Today, I'm hosting a guest instead of doing my own post. Please welcome, my friend and fellow author, J. L. Greger.
you wish you could travel to exotic spots? Is the Taj Mahal one of the places
you dream of seeing? I realize many of us during the pandemic would be thrilled
to travel safely even to Peoria, Illinois. But let's focus now on travel to
real tourist spots.
admit the Taj Mahal was breathtaking as it appeared
among the mists rising from the Yamuna River at sunrise. However, as the sun rose
I also saw and smelled the polluted Yamuna River. Indian politicians have described
it as an "open sewer."
My other problem with the Taj Mahal was the crowds. Think of the
crowds leaving the stadium of a Big Ten school after a football game. I saw the
Taj Mahal during the Diwali (a Hindu festival) holidays several years ago with more
than twenty thousand people. I hate the suffocating feeling of being pushed
along by crowds, especially in warm humid weather.
Now comes the surprising part of my wish to see the Taj Mahal.
The best part of visiting famous sites
in India wasn't the sites but the school children at the sites. The children
were in groups
of fifty to three hundred. Each clump of children were identifiable by their
clothes, particularly the girl's uniforms. For example, one group of several
hundred girls wore leggings with long jumpers almost to their knees in shades
of green. Although all the groups were noisy when they left their buses. They
were quiet and organized and with the smallest in front and the tallest at the
back of the group by the time they reached the entrance to the sites. When I
made the mistake of saying hello to one particularly cute little girl in a pink
uniform, I was swamped by children taking my picture and asking questions.
My advice is if you aren't an experienced traveler, skip an
expensive trip to India and read DIRTY HOLY WATER, a
romantic mystery with realistic depictions of India—good and bad. If you're not
into India, you'll still enjoy this mystery in which it's difficult to
distinguish villains from victims.
Consider an alternate wish
Maybe during this holiday season and the rest of the pandemic,
many of us should wish to be more helpful to those less fortunate than
ourselves. For example, many children desperately need on line tutors. Local teachers
and school districts could put you in contact with one of these children.
Patients in hospitals are often not allowed visitors now, and they're lonely
and scared. Volunteer offices at many hospital will accept handmade (knit,
crocheted, sewn) baby blankets and afghans. these offices can also describe how
to construct care packets that can be given to incoming patients. Homeless
shelters and food banks need volunteers and contributions.
Why should you consider an alternate wish? Because your wish for
happiness and relief from the boredom induced by "stay-at-home"
orders is met by fulfilling the wishes of others. Then too, you won't feel
guilty when you snuggle up under a warm afghan and read DIRTY HOLY WATER.
Blurb for DIRTY HOLY WATER: Sara Almquist is about to become engaged and
leave for a vacation in India with her boyfriend when she becomes a suspect in
the murder of a friend. It's unnerving for Sara because she's used to being a
trusted forensic investigator with answers, not a nervous suspect.
Surprisingly, Sara finds insights into her feelings and those of the
dysfunctional family of the murder victim as she becomes immersed in Indian
The Kirkus review is: "A
thought-provoking, disturbing, and engaging mystery with a likable,
strong-willed female lead"
DIRTY HOLY WATER (paperback or ebook) is
available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0960028587
is a biology professor and research administrator from the University of
Wisconsin-Madison turned novelist. She has consulted on scientific issues
worldwide and loves to travel. Thus,
she likes to include both science and her travel experiences in her
thriller/mystery novels in the Science Traveler series. Award-winning books in
the series include: The Flu Is Coming, Murder:
A Way to Lose Weight, Malignancy, Riddled with Clues, and A Pound of Flesh,
Sorta. Learn more at: http://www.jlgreger.com