from A Hard Day’s Fright and six other Pepper Martin mysteries by Casey Daniels
Visiting today, Pepper Martin, tour guide in Cleveland’s Garden View Cemetery and world’s only private investigator for the dead.
Pepper, you are not with the police department. How and why did you get involved in this case?
It all started at the cemetery where I work when I tripped and hit my head on the mausoleum of an old mob boss named Gus Scarpetti. The next day when I came to work, Gus was there waiting for me. Yeah, dead guy. But that didn’t stop him. It hasn’t stopped any of the ghosts since. I’ve investigated cases for a rock star from the 60s (if you heard the gossip, it’s true, we did fall in love), a long-dead president and in my most recent case, a teenager who went to a Beatles concert back in 1966—and was never seen again.
When did you know you were able to communicate with ghosts?
Like I said, it never happened until that unfortunate fall in the cemetery. Up until then, my life had been blissfully ghost-free. Now? Not so much.
Tell us about this case.
My most recent case involves a girl named Lucy. She attended that Beatles concert with a group of friends and left for home with them. But she was the last one off the train, and no one ever saw her again. Honestly, I don’t think I would have bothered with ol’ Lucy if it wasn’t for the fact that it turns out my boss, Ella Silverman, was one of those kids at the concert with her. Even after all these years, Ella still misses her friend. Bad enough, yes, for a PI to the dead who’d rather avoid a case? Worse, because I realized Ella still felt guilty about leaving Lucy alone that night. Don’t let word of this get around, but truth be told, I’ve got a pretty soft heart. I couldn’t stand the thought of sweet, fluffy Ella feeling bad about something that wasn’t her fault. I had no choice but to investigate.
What made the case hard to solve?
Well, 40-year-old murder for one thing. For another? No one ever found Lucy’s body. No corpse, no clues, and a ghost who told me she couldn’t rest in peace until she was properly buried. Yeah, all that was hard enough, add to it a few other complications, like my on-again-off-again relationship with Quinn Harrison, bullheaded, hunky Homicide detective.
Did anyone help you with your investigation?
If we use the word“help” it its broadest sense, yes. Ariel, Ella’s annoying teenaged daughter for one. Once she decided she wanted to be a detective just like me, there was no getting rid of the kid. Then there was Ella, of course, because she knew more about Lucy than anyone. And the other kids (now adults) who were at the concert with Lucy that night. Oh, and I can’t forget Reggie and Delmar, two guys I met on a previous investigation. Don’t worry, nothing we did (well, nothing anyone ever found out about) violated their probation.
Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Oh yeah, big time. For one thing, finding the solution to the mystery helped out Ella. That was a big plus. For the other . . . well, something happened to Quinn. Something Big. I’m not going to divulge anything here, let’s just say it turned both our worlds upside down.
Has being able to communicate with the dead changed your life?
Absolutely, and not for the better. Being shot at, knifed, kidnapped, mugged, etc., etc., etc., isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. Then again, I have helped a few ghosts cross over, and I made sure one really bad ghost got what she deserved. So if nothing else, I suppose I’m performing a public service. Provided the public we’re talking about is dead.
Casey Daniels once applied for a job as a tour guide in a cemetery. She didn’t get the job, but she did get the idea for the Pepper Martin mysteries. Pepper works in a cemetery and solves mysteries for the ghosts there. A Hard Day’s Fright (released last April) is the seventh book in the series. It will be followed by Wild, Wild Death, which will hit store shelves on January 3,and by a ninth book which she’s working on now.
Before writing mysteries, Casey wrote both historical and contemporary romance under the names Constance Laux and Connie Lane. She’s also written YA horror as Zoe Daniels. All told, she’s published 40 books and has been nominated for the prestigious RITA award by Romance Writers of America.
In addition to writing the Pepper Martin mysteries, she also writes (as Kylie Logan) the Button Box mysteries. The first book in that series, Button Holed, premiered in September.
She can be found atwww.caseydaniels.com and every Wednesday at www.thelittleblogofmurder.com and http://wickedauthors.blogspot.com. Her books are available in bookstores and online and she urges readers not to forget independent bookstores when they do their shopping.