By Marilyn Meredith
The Trash Harem mainly takes place in the city of Temecula. I am fond of Temecula having family who live there and in the neighboring town of Murrieta. I’ve visited there a lot, but haven’t done many of the touristy things and there are plenty of them.
The biggie is the Pechanga Resort and Casino—but it’s not in my story, though there is mention of the Pechanga native people. The ancient oak tree, which also plays a big part in the mystery and decorates the cover, is real.
Old Town Temecula is full of intriguing shops and restaurants, including an Olive Oil tasting shop. The olive oil is mentioned, as is one of the restaurants, though I don’t use its correct name.
The Temecula Valley Museum is mentioned, especially the great Erle Stanley Gardner display. And yes, he does appear in this tale in a most unusual way.
Other tourist attractions are the Sunrise Balloon Flight, the Outdoor Escape Room, the Haunted Cable Car Tour, and the Old Town Scavenger Hunt, none of which are in this story.
Of course what Temecula is really famous for is its wine country with many beautiful wineries, a multitude of tasting opportunities including several wine tasting tours. Yes, the wineries do make an appearance in The Trash Harem—but the winery where Tempe, Hutch and their hosts have dinner with the murder victim’s son is not real.
Though there are many gated-communities for folks fifty-five and over, Moon Glow Village is strictly fictional, though I have borrowed bits and pieces from similar gated-communities.
Though the whole idea for this tale came from my daughter and son-in-law’s experiences living in their gated-community, very little is real except the trash containers and what happens with them.
Like most mysteries, there are always bits and pieces of real people and places woven alongside the made-up folks and places.
If you’ve never been to Temecula, it’s a great place to visit, plenty to do and see, and it has some restaurants with great food. You can get a taste of Temecula by reading The Trash Harem.
Deputy Tempe Crabtree has retired from her job in Bear Creek when friends, who once lived in Bear Creek and attended Pastor Hutch’s church, ask her to visit them in Temecula. The husband, Jonathan, is a suspect in what might be a murder case. The retirement community includes many interesting characters, any of whom might have had a better motive than Jonathan. There is also a connection to Earle Stanley Gardner as well as the Pechanga Old Oak. What is a trash harem? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
To purchase The Trash Harem
She is the author of over 40 published books including the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. She’s a member of two chapters of Sisters in Crime and the Public Safety Writers Association.