You’ve never heard of me, Celeste Farmington, but you know my big brother Sandy Fairfax, that popular teen idol of the ‘70s and star of the TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” At least that’s the handle he goes by. His real name is Stanford Ernest Farmington Jr. I guess his family name wasn’t good enough for show biz. He said his manager made the name change, but Ernest is stubborn enough that I’m sure he could turned him down if he wanted to.
I’m a musician too. I play piano better than Ernest (but not as good as my other brother, Warren) and I sing well too. I also write songs; Ernest hasn’t written anything except maybe a barroom song from his drinking days.
In the ‘70s I recorded two acoustic folk rock records, “Dragon in the Forest” and “Gently Sings the Dove.” I asked Ernest if his big-time record label would release my music but somehow that never happened, as well as a promise for me to guest star on his TV show and to open for his concerts. So my career went nowhere while he hit the heights.
In the years since Ernest retreated into the bottle and I scraped by. I’ve been blind since birth and earning a living hasn’t been easy. I’ve relied mostly on government checks; my parents and Warren (but not Ernest) gave me money too. I made ceramic sculptures and sold a few. I got rid of my piano because I needed the money and music didn’t interest me anymore.
Recently Ernest showed up at my doorstop claiming he was sober and that he had a job offer for me—a week’s worth of concerts aboard the SS Zodiac cruise ship. I was still angry with him for not helping out when I needed him. But he wanted to make amends, so I relented.
But I was scared. Crowds and unfamiliar places frightened me. I was comfortable in my home and with my routines. Learning the music for the show was difficult and I almost quit, but Ernest pushed me.
On board the ship, Ernest was a gentleman and he guided me around the decks. I enjoyed doing the concerts. I’d forgotten how much I loved to sing. I especially liked poking fun at my brother on stage in front of the audience. Hee hee.
What I didn’t like was the dead body that turned up in my brother’s backstage dressing room. That upset me. My brother started playing sleuth and interviewing suspects. I poked holes in some of his theories because I’m better at solving puzzles than he is. Then the killer tried to drown Ernest; the murderer even locked me in a box.
You can read about our adventure and how my dopey brother needed my help to unmask the killer at the onboard Halloween costume gala in the new book, The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper, the third book in the “Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol” series from Cozy Cat Press.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on November 26 for the chance to win a copy of THE CUNNING CRUISE SHIP CAPER. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
About the author
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. Her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City. Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
The initial book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel. “The Sinister Sitcom Caper” is the second in the series.
Her short story, “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in,” is in the anthology “Last Exit to Murder.” “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” was published in the “Plan B: Vol. 2” e-book anthology.