So my favorite author, Jessie Chandler, was delighted to run into Dru Ann at last year’s Malice Convention. Then they crossed paths again not long ago at Bouchercon, the international mystery con. Somewhere along the line, Dru asked Jessie if she’d be interested in doing a day in the life of me. Me? Really. What on earth would anyone be interested in me for? I’m just the lowly co-owner of a coffee shop in Uptown Minneapolis.
Ugh, sorry. That was an elbow from my beloved mom-stand-in, Eddy Quartermaine. Apparently she didn’t like my “lowly” comment. Eddy is a spitfire 60-something force of nature who is as comfortable breaking and entering as she is heading up the Mad Knitters, a group of gals who like to knit but love to gamble even more. Poker is their game of choice.
Coop, my best bud, is outside smoking right now. He’s a vegetarian scarecrow who puffs like a chimney. He’s working on quitting, but dead bodies stress him out, and, well… you know how that can go. Coop used to work on the Pig’s Eye Bingo Barge, a gambling barge that floats on the Mississippi in Minneapolis. His boss, Stanley Anderson, much better known as Kinky for his rumored sex life, was fatally whacked with an obscenely oversized bronzed bingo marker. The day before the whacking, Kinky had fired Coop for not showing up for his shift. Coop was afraid the police would think he did it, and he came to me for help. My bud wouldn’t hurt a fly, literally. I’ve seen him catch plenty of skanky bugs and release them to the wilds of the back yard. If it were me they’d be flattened faster than you could say gimme coffee.
Anyway, Eddy, Coop, and I broke into the bingo barge to look for clues as to who might have offed the Kinkmeister. A couple of bumbling Mafioso’s showed up, and we hightailed it out of there. Then things really got crazy. After a couple of kidnappings, a truckload of stolen nuts, a run-in with a quivering facial mole, finding a very dead body that wasn’t Kinky’s, saving a junkyard dog named Dawg, and trying to evade a beautiful but irritatingly persistent detective, I was about ready to take up smoking myself.
Good thing I work in a coffee shop. If not nicotine, there’s caffeine. My good pal and co-owner, Kate, is always there to ply me with my drink of choice when I need it the worst. But now Kate is giving me the stare, and I really should stop this rambling and get back to flipping espresso. Oh, maybe I should wipe Dawg slobber off the wall first. See, I really am just a lowly entrepreneur trying to make ends meet and steer clear of cadavers.
That darn Eddy.
You can follow Shay and Co.’s escapades in BINGO BARGE MURDER, the first book in the Shay O’Hanlon Caper series, available in stores and online. Book 2, HIDE AND SNAKE MURDER, will be available in May, 2012.
Debut author Jessie Chandler is the Vice President of the Twin Cities chapter of Sisters in Crime. She runs a Lesbian Fiction book group at True Colors Bookstore, an independent, feminist-themed bookshop in the Twin Cities. In her spare time, Chandler sells unique, artsy T-shirts and other assorted trinkets to unsuspecting conference and festival goers. She is a former State Patrol dispatcher, police officer, and bookseller. She resides in Minneapolis. Visit her online at www.jessiechandler.com.
** Jessie has generously offered to give away two copies of BINGO BARGE MURDER. To enter, you must leave a valid e-mail address in the comment box with your comment. One entry per person and this is open to anyone with a U.S. mailing address. Contest ends on October 28th at 6pm EST. The winners will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified by e-mail and has 2 days to respond. Book will be shipped directly from the author. **
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.