Medical Easter Eggs

Kathleen here. I’m so delighted to welcome author Susan McCormick to the coop. She recently launched THE FOG LADIES: IN THE SOUP, the third book in her Fog Ladies cozy mystery series. Fittingly, she’s here to talk about the sweet spot between mysteries and poultry: Easter eggs (the hidden message variety). Take it away, Susan!

I love Easter eggs. Light blue eggs with delicate shells, chocolate eggs, or spicy jelly Easter eggs. I especially love Easter eggs in the form of secret hidden tidbits of delight found in books and movies. Some are messages, some are inside jokes, some are foreshadows, some are homages to greats. Some are so cleverly hidden that only true fans find them. Some are hidden in plain sight for anyone to discover, if they are astute and looking.

My favorite is Alfred Hitchcock appearing in many of his films, as a bass-carrying train passenger in Strangers on a Train or a man with two dogs in The Birds—his own true real-life dogs, it turns out. A Starbucks cup appears in most scenes in Fight Club, my son’s favorite movie. Oranges appear in scenes where a character will soon die in The Godfather movies. Like many Disney movies, Moana has endless Easter eggs, including Genie’s lamp among Tamatoa’s golden treasures and pieces of Frozen’s Olaf in Moana’s basket as she leaves her home.

Stephen King loves Easter eggs and his books are full of overlapping characters, settings, and references. Children’s picture books love Easter eggs, like the cricket, mouse, and spider in Mercer Mayer’s books and the banana-toting mouse in Good Night, Gorilla.

I love Easter eggs in the form of medical messages, and I leave plenty for my readers, hidden gems like “Don’t cut a bagel in your hand” and “Don’t get a jailhouse tattoo.” Hand tendons are important and heal poorly if cut. Hepatitis C is rampant in self-made tattoos. These two public safety announcements lurk in my cozy murder mystery The Fog Ladies: Family Matters, Book 2 in the San Francisco Cozy Murder Mystery series. Book 1 features “Get your colonoscopy” and “Stairs are dangerous in the dark.” In Book 3, The Fog Ladies: In the Soup, secret messages mention keeping your dog lean for longevity and “Two car accidents in two weeks are too many” when one of the ladies has trouble with her eyes.

My middle grade and up medical/STEM fantasy, The Antidote, is chock full of darkness and overt disease but also includes subtler messages like how to do a Heimlich maneuver and how and when to use an AED, an automated external defibrillator.

The origin of the name Easter eggs is murky. Maybe it was real Easter eggs from a cast and crew Easter egg hunt that were unfound and therefore left to appear in the scenes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Maybe it was the secret message left for players by a software director announcing that he had played a role in creating a famous game.

Whoever coined the phrase or whatever they are called, Easter eggs have been around forever, long before Alfred Hitchcock appeared in the “before” ad for weight loss in the movie Lifeboat in 1944, and have delighted readers and filmgoers for generations.

Readers, what are your favorite book or film Easter eggs?

Bio

Susan McCormick is an award-winning writer and doctor who lives in Seattle. She graduated from Smith College and George Washington University School of Medicine, with additional medical training in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, where she lived in an elegant apartment building much like the one in The Fog Ladies books. Susan served as a doctor in the U.S. Army for nine years before moving to the Pacific Northwest and civilian practice. In addition to The Fog Ladies series, she also wrote Granny Can’t Remember Me, a lighthearted picture book about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and The Antidote, a timely middle grade and up medical/STEM fantasy. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two sons. She loves giant dogs and has loved an English mastiff, Earl, and two Newfoundlands, Edward and Albert.

Books

The Fog Ladies (Book 1)

Semi-finalist, Chanticleer’s Murder and Mayhem Award

Finalist, Killer Nashville Best Cozy Mystery Award

“A specially crafted ‘whodunnit’ style mystery [with] an impressive flair for originality.” Midwest Book Review

Spunky senior sleuths and an overworked, overstressed young doctor-in-training live in an elegant apartment building in San Francisco where old ladies start to die

The Fog Ladies: Family Matters (Book 2)

Finalist, RONE Award, Best Mystery

2nd Place, Pacific Book Awards, Best Mystery

“This is like having five Miss Marples or Jessica Fletchers poking their nose into other people’s business.” Barbara McMichaels, aka The Bookmonger

When a family man kills his wife with kitchen shears, the Fog Ladies’ probing finds the threat is perilously close to home, endangering another troubled family struggling to survive.

The Fog Ladies: In the Soup (Book 3)

“Humorous and compelling.” New York Journal of Books

The Fog Ladies volunteer at a soup kitchen and envision washing and chopping and serving. Instead, they find murder.

37 thoughts on “Medical Easter Eggs

    1. That is great example! I’m looking forward to the sequel.
      Although I may have trouble keeping the characters straight as I’ve recently seen No Time to Die three times because my son is a James Bond super fan. Two of the main characters overlap, if not more.
      BTW, I did enjoy No Time to Die. I could watch that Cuba scene forever.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. My favorites include the random appearances of pineapples in the TV series, Psych. Then there are the various numbers and codes Dan Brown put on his dust covers. Fun stuff!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The MCU movies are full of Easter eggs and they are always fun. I don’t know if it’s an Easter egg, but I just finished Charles Todd’s RACING THE DEVIL, an Ian Rutledge mystery. Halfway through, I started seeing references to Bess Crawford and I thought, “Hey, isn’t that the protagonist from the other series?”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. How fun, Susan! I’m a fan of Easter eggs, too. The first thing that comes to mind is the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks. It it chock full of Easter eggs, both subtle and not so subtle, from all the other Star Trek shows.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Thanks for being here today, Susan!

    I like Easter eggs, especially books that highlight authors, real or imagined–I’m thinking of you, Becky Clark, when you inserted local authors in your Colorado-based books. (I saw your name, Cyn!)

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I watched the new Scream movie over the weekend, which was filled with Easter eggs. My favorite was probably seeing the area code for the fictional town of Woodsboro was 707. That’s the real area code for Santa Rosa, where the original Scream movie was filmed in 1996.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. As J.C. said, Star Trek has tons of Easter eggs, as does much sci fi. In fact, I first learned the phrase from a sci fi book some years back.

    Congrats on the new book, Susan, and thanks so much for visiting the Chicks today!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve put a number of Easter Eggs into my latest Natalie McMasters thriller, Killers!, but I’m sorry to say that I don’t think any have been found yet, at least that I can see from my reviews. I always do this because it adds to a story for me. I love it when I find one in someone else’s work. The latest example I can cite is the breakout Netflix series Cobra Kai, which is full of Easter Eggs for Karate Kid fans.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi Susan, and thanks so much for visiting us Chicks today. Great post, and congrats on the new book. It sounds fabulous. Maybe they are just called Easter eggs because they are brightly colored but still hidden in the grass. And if you specifically look for them, you can see them better. (As a kid, we did peanut hunts–much harder.) As I recall, though, you can write a secret message on a hard-boiled egg and it will appear in the shell once the egg is broken. The Easter Egg that immediately comes to mind for me is in Gilmore Girls, when the first shot of the first episode matches the very last in the series (L and R having coffee at Luke’s.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lisa, you can also write a secret message in unripe bananas using little pinpricks which become apparent as it ripens, which I’ve done in real life (“clean the garage”) and in PUNNING WITH SCISSORS. It’s big fat addictive fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I was JUST talking about senior sleuth series, Susan, so I’m excited to dig into your series!

    As to Easter eggs, I love them! Not the hard-boiled kind left by a bunny, though. (I come from a family of 8 kids and one year, Mom miscounted the hidden eggs which had to be hidden indoors because of the inclement Colorado weather. We finally found the last one … because of the odor.)

    I love Breaking Bad and there’s a long list of Easter eggs planted throughout the entire show. It made me realize what a genius Vince Gilligan was. I have two different series, both set in CO. I often have the main characters inadvertently cross paths. It’s fun for me and my avid readers. They email me all excited about it. Very gratifying!

    Great topic! Thanks for visiting us here!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for hanging out with the Chicks today, Susan — such a fun post!
    I’m a nerdy X-Files fan and the show was full of Easter eggs, mostly small references from previous seasons.
    And I had seen Rocky Horror at least a dozen times and knew all the dialogue before I noticed one of the real Easter eggs!

    Liked by 1 person

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