Sunday, July 18, 2010

Heat by Morgan Mandel

Illinois has been in the midst of a long heatwave, going on for weeks, with no relief in sight.
Still, my weekend was progressing pretty nicely. Saturday evening, after the sun went down, I and the DH went to another outdoor concert, this one at Terry Moran Day in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, where we enjoyed a performance by a very energetic and talented group called Friction.

It was still kind of hot out, but it's been worse. Still, being spoiled, I was looking forward to when I could get home afterwards and step into our nicely air conditioned home. Well, I did step into the kitchen, but when I did, I felt as if I were still outside. It appeared the fan attached to the furnace was blowing air from the basement into the rest of the house, but the compressor for the air conditioner was not turning on. The DH tried flipping the circuit breaker, adjusting the thermostat to a very low level, but still the air conditioner would not turn on. At 11pm it was too late to do anything about the situation, so we settled for fans downstairs and the window air conditioner in the bedroom.

Sunday morning, I got nervous about our dog, Rascal, being stuck in a hot room while we were gone. Also, how much would the repair cost? Would we need a new air conditioning compressor?

I waited nervously as the DH put a call through to a friend of ours who happens to work in the heating and air conditioning business. We were happy to hear he'd come over the same afternoon to check out the problem. It turned out to be an easy fix. Something called a capacitator broke and he got the part for us within an hour. (It pays to have connections.)

Now, this is real life I'm talking about, so an easy fix is a good thing. In books, easy solutions are boring.As writers, we must make our characters suffer. So, if I were including such an event in a book, I'd have to make the part something rare or out of stock, or maybe make it impossible to get a technician out becaue of high demand during the heat wave. I could even let one or more characters get sick or die from the heat.  Or, if it were a bad guy, the heat would get to him or her, making it the catalyst for a fight or murder.

What about you? Have you ever included heat as a factor in one of your novels? Or, maybe you'd like to share a heat experience. Or, have you read about it in someone else's book?

Morgan Mandel


Chester Campbell said...

My fourth Greg McKenzie mystery, The Marathon Murders, took place during a steamy August. My sleuths discovered the third body during a thunderstorm. I like to use weather, heat and such, in my stories.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I've used weather in all my mysteries: snow, rain, fog, etc. In my WIP, MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE, my two women senior sleuths have a car breakdown in the desert on the Arizona-Nevada border in 110 degrees. It was fun to write because I've been there, done that. :)

Ricky Bush said...

Yeah, setting my stories in Texas has to include the heat...and humidity. Lots of humidity.