to some currents running through the uneasy relationship between Cape towns and the National Seashore.

When in relation to writing The Fine Art Of Deception did you come up with the idea for The Honeymoon Homicides, and what inspired Honeymoon‘s plot?

So as I mentioned, most of the novels take place during festivals, and in each book I uncover some little-known aspect of Provincetown’s past and / or culture. For example, in one of the books I weave in the very obscure fact that Provincetown was a stop on the Underground Railroad into the story. As you can imagine, one does eventually run out of festivals, and so The Fine Art Of Deception strayed from the model and instead was based on Provincetown’s being the oldest art colony in America. And Honeymoon Homicides likewise isn’t based on an event, but rather on a cultural part of life on the Outer Cape, the dunes and the historic (and controversial) “dune shacks.” Once I found the setting and context, I could grow a plot.

Obviously, the Provincetown Mysteries novels are, well, mystery stories. But are there any other genres at work in any of them, and specifically in The Honeymoon Homicides?

This series isn’t as blatantly genre-mixing as an earlier series that had dual timelines, so could qualify as both mystery and historical fiction; I do like to think however that there’s a lot more substance here than in a typical “cozy” mystery.

Jeannette de Beauvoir The Honeymoon Homicides Provincetown Mysteries

Moving on to questions of influence, are there any writers, or specific stories, that had a big influence on The Honeymoon Homicides but not on anything else you’ve written, and especially not any of the other Provincetown Mysteries novels?

I think we’re all influenced by what we read, especially by authors we admire. In that sense I have influences…but nothing as specific as this question is asking. I do like Phil Rickman’s exploration of liminal spaces, which I think can be true of the dunes, but that influence was certainly not front-of-mind.

What about such non-literary influences as movies, TV shows, or games?

I am indeed influenced in this book by non-literary things, but the influence comes from history and nature. The dunes have a powerful presence all their own, and the shacks a quirky history and threatened present. So those are strongly present in the novel.

You also write poetry. How do you think writing poetry — and, I assume, reading poetry — may have influenced how you wrote The Honeymoon Homicides?

It’s fair to say it’s my poetry that keeps my mysteries palatable to typical mystery readers. My genre (which is probably cozy-adjacent, or “cozy with an edge”) keeps violence pretty much offstage; there’s not a lot there to disrupt one’s sleep, despite someone always getting killed. My own personal angst — fear, sorrow, anger — comes out in my poems, which are generally viewed as “powerful” (which I think in context is another way of saying “disturbing”).

As we’ve been discussing, The Honeymoon Homicides is the tenth book of the Provincetown Mysteries series. But is this a series of connected but stand-alone stories, is Honeymoon the tenth book in a ten book series, or tenth in an eleven book series, or a 37-book series…?

I actually thought I’d probably end the series when I ran out of “theme weeks” and festivals, but Sydney had other ideas (which she generally does; these books never end up where I plan for them to). And this book turns a corner for her: she’s married, co-owner of a prestigious inn, and we’ve discussed what her future might be like and where events might lead her beyond Provincetown. We’ll see!

And can someone start with The Honeymoon Homicides if they wanted, or should they go back to the first book, Death Of A Bear?

Of course; anyone can pick up any of the books in the series and not have to know what came before or anticipate what might come after.

Given that, what will someone get out of The Honeymoon Homicides if they’ve already read all of the other books?

I think the strength of a series (and the reason I enjoy writing them) is in the development of the characters. No one is the same person year after year; we grow, we change, we experience things, we have new thoughts. And the same thing happens to fictional characters. Sydney isn’t the same in this book as she was in the first one; she’s wiser, smarter, more compassionate. So for readers who like to get to know their characters, who care about them as people, a series is an opportunity to see how and why they grow.

Hollywood loves a good mystery. Do you think the Provincetown Mysteries series could work a series of movies or a TV show?

As the overly trite expression goes, from your lips to God’s ears! Of course I’d love to see this as a television series. I see it more in the European mold, though — I watch a lot of British, French, and Nordic mystery dramas, and they delve deeper into characters’ lives, struggles, angst, and so on than do American shows. Sweeping generalization, of course, and subject to the obvious caveats. PBS could do a good job with it. I hope [TV producer] Rebecca Eaton is listening.

And if she is, and decided to make a Provincetown Mysteries show, who would you want them to cast as Sydney and the other main characters?

I know authors who play this game…and I’ve never really understood it. Casting is such an art form, and actors are constantly surprising me with their ability to transcend a “type.” (Well, except for Tom Cruise, but that’s a given.) I used to write plays and I was constantly humbled by the vision directors and actors brought to the stage as they made my story and my people come alive in ways I never would have imagined. I’d be grateful for anyone. Well, except Tom Cruise.

So, is there anything else people need to know about The Honeymoon Homicides?

Only that, as with all my other books, it takes a village. My publisher and editor both keep me on-track and warn me when I’m getting too close to the edge or painting myself into a corner — thanks to them I spend a lot of revision time playing whack-a-mole with plot holes. I am grateful for all the many people who help me get these books right, and any mistakes are mine alone.

Jeannette de Beauvoir The Honeymoon Homicides Provincetown Mysteries

Finally, if someone enjoys The Honeymoon Homicides, and they’ve already read the other Provincetown Mysteries novels, which of your other books would you recommend they check out next?

I love my dual-timeline Montréal-based mysteries, Asylum and Deadly Jewels.

But I’m also beginning a new series, hopefully making its debut next year, that will also have more than one timeline, though with a twist. The first novel in that series takes place in Nepal and particularly at Everest Base Camp, and I’m very excited about it. So watch for that.



2 replies on “Exclusive Interview: “The Honeymoon Homicides” Author Jeannette de Beauvoir”

I absolutely LiOVE. THIS SERIES OF BOOKS! Fun light reading! It is great to visualize the places so close to my heart! Your books are fantastic.
Asylum although wel written was a heavy subject to read.
Jeannette you are incredibly talented.
Looking forward to your new series

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