Fictional Sparrow Falls, North Carolina is much like the many real towns scattered throughout the Sandhills area of the southeast. A friendly and closely-knit community, a slower way of life, good home cooking, longleaf pines and white sandy soil reminding us that the ocean is only a pleasant drive from here, it’s the kind of town some of us remember and most of us would like to visit on a cozy summer day.
The homes of Sparrow Falls often play an important part in the mystery. Although these photographs are not of the actual houses themselves – those exist only within the writer’s imagination – they do capture the gracious feeling of the places created for the novels and short stories. I hope that you, genteel reader, feel that you have visited the friendly small town through viewing these lovely images. Please drop in often, as pictures will be posted frequently! For even more pictures of lovely old homes and heartwarming places, please visit my Pinterest page, Lovely Old Houses. . . Thank you!
Ms. Tilda’s cottage, covered in carpenter’s gothic details and complete with a wide wraparound porch overwhelmed by potted plants, was inspired by the cozy homes of kind elderly ladies who peopled my childhood days with graciousness and warmth, still fondly remembered.
Even today, the front porches of southern homes are places where we live our daily lives. Greeting the mail carrier by name, waving to neighbors out for a stroll and inviting them to “come up on the porch and sit a spell” is not a thing of the past in a small town like Sparrow Falls.
The Victorian Folly built by MacGuffin in Butler Did It: a sparrow falls mystery #2 became, almost without this writer’s knowledge, an eccentric character in its own right. I had more fun writing this book than any other to date, and thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in the mansion’s twisting halls and secret passages along with my characters.
The carriage house where Addie resides is not as elegant and large as the one in the picture, but this Tudor Revival house does capture the fairytale quality of the older home that I had in mind when describing it in A Distant Murder.
The elegant Colonial Revival mansion featured in A Sparrow Falls Fourth of July (aka Tilda Goes Fourth) is a charming example of the kind of southern hospitality of a gentler era, with its graceful demilune porch and tall columns. The house of my imagination was built of red brick with black shutters and white columns, but this photograph is so lovely that I had to share it with my genteel readers.