from Force of Habit
by Marian Allen Allow me to introduce Pel Darzin of the Meadow of Flowers District constabulary in Council City, the capital city of the planet Llannonn. Council City is the Central City of the Meadow of Flowers District. Down these mean streets--well, a bit mean, but not too mean, because the Llannonninn are courteous people--walks this man. Darzin came up through the ranks from constable and knows his city and his district inside and out.
District Criminal Investigator Darzin, tell us about this case. What made it so special?
The special thing about this case was how convoluted it appeared, and how simple it actually was, once I saw through to the one, all-important fact at the heart of it. There were these aliens from outer space, you see, and then there were these other aliens from outer space. And the second aliens saved one of our people from the first aliens, although first one of the second aliens put her in greater jeopardy. Bookkeeper Freldt Saymak of
Jok'rel's Traveler's Rest Inn, called to report that Gord Pron, an enforcer for a well-known Stokk criminal, was extorting her to cook her boss' books. I arranged to meet her and listen in while she maneuvered him into repeating his plot. But, before I got there, a party of Terrans -- well, mostly Terrans -- came to Jok'rel's for shore leave, and the rest is history. Some say Professor Isobel Schuster changed places with Freldt Saymak by chance, but I know better. What made the case hard to solve?
All the aliens. And, of course, all the criminals. There was the Stokk Gord Pron and boss and his henchman, there was a member of our own Grand Council working with Pron's boss, there was a Terran con man named Connell Morgan and, technically, myself. Frankly, Communications Commissioner Darlla Bute didn't make matters any easier. We joke about that now.Did anyone outside of the police department help you solve this case?
Oh, yes. Oh, my, yes. The Irregulars were invaluable, as always. I understand your own Sherlock Holmes had his own Irregulars, is that right? I'd like to compare notes with him some day. The crew and teaching staff of the Space Academy training ship St. Gregory the Wonderworker
were invaluable allies; we were all very impressed. And, of course, the
mysterious Bel. This is Bel's story, really, you know. I'm humbled and proud to have played my part.Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Professionally, which is closely related to my personal life, I feel much more comfortable dealing with Terrans, which has boosted my career. Although we have a variety of aliens from outer space on Llannonn, the Terran mind is the most difficult for us to fathom. Terrans are much more complex than we give them credit for being. Too many of us give up and simply treat them as if they were insane, which is a mistake. An understandable
mistake, but a mistake. When I get what you would call my twenty years' service in, I plan to retire to the rural part of the Meadow of Flowers District and raise pratties. I couldn't afford that, if it hadn't been for the salary advancement and Terran/Llannonninn liaison fees this case instigated for me.Thank you for being with us today, District Criminal Investigator Darzin. I wish you the best as you fight crime in outer space.
lives in rural Indiana. For as long as she can remember, she has loved telling and being told stories. Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, on
coffee cans and the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. Force of Habit
is her second book. For more information on her or any of her books visit her website at Marian Allen - Fantasies, Mysteries, Comedies, Recipes
or her Facebook Author page Marian Allen Author
. A short story also featuring Pel Darzin is free atSmashwords
by Stephen L. Brayton Her name is Mallory Petersen. She is a six foot blonde private investigator with a Fourth Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. She owns her own business and martial arts school.
How and why did you get involved in this case?
Cheryl McGee stopped into my office Monday morning and wanted to hire me to find her eight year old daughter, Cindy, who went missing the previous Saturday. Cindy was the latest in a string of children believed to have been kidnapped in the region in the last eighteen months.Why was this case so special?
Talking with an officer friend and the lead investigator, I discovered a possible connection to child pornography. I followed some leads given to me by an informant buddy and wound up encountering a bunch of seriously perverted people. Did anything make this case difficult to solve?
The links in the case were tenuous and I had to follow a trail of clues leading me out of Des Moines, Iowa, down to the little south central town of Oskaloosa, then all the way up to the Quad Cities. Plus, I kept getting more frustrated with each dead end. Did anyone help you with your investigation?
Of course, my secretary and friend, Darren provided some information. Also helping me out was my little informant Willy Washington who I met years ago trying to steal my car. Then I meet dreamboat investigator Lawrence Cameron out of the Quad Cities. He and I spent an entire day together searching different places for Cindy. Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Well, meeting Lawrence certainly. I think I found a new wonderful boyfriend. But the missing child and the exposure to child pornography really affected me because I instruct children in martial arts training, and to see this one child and to learn of so many more subjected to this horrible crime pushed me to the limit mentally and morally.Thank you for being with us today, Mallory. We wish you well in trainiing in your private investigations and in teaching children martial arts. Stephen L. Brayton
lives in Oskaloosa, Iowa and is a Fifth Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. Beta
is scheduled to be released October 1. His other works include “Night Shadows” and four short stories. Information on his works can be found on his website at www.stephenbrayton.com
. He can also be emailed at email@example.com
from Devil’s Kitchen by Clark Lohr.
We have with us today Manuel Aguilar. Born in Tucson, Arizona, he is a product of a tripartite society: Anglo, Latino, and Native American. His cultural and racial heritage goes back many years before English-speaking Europeans came to dominate the Southwestern US. Aguilar is bilingual. He served for sixteen years with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and was fired over complications arising from a murder case. He currently works as a private investigator for Jeffrey Goldman, a criminal defense attorney.
You were fired over a murder case? How did that happen?
I was fired over what, at first, looked to me like a simple murder case—a decapitated head found in a county landfill. Once we’d got the dead guy ID’d, I started looking at people around the case. Those people started dying. One of them was shot to death. That’s unusual. I didn’t want to let the case go. I kept pushing the case and was involved in several shooting incidents as a result. The sheriff’s department fired me. Then my girlfriend, Reina, got me to go to work for Jeff Goldman.
What made this case hard to solve?
The case was hard to solve because there were powerful people involved who didn’t want the case solved. These people had corrupt law enforcement on their side and a bunch of sicarios, Mexican nationals, killers, who work under the radar in the US.
You mentioned your girlfriend Reina. Did she help you solve the case?
I couldn’t have done it without Reina.
Did anyone else help you?
Johnny Oaks, who’s also a PI—and Goldman. I got help from the few friends I had left in the sheriff’s department, too. There was a kid involved, a runaway teenager. She had good information and we used it. I also had a Yaqui grandmother who helped.
Did this case affect your personal life in any way?
My personal life? Yeah, it made it better, emotionally. I got hurt physically, but I came through knowing a lot more about what’s out there, the stuff you can’t see—call it the spirit world if you want to. Reina’s in my life. She’s as important to me as my job. We came through it even closer than we were before.
Thank you for being with us today. We wish you and Reina the best and appreciate what you do.
Clark Lohr comes from a Montana farm and ranch background. He is a Vietnam vet and a member of Veterans for Peace. He’s lived mostly in Tucson, Arizona since the late Sixties. Devil’s Kitchen was published by Oak Tree Press and released in June 2011. The book is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell’s Books. Visit clarklohr.com for more information.
from The Widow’s Walk League
by Nancy Lynn Jarvis. Welcome, Officer Everett. Please tell us about yourself and your role with the Santa Cruz Police Department.
Well, I lost an eye in a shootout several years back--- dumb mistake, but there’s no point going into that. I convinced the Santa Cruz Police Department to keep me on in a desk job as the media interface, public relations guy for the force rather than just retiring me. I’m only in my mid-forties and too young to be completely sidelined. I didn’t like my job at first, too many cats up a tree and stuff like that, but I figured out ways to keep a finger in some crime pies. Do you like your job now?
After a while I came up with my personal trademark Hawaiian shirt for TV interviews and realized how bad Santa Cruz, whose motto is "Keep Santa Cruz Weird" needed my interface between the force and the community. Eventually, I kind of started enjoying what I do.You said you lost an eye in a shootout.
Oh, yeah, about my eye: we already have Jack O’Neill, the guy who invented wetsuits
as our local one-eyed-patch wearing celebrity, so my eye is a prosthetic. It matches my good eye perfectly, I’m told. I just can't wink very well because it mimics what my good eye does.Officer Everett, can you tell us about this case?
We get some gang shootings and some one-shot personal murders, but this case, well,
Santa Cruz husbands started getting killed in some pretty public places. And then this little TV gal talked to some witnesses who said they saw somebody dressed like Death hanging around when the first guy bought it. The media went nuts. By the time of the second murder, everybody was seeing Death. Did anyone outside of the police department help you solve this case?
You would ask that, wouldn’t you? See, I’ve got this gal-pal — my wife’s a friend of her husband’s, too, so that makes us kind of extra-tight — who’s become kind of a meddler. She’s a real estate agent, not exactly a job profile that makes her well-trained to solve murders, but she gets these ideas… It started a couple of years ago when a real estate buddy of hers was top of our list of suspects in a murder. We just didn’t have the personnel to pursue it instantly and she’s, well, she’s kind of nosey and impatient.
My train of thought is getting derailed here. Regan, that’s her name, Regan McHenry, well, she has a way of doing that to me; she gets me involved in the messes she makes with her amateur detecting. Sometimes she even gets me to tell her things about cases I probably shouldn’t. It’s irritating how she finds things out that she has no right to know. Ah, don't get me started. I worry about her, too. Like I said, she's a friend. She's gonna get herself seriously hurt one of these days even though I try to keep her out of trouble.How did she help with this case?
Oh yeah, this case. All the widows of these dead guys started coming to her to sell their houses — and she realized they all knew one another because they belonged to this walking group called the Widow’s Walk League. She got all worked up, like she does, and thought the head of this group seemed suspicious, even had designs on her husband. The case got solved, not exactly because of her, but —don’t you dare tell her I said this because she already thinks she’s cleverer than she is — but because of some stuff she discovered and because she caught a few lucky breaks. Thank you for being with us today. I wish you the best in helping to keep our streets safe and Regan out of messes.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis
has been a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty
years. She still owns a real estate company with her husband, but has been having so much fun killing people that she will probably never sell another house. The Widow’s Walk League,
the fourth in her Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries, was released in July. For more information on her or her books visit her Amazon author page under Nancy Lynn Jarvis http://www.goodreadmysteries.com
and at http://www.facebook.com/ReganMcHenryRealEstateMysteries?ref=ts
from A Deadly Draught
by Lesley A. Diehl A representative from the county sheriff’s department was not available to comment, so we have Hera Knightsbridge, owner of a microbrewery in the Butternut Valley where the murder occurred. Hera, you are not with the sheriff’s department. How and why did you get involved in this case?
I found the body on his brew barn floor. Mr. Ramford, the man who was killed, called me earlier in the evening to meet him at his place. I was trying to negotiate a deal with him, hoping he’d loan me some money for my struggling brewery. That’s a little odd. He was your closest competitor. Why would he want to loan you money?
Oh, well, I know it sounds unusual, and the police thought it was too, but his family and mine have been friendly competitors for years. He was my father’s best friend and his son, Michael and I were, uh, friends for years. I heard the two of you were not on friendly terms of late. Didn’t the authorities see you as their prime suspect at first?
Well, sure, but I didn’t do it, and I convinced Jake I was innocent. Jake is the assistant deputy sheriff for the county and he’s an old, uh, friend of mine from law school. To be honest with you, I was pretty steamed. He thought at first I might have killed Mr. Ramford. But then, Jake and I have always been at odds, even in law school. He came at me with that cold, cop attitude of his, and I had to prove him wrong. Tell us about this case. What made it so special?
Aside from me, the initial suspect, the other person Jake thought was guilty was Mr. Ramford’s son, Michael. We were best friends from the time we were in grade school. I
knew Michael couldn’t be guilty, but others in the community felt as Jake did. Michael did act so strange after the murder. He said he wasn’t interested in the craft beer business any longer. I thought his new girlfriend turned his head away from brewing. She was a piece of work. One thing Jake did find out that made the case more important to me was a tie-in between Mr. Ramford’s murder and my father’s suicide years earlier. The murder shook up the entire valley community and everyone became suspicious of everyone
else. What made the case hard to solve?
All the microbrewers in the valley came under suspicion because the authorities, especially my so-called friend Jake, thought competition among us might have created issues. Jake had so many suspects and, because he was new to this area, so little entre with the community that he asked me for my help. Well, I guess I offered it. Now he calls me his own Miss Marple. The list of suspects seemed to grow with the appearance of Mr. Ramford’s long lost son and a shady character who turned out to be a friend of another brewer. Then someone began to worry that I knew more than I should. I was attacked in my own brewery and then pursued through a violent summer storm. Did anyone help you with your investigation?
Well, Jake did. I mean he finally took my ideas seriously and acted on information I
found out for him. Oh, not that he’s not a great cop. He is, but, if you’re an outsider in this little community, you’re at a disadvantage. Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Jake and I are friends again, well, we’re more than friends. He’s asked me to marry him.
My best friend Sally is going to have a baby. Unfortunately, I lost some dear friends too.Thank you for talking with us today. Congratulations on your proposal!
Lesley A. Diehl
retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. She devotes her afternoons to writing and, when the sun sets, relaxing on the bank of her trout stream, sipping tea or a local microbrew. A Deadly Draught
was released by Mainly Murder Press April, 2010. For information on Lesley or any of her books visit her website : www.lesleydiehl.com
or her blog http://anotherdraught.blogspot.com