by Jean Henry Mead
I began my career as an investigative reporter and have interviewed hundreds of people over the years, but never my novel characters. So, taking my cue from Chester, who interviewed his protagonist Greg McKenzie not long ago, I gave in to the pleadings of Sarah Cafferty, one of the protagonists in my recently released senior sleuth novel, A Village Shattered.
You're not the viewpoint character, Sarah, so why am I interviewing you instead of your friend, Dana Logan?
Because nearly the entire plot is seen through Dana's eyes and I rarely get a chance to speak my piece. Don't you think my private investigator's widowhood trumps Dana's claim to mystery novel buffdom? Which do you think takes precedence?
I'm sure you're both equally qualified to solve the murders of your friends and club members. The two of you work quite well together, so why are you upset?
Dana gets to have all the fun while I have to hang around with Micki, whose cooking puts weight on everyone within smelling range. The sheriff paired all us widows in the retirement village when he realized a serial killer was on the loose. Micki's partners keep getting killed or put in jail, so I'm her partner now. I'd rather stay with Dana but her daughter Kerrie showed up unexpectantly and is occupying the guest room.
I would hardly call being locked in a closet by the killer having fun. Dana and her daughter were in danger while you and Micki were doing an unauthorized stakeout, which was also dangerous and could have gotten you killed.
It was boring and we ate a couple of pounds of Micki's world famous brownies before the sheriff found us and ordered us home. He's not very good at his job, you know. The sheriff was elected recently and doesn't know his job very well. In fact, he's bungling the investigation. That's why Dana and I decided to put our crime solving skills to work before we're murdered too. The killer stole our club roster and is killing our club members alphabetically. A for Alice, B for Betty, C for Candice and D for Dana...
If my name were next on the killer's list, I'd barricade myself in my house and not come out until he's caught.
Not my friend, Dana. She's got to be there in the middle of things.
Now, Sarah, we both know that it was you who talked Dana into investigating the murders.
Well, it just made sense. My late husband's investigative tools were just sitting there rusting, and I typed all his reports so I know how to go about learning the killer's identity.
And didn't your great ideas almost get your neighbor killed?
Well, Harold was the logical suspect and how was I to know he would disappear. There are other suspects living here in the retirement village. There's Pat Wilson, an alcoholic womanizer who was married to Betty before she was murdered. He may have killed the other women to cover up his own wife's murder. Then there's John Merino who's married to the psychic and Nola Champion who has her cap set for Pat Wilson. And . . .
Don't give away the entire plot, Sarah. You didn't mention the pea soup San Joaquin Valley fog.
Oh, that. Well, if you've lived in the valley as long as I have, you take that awful tule fog for granted. At least we did until the killer started hiding in it and picking off his victims.
I think we'd better let the readers discover the rest of the story for themselves, don't you?
But, I was just gettting started.
Thank you, Sarah. By the way, folks, I'm currently in the middle of a two-week blog book tour to promote A Village Shattered. I'll be giving away three signed copies of my novel to those who leave comments at the various blog sites. My Blog Tour Schedule lists links to the various host sites.