Tag Archive for: Woodstock

Skipping Woodstock, But Finding Women’s Lib—and Murder

Kay Kendall

my Austin Starr mystery series I try not just to entertain but also to portray
what an historical era is like. My first two books are set in the tumultuous 1960s:
and Rainy Day Women. Due
out next February is a prequel, After You’ve Gone. It features
Austin Starr’s grandmother as a young woman in small town Texas during
Prohibition. Although the historical setting is different (bootleg gin,
flappers, gangsters), many of the issues the two women face are similar. What
place should women have in society? What do women owe to their family, their
husbands—and to themselves? What the grandmother grapples with in 1923 is
related—almost distressingly so—to choices her granddaughter will face in 1969.
To prepare you to read the prequel, here is a rundown on my previous mystery.

Day Women
takes place in August 1969. Headlines across
the continent shriek about the sensational murders in Los Angeles of a pregnant
starlet and her friends—though Charles Manson and gang haven’t been caught yet.
Apollo 12 astronauts Armstrong (he walked on the moon), Aldrin, and Collins have
just arrived back on Earth. Rock music fans look forward to a big outdoor
concert—posters call it the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

my amateur sleuth Austin Starr scarcely knows any of this. With a
three-month-old baby, she is sleep-deprived and still adjusting to her new life’s
heavy demands. Then a phone call sends her (and baby Wyatt) flying across North
America to help find a killer. Why? Because her dear friend Larissa is
suspected of murdering women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. Then Austin’s former CIA trainer warns
that someone has contracted a hit on her. Her anxious husband demands that she
give up her quest and fly back to him. Austin must decide how much to risk when
she realizes that tracking the killer puts her and her baby’s lives in danger. 

I set my mystery
against the backdrop of women’s liberation almost fifty years ago because second-wave feminism (as it’s
now called) changed lives, and yet the rightful place of women in society still remains a
point of contention. My character Austin Starr discovers the movement when she questions
members of the dead women’s groups and is fascinated with the new ideas she

 Even though Austin’s young husband is an
anti-war activist, she herself is not a radical. I wanted her story to be
accessible to anyone today, of whatever political persuasion, and
so I explore what life was like for a typical
young woman—not a headline maker, not a Hanoi Jane or Angela Davis, but a
moderate who nonetheless gets swept up by history’s tides during the turbulent
sixties. All that turmoil lends itself to drama, intrigue, and murder.

don’t think this is a true spoiler when I divulge that the very day Austin
discovers the murderer is the same day it rained hardest at the Woodstock
festival. Later she decides she has no regrets at missing the famous event,
saying, “I never liked mud very much anyway.” In the coming prequel we see how much of her intrepid spirit she inherited from her grandmother—she who faced off against a thug sent to Texas by none other than Al Capone. Set among true-to-life details like that, I’ve composed another young woman’s tale about finding her balance in a world ruled by men.
Meet the author

Kay Kendall is a long-time fan of historical novels and now writes mysteries that capture the spirit and turbulence of the sixties. A reformed PR executive who won international awards for her projects, Kay lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to her bunnies, she loves them anyway! Her book titles show she’s a Bob Dylan buff.  In 2015 Rainy Day Women won two Silver Falchion Awards at Killer Nashville. Visit Kay at her website  http://www.austinstarr.com/>   or on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor 



Amateur sleuth Austin talks to her creator Kay Kendall

Freaking out. That’s
exactly what I’m doing. Freaking out.

RAINY DAY WOMEN-An Austin Starr Mystery

how desperate I was when my husband was jailed for a murder he didn’t commit? If
it hadn’t been for all the moral support Larissa gave me, I’d never have been
able to track down the real killer. I owe her so much.

               Now it’s Larissa herself who’s in big trouble. She
just called long distance with the terrible news. She’s a prime suspect in a murder.
Good grief, it’s only been a year since David was an accused killer. This is too much. I’ll have to wear a trench
coat and fedora—pretend I am a private eye—if I keep getting pulled into these
cases on a routine basis.
               Larissa wants me to fly across the continent—all the
way to the Pacific coast—to back her up while the police grill her. I’m
desperate to help her out, but I don’t see how I can. Believe me, I’d leave
tomorrow if I could.
               But what would I do with baby Wyatt? He’s only three
months old. Last time I chased a killer—back before I was a mom—I almost
died. That kind of scene is no place for an infant.
               But I can’t go by myself and leave Wy at home. David’s
facing a big deadline in grad school, and he’ d have a hissy fit if I asked him to babysit. Of course
I juggle Wyatt’s child care with my
own studies, but that’s expected. After all, I’m the mom. Dads don’t do things
like that—not much anyway.
               Here’s another thing—kind of selfish of me, I know. I planned
to drive down to Woodstock, New York, this weekend. The big outdoor rock ‘n’ roll
concert is happening pretty close by. I figured I’d put Wy in his little carrying sling, and he could enjoy the music with me.
               Still, I cannot
leave Larissa in the lurch. She’s the only real friend I’ve made since I pulled
up stakes and left my home and family in Texas to join my new husband up here
in Ontario, in the Great White North.
Larissa left for her summer job, I’ve really missed her. Long distance is too
expensive to talk much. When I heard her voice on the phone, I knew something
was wrong. We tell each other everything. See, she’s the only one who knows I was trained
as a spy by the CIA. That was back before I married David. I could never tell him that. He would not approve, that’s
for sure. But Larissa knows and keeps all my secrets.
               Oh gosh, the more I consider this situation, the more I realize
I must fly out and back her up during
her time of trouble. She’ll call me back in an hour to ask if I’m coming. Guess
I’ll have to put a plan in place. I must think of something.  

Author Kay Kendall
Want to read the first 20 pages of Kay Kendall’s second mystery, RANY DAY WOMEN? Go to her website http://www.austinstarr.com/ That book won two awards at the Killer Nashville conference in August 2016—for best mystery/crime and also for best book. Her first novel about Austin Starr‘s sleuthing, DESOLATION ROW, was a finalist for best mystery at Killer Nashville in 2014. Visit Kay on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KayKendallAuthor