from the jazz age to the space age

Category Archives: english country murder

A few years ago I decided to make some jointed paper dolls. Unfortunately, after they were finished my printer decided to die, so I never posted them. But, gearing up for some painting has made me realize that, since I usually post digital work, no one is familiar with what my paintings look like. I use a stippling/ small dash method. Not a big surprise, but I like Wyeth’s beautiful tempuras combined with the flatness of medieval manuscripts. So here they are:

I LOVED doing this project. I LOVE Agatha Christie and became quite infatuated with the archetypes peppering her work (that’s a kind way to say that complex characterization was not considered her strong point). I read nothing but Christie for almost two years. HERE is the link to ┬ásome of my Christie books. I’m particularly attracted to their lurid covers. I love mysteries and since it’s Autumn, it’s the perfect weather for magic, mystery, and beautiful colors. These were, not surprisingly originally painted in the Fall. They are all gouache on Acrylic paper.

spinsterlysleuth72

The Spinsterly Sleuth (obviously Ms. Marple) with her gardening gloves, spade, birdwatching glasses, embroidered knitting bag, a book to track clues, a cup of (hopefully poisonless) tea, and a scrap of burned paper (most likely a clue). In case you’re wondering, I have a very similar skirt and the exact same shoes.

clevervicar72

The Clever Vicar is genial and well liked. He’s known to take an active interest in his parishioners and always has time for a hard luck case and a shoulder to cry on. So who was that letter written by and how did his letter opener get so… bloody?

darkhorse72

The Dark Horse is the Vicar’s wife. She loves venturing into the forest alone to collect flower specimens and store them in her vasculum. However, her bloody pruning shears and burned envelopes seem more than a little suspicious. HERE I am working on the “Dark Horse.”

goodsport72

The Good Sport is the envy of every man for both his talent at tennis and his beautiful wife. He┬ánever loses his cool, on the court or off, but then, what are those stains on his sleeve and racket? With so many questions to answer, no wonder he needs a scotch on the rocks. HERE I’m working on the “Good Sport.”

itgirl72

The It Girl- that chimeric creature both sporty and a bombshell (The lovechild of Katherine Hepburn and Gene Tierney). Highly competitive, with a wicked temper (usually where he husband is concerned), she longs to be taken seriously at golf and escape the shadow of her more famous husband. No wonder she claims to have had one too many martinis and can’t remember how her golf club could have possibly gotten so bloody.

I have sketches for more, but I’ll probably convert them into illustrations. The next set will be “English Seaside Murder.”


i love mysteries~ human, eleusian, and literary. agatha christie’s miss marple was my introduction to the genre. at 12ish years old somehow, someone one left a volume of her short stories at our house. desperate for reading matierial i picked it and fell under their spell. however, dame agatha was soon replaced in my heart by conan doyle. what can i say, i was a victorian nut at the time.
flash forward 25 years! following our move to so-cal so my husband mikael could begin working on his masters, i picked up christie’s “tuesday club murders”.
The.. Tuesday Night Club, a random gathering of people at the house of Miss Marple. Each week the group tell thrilling tales of mystery, which are always solved by Miss Marple, from the comfort of her armchair.”
{thanks wikipedia!}


soon after this i started collecting any agatha christie books i could find at our local used book shops. the older the edition, the better, for the older editions boast delightful painted covers. in addition to miss marple i discovered christie’s stand alone mysteries such as, “murder with mirrors” and “towards zero.”. while i’ve read most of poirot’s cases many times, these we’re new to me. i was instantly charmed. 

in my characteristic over-enthusiasm i decided to make my own set of dolls inspired by the common stock characters in english country manor mysteries from the 1920s to the early 1960s. after making a two page list i whittled it down to five character types:
the spinsterly sleuth, the clever vicar, the dark horse, the it girl, and the good sport.
each is a jointed doll, held together by brads. there are changes of clothes, accessories, clues, red herrings, and possible bloody murder weapons. their clothes are drawn from the general styles of the 1920s to early 1980s, with much mix and match between the decades. 

*covers are from my personal collection of pocket sized paperbacks.



now i can fulfill my desire to daydream grisly murders and their solutions by my paper creations!


“english country murder” coming soon!


after being a flunky the last couple days, i’m back at work while karl sleeps. 

intricately applying layers of color while listening to “bryter layter.”

 my gorgeous husband doing school work to my right. 

yes, i chew my paintbrush ends and yes, it’s really gross. no, i don’t chew pens bc that’s really, really gross. no one is going to touch my paintbrushes but pens are so… communal. 


i have 2 projects i’m working on. one is a commission i can’t talk about yet and the other is a set of 5 paintings that will be available in my shop soon~

working on “the good sport”