Thanks so much for inviting me to dru’s book musings. I know you love books and I am always happy talking about my job, because I am very lucky in my world of books.
Sometimes I think that life can’t get any better. Take today: it started as a typical morning at Van Alst House where I work as a researcher for Vera Van Alst, reclusive book collector and the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, New York. I awoke in my attic room with the cabbage rose wallpaper and edged my way out from under the flower-sprigged quilt. Walter the Pug, who continues to visit, offered a panting good morning smile. Good Cat purred at the end of the bed. Apparently cat and dog and woman can co-exist in peace.
I cannot believe my good fortune that this wonderful little apartment comes as part of my compensation ‘package’ as well as the two fabulous meals a day. It’s the best job in the world. I’d kind of hit rock bottom after my former boyfriend maxed out my credit cards and drained my bank account. I had to delay my dreams for grad school until I put my life back in order. But after limping home to my uncles and spending some time in my childhood bedroom (back to Hello Kitty and My Little Ponies too) I landed this dream job. It’s a real break for me, as I am the first person in my family to go straight. But that part of my life is a story for another day, as they say.
Now, I’m working on upgrading Vera’s collection of Nero Wolfe mysteries, by the great Rex Stout. I think they should be called the Archie Goodwin books because that dashing and witty Archie is my favorite character. Vera hates it when I say that, but I can’t resist teasing her across the vast Sheraton table over dinner. She, herself, is more than a bit like Nero Wolfe without the charm.
So besides finding fine first editions for Vera’s collection of mysteries from the Golden Age of Detection, I also get to live in a huge, historic home, and eat in the grand dining room every night. If I remember to wear my high leather boots and avoid ankle swipes from Bad Cat, it’s pretty close to heaven. Tonight, we’re having a mountain of gnocchi with fresh grated Parmesan. Signora Panetone, Vera’s cook, is quick to heap our plates. Everything smells wonderful.
Outside, the wind howls and the snow swirls. The temperature plummets. The windows rattle a bit.
But with a sweater on, it’s warm and cozy inside Van Alst House this late November night. In fact, things are perfect until the doorbell rings. But it’s just a doorbell, right? It’s not like a simple DING DONG! could cost a girl her dream job and bring death and destruction all around. Is it?
In retrospect, perhaps if I hadn’t answered it . . .
You can read more about Jordan in The Wolfe Widow, the third book in the “Book Collector” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is The Christie Curse.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 18 for the chance to win a print copy of THE WOLFE WIDOW. The giveaway is open to everyone.
About the author
That shadowy figure Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between artist and photographer, Victoria Maffini, and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, author of three mystery series. Their Book Collector series blends contemporary mystery, humor and classics from the Golden Age of Detection. Of course, there are also dogs and cats. The Christie Curse, The Sayers Swindle and The Wolfe Widow (September 2014) will be followed by two more book collector mysteries: The Marsh Madness is taking shape now. Be warned!
You can keep up with their characters on the thirtieth of the month over at Killer Characters and their culinary adventures at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen or by signing up for their newsletter at www.victoria-abbott.com or www.maryjanemaffini.com.