Why My Novel Series Takes Place in the 1950s
Don’t we all love nostalgia, thinking of the good ol’ days when we were kids no matter what era you grew-up in? The 1950s are, to some, a remembrance of a better time, an easier lifestyle.
A gallon of gas cost 18 cents, a loaf of bread 30 cents, and a cup of coffee 5-10 cents! And a United States average income was merely $4,237.
There were no computers, only typewriters, and extra copies were made with sheets of carbon paper. There were no cell phones, and most families could only afford a home telephone with a party line.
Colored TVs were made by attaching a sheet of three-colored plastic to the screen.
Typical children’s toys were potato heads, Tiny Tear dolls, and green Army men.
Most school children walked to school as there were no school buses or carpools. Instead of backpacks, children carried their supplies in school bags.
World War II was over and the Great Depression had passed. Because people knew what bad times were like, they were more cautious with spending, more hard-working to support their lifestyles. Conservatism was more a theme of life than an idea.
My Dana Greer Mystery Series takes place in this exact timeframe. Dana is a traveling investigator, one of the only women of her time to pursue this career; whereas, most women her age stayed at home and raised their families. What better way to travel than by the Atchison, Topeka & Sante Fe Railroad.
Dana goes wherever there is a murder involving any aspect of the Catholic Church. This is the Church Pre-Vatican II, where children memorized their catechisms, sang in Latin, and treasured their Missals at daily Mass.
The 50s were a time of racial segregation; gender biases; and religious intolerance, such as that shown by the Ku Klux Klan.
The 50s were a time of sexual orthodoxy where going steady was considered a sin by the Church, marriage was a life-time commitment, and having a child out of wedlock was shunned.
This was a time long before DNA and data-based offenders, which made solving a crime that much more difficult.
I chose the 50s as the perfect of times for a murder-mystery series.