I turned to see a young woman. Her tight-fitting cocktail dress implanted its picture in my mind, for the way the scarlet shade hugged her curvaceous body, lounging in the doorway of another room, it burnt the image to my core.
“And who are you exactly?” I asked, raising an eyebrow so she would notice my expression.
Caroline Peterson is probably the main SC of Of Jackets and Phones. She is part of the inciting incident in the following Of Moscow Mysteries, in which she holds a stronger SC position than the other accompanying characters, and she has a minor role in (the as-of-yet unwritten) Of One London Eye.
Caroline – Carrie – is important to Agnetha, not just because of the mysteries they face together. Even through her feisty, devil-may-care exterior, Carrie provides Agnetha with a unique sort of friendship. After all, they both lose the same love of their lives. Subconsciously, both know this unsaid unity. Perhaps this is what also causes the friction between the friends – and they don’t spend time talking about what keeps them separated and simultaneously together.
For this reason, I Googled ‘friendship flowers’ and trimmed my list. I also started looking for a flower that would encapsulate Caroline’s eccentric personality, especially for the first book, in which she is a substance abuser.
I wanted something show-offish with an opportunity to be muted as well. Perhaps a multi-tonal flower.
Caroline Peterson is an Iris. With their fanning petals and striped colours like tongues, Irises are certainly a vibrant addition to any garden.
Those…almost veined petals also provide a ‘human’ vulnerability to the plant. Yes, all plants are vulnerable against humans, but the Iris itself wears its vulnerability on its sleeve, so to speak. Just like Agnetha, Carrie has been on the wrong side of Fate and finds herself in a tough position at the beginning of Of Jackets and Phones. However, in her summer years – four years since the first death – she truly flowers, to grow in her experience of the world, as the yellow eye of the Iris suggests.
Extravagance has definitely laced itself onto those petals. One of the moments in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking-Glass I enjoy is when the live flowers criticise Alice’s dress:
“You’re beginning to fade, you know – and then one can’t help one’s petals getting a little untidy.”
If the flowers can look at Alice’s dress as petals, I suggest that one can transfer that idea the other way; and I look at the Irises’ petals as the sort of dress that Caroline would lift from her wardrobe. And she has a lot of dresses!
“Auburn?” I frowned, indicating her once-blonde hair.
“Yeah, I needed a change.”
“You…don’t think it’s too much?” Carrie muttered, blushing and turning as she couldn’t hide behind her choppy hair.
“Well, it’s very…unexpected. Be thankful that it’s not bright red.”
“The Karkroffs wouldn’t deem that ‘appropriate’. Besides, I don’t like bright red; a medium wood-colour expresses me fine.”
Caroline is unique of my own characters, in the sense that she is the only one of my creations who dyes her hair. This is particularly interesting of the Iris, whose name means ‘rainbow’, and comes in a great variety of colours. For this reason, I have not selected a specific shade of Iris, though the rustic reddish colour probably best suits her. Although she would have been the yellow to begin with, through the trilogy, Caroline sorts herself out and is much subtler in her dress-style and attitude later on, due to various revelations leaving her responsible not only for herself.
“Bright eyed, uniquely coloured, Dutch iris, with a supreme combination of purple and maroon petals, dashed with yellow accents. These hardy, low maintenance bulbs make an elegant splash of colour to late spring borders for a dramatic effect.” (http://www.vanmeuwen.com/flowers/flower-bulbs/other-flower-bulbs/dutch-iris-tiger-mixed)
I like that the above says ‘hardy’. If Carrie was a flower, she’d certainly be a hardy one.
Thus, an Iris perfectly captures Carrie’s personality and her role in the novels. There’s also one more thing I quite enjoy about my murder mystery suspect being an Iris: ‘Yellow Iris’ was the title of one of Agatha Christie’s novels!