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
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.