A Day in the Life with Whit Fletcher by J. Michael Orenduff

The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O'KeeffeI wanna say right off that I don’t do much on the Internet. But Dru Ann asked me to do this, and she’s too nice to say no to. So what’s my typical day like?

You probably seen television cops solving crimes with a computer, but in real life we depend more on shoe leather. My name is Whit Fletcher. I’m a Detective First Grade with the Albuquerque Police Department. Now I know Dru Ann likes murder mystery books, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But some people who read those books think there’s all sorts of civilians who, when they aren’t digging up pots, running antique stores or talking to their cats, is out solving murders. The only civilian I’ve even known who gets involved in murder cases is a guy named Hubert Schuze. He makes his living digging up old pots. That’s a violation of federal law, but with drug dealers and murderers running loose, I can’t get too worked up about old pots. Anyway, he came to me not long ago and told me a guy he knew was looking for old pots and accidentally dug up a body. And not an old mummy. This here was someone recently died. Or was killed.

So I say, “So you was out digging for pots and found a fresh corpse.”

“It wasn’t me,” he says.

“Right,” I say. “It was a guy you know.”


“What’s his name.”

“See, that’s the problem. He told me about finding the dead guy because he wanted the police to know. But he doesn’t want to get involved because he wasn’t supposed to be digging in a prehistoric site. So I can’t give you his name.”

“Okay, Hubert, I’ll play along.”

Well, we went round like that for a few minutes, and I agreed to nose around and see if there was a missing person that might be the body Hubert claims he didn’t find. But I didn’t go to the Internet. I used the phone and called all the cops I know in the county where Hubert was digging. I looked at the missing persons list which usually is no help because most people on it are missing because of alimony or child support they don’t want to pay or there’s a jealous husband they want to avoid. Then I drove to a small village on a dirt road in Rio Arriba County and did a lot of interviews. Routine stuff. Boring. Anyone who writes a book about me is not gonna sell many copies.

But I eventually narrowed it down, and between Hubert and me we found out who the dead guy was and who killed him. But the DA plea bargained because the dead guy was one of those nuts who beat themselves with whips and even volunteered to haul a cross and be tied on it. Sometimes they even get their hands nailed to it. Someone dies under those circumstances, you can’t really say they were murdered.

When I told Hubert that he said, “Maybe most of them are nuts, but some could be saints. Before you criticize a man, you should walk a mile in his moccasins.”

“That’s good advice,” I told him

“It is?” he said. He seemed surprised that I liked his advice because he knows I don’t go in much for corny sayings like that.

“Sure,” I said. “It’s good advice because if he don’t like your criticism, there ain’t much he can do about it because you’re a mile away from him and he’s barefooted.”

The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe is the seventh book in the Pot Thief mystery series, published by Open Road Media, February 2016.

America’s favorite pot thief must face off against the US Army to rescue a precious relic from obscurity in this clever and captivating mystery

A dealer in traditional Native American pottery, Hubie Schuze scours New Mexico in search of ancient treasures. The Bureau of Land Management calls him a criminal, but Hubie knows that the real injustice would be to leave the legacies of prehistoric craftspeople buried in the dirt.

In all his travels across the state, there is one place that Hubie hasn’t been able to access: Trinity Site at the White Sands Missile Range, where the first atomic bomb was detonated. Deep within the range are ruins once occupied by the Tompiro people, whose distinctive pottery is incredibly rare and valuable. When an old associate claims to have a buyer interested in spending big money on a Tompiro pot, Hubie resolves to finally find a way into the heavily guarded military installation.

But Hubie has more on his mind than just outwitting the army’s most sophisticated security measures. He’s in love with a beautiful woman who has a few secrets of her own—and his best friend, Susannah, may have just unearthed a lost Georgia O’Keeffe painting. It’s a lot for a mild-mannered pot thief to handle, and when his associate is murdered and Tompiro pots start replicating like Russian nesting dolls, Hubie suddenly realizes he’s caught up in the most complex and dangerous mystery he’s ever faced.

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Meet the author
Mike Orenduff grew up in a house so close to the Rio Grande that he could Frisbee a tortilla into Mexico. While in graduate school at the University of New Mexico, he worked during the summer as a volunteer teacher at one of the nearby pueblos. After receiving his M.A. at New Mexico and his Ph.D. at Tulane, he became a university professor. He went on to serve as President of New Mexico State University.

He took early retirement from higher education to write his award-winning Pot Thief murder mysteries which combine archaeology and philosophy with humor and mystery. Among his many awards are the “Lefty” national award for best humorous mystery, two “Eppies” for the best eBook mysteries and the New Mexico Book of the Year Award. His books have been described by The Baltimore Sun as “funny at a very high intellectual level and deliciously delightful” and by The El Paso Times as “the perfect fusion of murder, mayhem and margaritas.”

Giveaway: Mike is giving away a print copy of The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe to three lucky winners. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end March 24, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

30 responses to “A Day in the Life with Whit Fletcher by J. Michael Orenduff

  1. My grandfather was all Native American,so the tile caught my eye and throw in Georgia O’Keeffe name I’d love to read this book.

  2. This one sounds like a winner to me. I want it.

  3. I love books set in New Mexico! Such a beautiful background for a book. Thanks for a chance to enter.

  4. This is a series that’s been on my radar for awhile. Thanks for the post and the giveaway!

  5. While in college my daughter had to do a research project on Georgia O’Keeffe. Not only did it enrich her knowledge it also increased mine too. To find now there is a mystery written around her art is an interesting twist. Thank you for the introduction and the opportunity to enter your giveaway. robeader53@yahoo.com

  6. This sounds great! From the title through the description.

  7. Another series I’ve missed! Time to remedy that – sounds terrific.

  8. Looks intriguing. Like Tony Hillerman, but with more humor.

  9. I’m potty about mysteries around a Native American theme. Love The Thurlos, Hillermans, etc. Have not read one by this author. Anxious to try. This sounds like fun with much humor.

  10. Sounds like an interesting and informative read. Definitely adding to my TBR list. Like the setting and Native American theme.

  11. Interesting sounding series…would really like to try this series

  12. Fascinating! Would love to read this.

  13. What a great sounding series! I’d love to win the book, thanks for the chance.

  14. Margaret Lafferty

    I enjoy reading mysteries set in the Southwest and highlighting Native American culture. I want to read this book.

  15. A captivating and intriguing series which interests me greatly. Thanks.

  16. I love this series and the sense of humor that Whit Fletcher displays. Can’t wait to read this installment.

  17. MaryAnn Forbes

    My interest is definitely piqued, would like to be ucky enough to win a copy. Thanks for the opportunity.

  18. I love the Southwest. The beautiful land formations and scenery. Any story set in that area would be fun to read. I love mysteries. Sounds like a wonderful read! Congrats on your early retirement from education. I work at a university too.

  19. Vicki Highley

    This book and series sound real interesting. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of The Pot Thief who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe.

  20. Mary Jane H.

    Awesome sounding book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  21. elainehroberson

    This sounds like a great series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  22. This sounds to be a really interesting series! A tad from the norm of cozies. Thanks for the chance to win a book as well!

  23. I want to read this story. Hope to win a copy of The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keefe. Thanks for the chance!

  24. Thanks for the chance to win a copy the book looks really good I would love to win a copy

  25. Mike Orenduff

    Wow, what a great collection of comments. Now I wish I were giving away a book to everyone who commented since you all seem interested in New Mexico, humorous mysteries and Georgia O’Keeffe. Obviously I love those things too.

  26. New Mexico is one of my favorite setting for a book. I think I’ll like the humor in this one. Thanks for the contest.

  27. I’ve looked at the series for a while. Now I know I’m going to have to move it up in my TBR pile. Thanks for the contest.

  28. How have I not heard of this series until now?????

    Thanx for the 411 & the giveaway!!!!

  29. I am a New Mexican and I love mysteries especially those taking place in the southwest but this is a new series to me. I am surprised and I will certainly look at this series …..from the beginning. I would love to win a copy of the newest book in the series as it sounds very intriguing. Thanks for the opportunity.

  30. This sounds a great read.