Two readers who leave comments will be chosen to receive a copy of one of Marja McGraw's books.
Sandi Webster is from Old Murders Never Die by Marja McGraw. Chris Cross is from Bogey
Nights, also by Marja McGraw.
Today Sandi Webster and Chris Cross are visiting all the way from Los Angeles. Sandi is a female private eye who has more fun investigating crimes and murders than any gumshoe should be allowed. Chris Cross bears a striking resemblance to Humphrey Bogart, and he’s the one everyone actually calls a Gumshoe.
Sandi, and Chris, how did you decide to become private investigators?
I got into this line of work for all the wrong reasons. I grew up watching vintage mystery movies with my mother, and when I watched those old P.I.’s search for clues and get their man, I just knew that was the life for me. They made it look so romantic and fun. It turned out I was right, although it is a lot of hard work.
Chris is an amateur detective. I don’t think he and his wife, Pamela, should be solving crimes because they’re not professionals, but I have to admit they do manage to get the job done. Chris and I met when he started following me, trying to learn the business. By the way, I introduced him to Pamela.
Sandi tried to give me the bum’s rush, but I’ll give her points for knowing Pamela. I’m
not really a P.I. My wife and I own a forties-themed hash house. There was a time when I wanted to be a gumshoe, and that’s when I met the Dish here. She did some fancy footwork to show me I wasn’t cut out to be a private Dick, but we managed to solve a case together anyway. Now people come to me, asking me to solve crimes.
What is the hardest thing about being a private eye?
Patience is a virtue. Uh, I guess I’m not very virtuous. I find myself sighing a lot because things simply don’t go the way I want them to, and this is a frequent occurrence. I don’t have a lot of patience.
Patience? She’s not just whistlin’ Dixie. She had no patience with me. This dame tried everything to get rid of me, but I was tenacious.
Did you see that? He rolled his upper lip under and pulled on his ear lobe. Sometimes I think he really believes he’s Bogey reincarnated.
Okay, I was wet behind the ears, but I ain’t got bats in my belfry. I can follow clues with the best of ‘em. And I have put a couple of goons in the slammer, without Sandi’s help.
Tell us about this case.
My partner, Pete, and I decided to take a well-deserved vacation. It didn’t come as a surprise to me when we got lost in the mountains of Arizona. Hm. Pete never listens to me. Anyway, what did surprise me was that we found a ghost town which was just as the people who’d lived there left it. We became stranded when this cowboy, on horseback no less, tinkered with our Jeep. We found an old house to stay in and ran across the records of the old-time sheriff from 1880. He wrote about a series of murders. When you’re stranded in a ghost town, there’s not a whole lot to do after you’ve gone through the old buildings that are still standing. We began reading the records to see if we could solve the crime from what information the sheriff had left.
In the meantime, that crazy cowboy kept getting in our way and under my skin. What a pain in the… Oh, and I can’t forget Bubba, my half wolf/half Golden retriever. He was with us. Now Bubba is about the size of a small bear, and he’s as graceful as that ol’ bull in the China shop. In other words, between being lost, having a big dog, a boyfriend, a mysterious cowboy and being stranded in a town haunted by old murders, I had the best time of my life. Seriously. I really did.
I heard about that caper. I wish the Dollface and I had been with you.
Our case started when the original restaurant burned down. Pamela and I bought a 1920s-style house to convert into the new eatery. Before we even got the renovations started, Sherlock and Watson discovered a stiff buried in the basement. Oh, those are our two yellow Labrador retrievers.
Unlike the cupcake sitting next to me, I’ll keep my story short. According to the coppers the cadaver has been underground since the forties. Anyway, we found out the vintage home had once been a boarding house, and we followed clues to find the killer. And let me tell you, we were mighty surprised. I have a seven-year-old stepson named Mikey. I call him Ace. He helped out, too, although they told him to deep six the dead body talk at
school. Zero tolerance stuff. I should mention that we took on the case at the insistence of Midge and Pidge, relatives of the stiff. They wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Sandi, does he always talk like this?
(Shaking her head) Yes
What made the case hard to solve?
The fact that the murders took place around 1880, which meant all witnesses and victims were long gone. And so were most of the clues, although we did uncover a few surprising things.
The bride and I had it a little easier than Sandi. A number of people who were around the boarding house in the forties were still breathing. But it was hard to eyeball everything when the caper took place so long ago.
Did anyone help you with your investigation?
Just my partner, Pete. Well, I have to be fair. Bubba helped in his own doggie way.
Ours was a family affair. Pamela, Ace and the dogs all did their bit to help solve the crime. Well, we also have a copper friend named Janet Murphy. She might have done her part.
Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
In the long run it did, and it will continue to cause some major changes in my life.
Change my personal life? You betcha. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry in Los Angeles wants help solving crimes. Sometimes we have to play it kinda close to the vest so we don’t step on the coppers toes, but thanks to Pamela we have a connection at the P.D. now. And Ace sees a mystery in every corner. That kid is crazy like a fox--way too savvy for his age. He wants a mystery to solve, and he won’t let it go.
Paula, thank you so much for allowing me to visit and share a little about my latest case. Who knows? Maybe this interview will drum up some new business for me and Pete.
Yeah, thanks, Angel. This has been a hoot, but I guess I’d better take a powder now. (He holds out his hand.) Slip me some skin, and have a good life.
Thank you, Sandi and Chris, for being with us. We wish you the best in solving future cases.
Note: Sandi and Chris first met in The Bogey Man by Marja McGraw. Two lucky readers will be chosen at random to receive one of Marja McGraw's books. Just leave a comment between now and October 21.
Marja McGraw has written eight books including the Sandi Webster Mysteries and the Bogey Man Mysteries. She was the editor for the Sisters in Crime Internet Newsletter for a year and a half. She’s appeared on television and been a guest on various radio and Internet radio shows. She currently resides in Arizona with her husband, where life is good. Her latest book, Old Murders Never Die, was released July, 2011. Information on her or any of her books can be found on her website: www.marjamcgraw.com or blog http://blog.marjamcgraw.com/. Catch the trailer for Old Murders Never Die at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTBOpzq-wDM.