Here it is, Sandy’s latest mystery, “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper,” fourth in the series. I’ll be doing plenty of guest promotional blogs in the near future and you can read a blurb about the book on Amazon.com, so there’s no need to repeat a story summary here.
This book a little different from the previous stories in the series in that the murder, finally, takes place in chapter one. Some sages say mysteries must have the body in chapter one, or even on the first page, but nobody has complained about the late arrivals in my previous books. Generally I like to build the world first so the reader knows what’s going on, who’s who and can feel invested in solving the crime. I also avoid a lot of backtracking and exposition dumping.
Another difference is that the story seems, at first, to take place all over the place. The prior three books were set in a “closed community,” a finite number of characters contained in one location: a hotel, a movie studio or a cruise ship. “Quiz Show” settings include a college campus, a movie studio, an old art deco theater, a multi-million-dollar estate as well as various businesses and residences. And the cast list is never ending.
It may seem that the story is rambling both everywhere and nowhere in particular, but in the conclusion all of the subplots and suspects are draw together into one place. I’d been wanting to try my hand at such a story with seeming unrelated threads that eventually tie together into one neat bow.
The book also concludes a story arc begun in the first novel. Sandy’s been estranged from his parents, siblings and children. In book two he begins to make amends with his parents. Book three found him patching up old grudges with his sister.
In book four we finally meet his brother, Warren. Throughout the other books, Sandy had made insulting remarks about Warren and now we finally meet the man himself.
It’s the classic “prodigal son” parable: Sandy is the wayward son who left, indulged himself, and returned home a changed man. Warren is the good son who always behaved himself. He resents his scandalous brother trying to ingratiate himself back into the family. But circumstances force Sandy and Warren to put aside their feelings and work together.
Also in book one we learn about Sandy’s rocky relationship with his demanding father. That arc also reaches a comfortable conclusion in this book.
So what’s left for Sandy to do? At present my thoughts are to give him a rest and begin a new series that’s been on my mind for over a year. I can always return to Sandy at a later time if readers demand more. There are still a few more challenges he needs to face and always another mystery.