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After the big story in Devil's Run, I wanted to write a "smaller," or perhaps more local story with enough suspense to keep one on edge. This 13th story is a mystery with a "cozy" finale.
It is unique in that the title and its meaning came to mind before the plot. Well, almost. I did have some idea as to the obsession and the consequent story line. A "play pretty" is an old southern colloquial term for a cheap child's play thing or toy. To me it has always had a pejorative connotation. Certainly calling a woman a playpretty is an insult. One thinks of a woman who is tawdry, squalid, and disreputable. 
It should come as no surprise then that one of the main characters is a young woman from the wrong side of the tracks (if one can come from the wrong side of the tracks in a small town). Economic classism is as common among the Ozark gentry as it is among the urban elite.
Taylor is a poor girl bearing the reputation of belonging to a disreputable family. Although she doesn't live in a trailer, she is called "poor white trash." I wanted to explore a story that featured "star-crossed lovers." And so springs this plot involving the love affair of a poor girl and a rich boy.