My day begins with a philosophical question: does morning arrive too early or is night too short? I’ve yet to come up with an answer but today the rumination is good for another sixty seconds in bed. At the crack of eight thirty-one, I get up for work. A potential new client is coming to the office this morning, a woman with the magnificent name of Sofia Saville.

As I fuel up with toast and rocket-starter coffee, I wonder what conceivable problems the glamorously named Sofia Saville could have. My boss, Monalisa Walker, has said little. Monalisa isn’t particularly interested in people, except for people with spreadsheet problems. A forensic accountant by training, Monalisa is happiest when crunching numbers.

Personally, with a bank account teetering on the edge of the abyss, I hope Ms. Saville has rich people’s problems. Besides paying the bills, these problems help me appreciate, once more, that money doesn’t buy love or happiness. This is a lesson I enjoy learning again and again, having lost nearly all my worldly possessions in a legal fight the year before.

I have the best commute in Phoenix. It takes me ten minutes to walk to work, nine if I make the lights. Monalisa works out of a house she inherited from her grandmother.

When I reach the office, Monalisa offers me a cup of Krakus, a caffeine-free coffee substitute, which I decline on principle. Her rescue pitbull, Boo, gives me a hug-tackle then starts barking emphatically. I think maybe he’s expressing his undying affection for me, but Monalisa, who is fluent in dog, says our potential client is arriving momentarily.

This is my cue to grab Boo’s collar and steer him toward a back room. This is Boo’s cue to hip-check me. His lifelong dream is to greet new clients and shower them in dog slobber.

I gaze him in the eye and let him know I’m alpha. “I’m the client greeter.”

I wrangle Boo into the room and shut the door. He emits an operatic whine. I ask him to be quiet. He howls. I may be the only person in the city who needs the Dog Whisperer to manage office politics.

The doorbell rings, and on the front step stands Sofia Saville, blinking nervously. Being a consummate professional, I conceal my surprise that she looks like Mrs. Santa Claus, not the glamour puss I imagined. Minutes later, we are seated and Monalisa asks how we can be of service.

Saville says, “Someone stole money from my bank account. There was a fraudulent transfer, and I need to get the funds back this week.”

She looks like a saver. Her face has the wholesome goodness of a bowl of oatmeal. Still, how much could have been stolen?

Monalisa asks, “I assume you’ve reported the unauthorized transfer to your bank?”

“Yes,” she replies. “But it’s a business account, and the bank says they don’t have to replace the stolen money. Is this true?”

Monalisa tents her hands on her desk. “Unfortunately, business accounts don’t have the same consumer protections as individual accounts. If the bank has reasonable security protocols in place, it doesn’t have to replace your money.”

“How much was stolen?” I ask.

“One million five hundred thousand dollars.”

Oh my goddess. I gaze at this dimpled woman with wire-rim glasses, an unruly bun and unnaturally white skin that speaks of long winters in the North Pole. What business is she in? Artisanal knitting needles? Flying reindeer rentals?

“Where was the money transferred to?” I ask.

“A shell company in China, which closed soon after the money was transferred onward. I hope you can help me.”

I am about to ask another question when I hear a voice say something. This is odd. No one in the room is speaking.

Please don’t let me be turning into someone who hears voices in her head. Of course I’ve barely registered this plea when the otherworldly voice speaks again.

Who is it?

She says her name is Dru.

A potential client?

No, she says. Her bank account is safe and secure, thank you.

I tell her that’s great and ask if she’d like some Krakus. She declines.

In that case, I’d better get back to—

Oh. She says we’re out of time. And my day is just getting going! No worries, it’s easy to find me. Thank you, Dru and dear readers. May we meet again soon at the corner of crime and caper.


You can read more about Angela in Angela Cray Gets Real, the first book in the NEW “Angela Cray” mystery series.

Unemployed ex-party girl Angela Cray is back living with her no-nonsense mother in Phoenix. After coming within air-kissing distance of a felony charge, Angela is determined to make something of her life. When a sympathetic neighbor offers her work, Angela jumps at the opportunity. She figures it won’t be hard to track down a missing fiancé last seen with two Lady Gaga lookalikes. After all, one of her superpowers is finding badly behaved men.

But the trail of the runaway groom has more twists than a bride’s updo. And when Angela uncovers secrets that people will kill to keep hidden, she has to decide the price she’s willing to pay for success.

Angela will need to call upon all her charm and cunning—and the deities of her ancient Samoan ancestors—to make sure this professional growth opportunity doesn’t kill her first.

Angela Cray Gets Real was a finalist for a Freddie Award for Writing Excellence from the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America.

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Meet the author
A native of Chicago, Dara Carr grew up wanting to be a professional figure skater and Glinda the Good Witch. Sadly, she didn’t succeed on either count. Luckily, she’s been able to pursue a life path where good knees and sorcery aren’t strictly necessary. She lives in the Washington, DC area. By day, she works on policy issues related to global health. Evenings and weekends, she looks for amusing new ways to torment her characters. You can find her and the occasional tumbleweed at daracarr.com.

All comments are welcomed.

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