Author: Victoria Hamilton
Series: Vintage Kitchen Mysteries
Title: Bowled Over
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pub. Date: March 2013
I write a cozy series called the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries. Jaymie Leighton, my heroine, is a passionate collector, haunting thrift shops, estate sales and flea markets for kitchen collectibles, mostly from the middle of the twentieth century. I get asked a fair bit how I came up with the idea for the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series. I mean, why vintage? Why kitchen?
The easy answer, of course, is that is what I collect, or among the things I collect anyway. I do collect teapots and teacups, cat figurines, and even old books, but I love old kitchen stuff, be it bowls (my passion) or kitchen utensils, tablecloths and other vintage linens (much better made than modern stuff and beautiful colors) as well as tchotchkes. Gotta have the kitchen décor pieces, the doodads and thingies from a different age! It’s all a jumble, with chicken themed knick-knacks and teapots among the old kitchen pieces.
But I know a lot of people, even those who collect antiques and vintage, can’t imagine why anyone would collect old kitchen stuff in particular, so I’ll give you a few reasons why I love the stuff.
Utility – Say what you will, almost everything made in the mid nineteen hundreds was better made… better materials, better craftsmanship, better design, even. I have a chopper from the 1950s, and I’d bet I’ll still have it when Vince’s Slap Chop is in the dump. My Hoosier-style kitchen cabinet (model for the one on the cover of A Deadly Grind, Book 1 of the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries) is fabulous for storing stuff and for displaying my collection. It has deep drawers, cabinets and a slide out countertop for when I need more work space. What is better designed than that?
Beauty – I have some Depression glass bowls (Look at the green one on the cover of Bowled Over… that’s one of mine, and the stack of bowls on the shelf in the window is mine, too!) that are just gorgeous; I love them. Like Jaymie my ambition is to collect one in each color. I only have the clear one (aka the murder weapon in Bowled Over) and the green one so far, but I know there are amber, amethyst and pink out there somewhere just waiting for me.
Interest – These things have soul, they have history, they have something intangible that connects me with the women and men who handled them in a bygone era. How many batches of cookies have been mixed up in my Pyrex Primary Colors bowls? How many eggs have been beaten by the retro blue handled egg beater? The history of the kitchen is the history of the home and the modern family, and I find that fascinating.
Nostalgia – Some of this stuff is just what I grew up with. My mom had a set of Primary Colors bowls, and the chopper I talked about earlier? Well, I used that to chop onions as Mom tried to get me to like eating them. It didn’t work, but it was a good thought.
So, for all those reasons there are the ‘Vintage Kitchen’ mysteries. I get so many letters from readers, young and older, who connect with the pieces I describe and who want to hear about how they are used in the modern kitchen. I know a lot of other collectors now, too, through my books and the readers who enjoy them. I’m always interested in why people collect what they do. What do you collect? And why?
Meet the author:
Victoria Hamilton is the pseudonym for author Donna Lea Simpson. As Victoria she writes the bestselling Vintage Kitchen Mystery series (Book 1 – A Deadly Grind – May 2012) and the upcoming Merry Muffin Mysteries, also from Berkley (Book 1 – Bran New Death – September 3rd, 2013) Victoria loves cooking and collecting vintage kitchen utensils, as well as reading and writing mysteries. Check out her webpage for all the latest: http://www.victoriahamiltonmysteries.com and find her on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVictoriaHamilton