M is for ’63 Merc and Mt Arapiles

1963 Mercedes Benz

Ah, the ’63 Merc!  As we continue to consider some of the research that sits behind my novels, knowledge about cars in general is not in my purview. To consider the peculiarities of the ’63 Merc required quite a bit of research. My sister Iris and her son Jay (renowned petrol-heads) provided enough of a brains trust starter to get me moving on the troubles that might have befallen Mavis the Merc in “Merry Christmas, Liebchen.” The only drawback was Iris’ fierce defence of the brand! I figured that any car more than five decades old was going to have something wrong, (despite my little sister’s opinion), and I was able to come up with a substantial list. Mavis was important to the story because Jolene’s great-uncle had bought the car for her great-aunt so it had significant sentimental value. But the car was the only disposable resource that Ruby and Jolene had to be able to pay off the loan that would save their home.


The old Merc’s rep as being
challenges this writer’s wit.


Mt Arapiles

Mt Arapiles (A-rap-ill-ees) rises out of the Wimmera Plain in Western Victoria, Australia, and looks benign in the glowing sunset. It made its way into “Merry Christmas, Liebchen” because a painting of it hung on the wall of my study at the time I was writing the story. I wanted to throw in an Australian connection for the Vermont family and since one of the characters had died in a climbing accident, I thought, why not Australia? Research into Mt Arapiles showed that it has a variety  of climbs from Grade 9 to a seriously dangerous Grade 25. It was plausible then, that our climber could have been persuaded to climb just outside his skill level with drastic consequences.


Belaying rope tightening,
perilous climbing –
Arapiles siren call.

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