My brother, Lt. Steve Fitzgerald thinks I need to find a normal job. My name is Delanie Fitzgerald, and I’m quite pleased with my career choice of private investigator. I own Falcon Investigations. I do most of the sleuthing, and my partner, computer whiz, Duncan Reynolds, has a way with research. The rest of the world calls it hacking, but I look the other way because he has a way of getting computers to cough up information that people want to keep hidden.
Most days, I go to the office with Duncan and Margaret, his English bulldog, or run errands like everyone else. But with this job, I do get to play dress up and spy – usually on wayward husbands. My brother calls it stalking for a living. But I like to think that I’m a grown up Nancy Drew. I just show up at the mark’s favorite bar in my little black dress and see what happens. It’s amazing what people will tell a stranger.
People think that investigating is glamorous. It can be, but if I’m not working, I spend most evenings with what’s on my DVR in my Sears Catalog home. It’s the Yates model, and the original owners ordered it from Sears in 1939. The pieces arrived by train and were eventually assembled into my bungalow. It’s quirky, but it fits my style.
New cases are exciting, but they can involve long hours of stakeouts and talking to everyone and his brother who could have information pertinent to the case. I enjoy the people part. I learned a long time ago that if I carry a clipboard and look official, people will tell me just about anything. I keep a bag of work gear: clipboards, lanyards with lots of IDs, and a variety of hats and wigs in the trunk of my black Mustang for any occasion. It also helps that Duncan likes gadgets. He always has the latest hidden microphone, camera, or bugging device. I have a purse and a hat that conceal a camera. They all come in handy during investigations. I wish we had a drone. That would make stakeouts more interesting. I’ll have to check with Duncan about that.
Recently, we’ve acquired two clients with interesting requests that didn’t involve cheating husbands. The first came from a tell-all author in California. She wants Duncan and I to chase down rumors that 80s pop star, Johnny Velvet of the Vibes, faked his death and is living incognito in rural Virginia. Johnny Velvet was as big as Wham! and Culture Club in the Big 80s, and everyone knows he died in a fiery car crash on a bridge in Los Angeles. I had his posters on my wall in elementary school, and his music was part of every mix tape I made. Why would he give up stardom and retreat to a farm in the middle of nowhere? If the answer’s out there, Duncan and I will find it.
And if that’s not enough to keep me busy, local strip club owner, Chaz Wellington Smith, III hired us to look into allegations that someone at city hall was thwarting his efforts to open a new club near the museum district. And about the time I was wrapping up my research for Chaz, the mayor ended up dead in his Mercedes in front of Chaz’s club, The Treasure Chest. I have a feeling that I’ll be spending the next few months helping Chaz clear his name. Usually a poster boy for the hipster generation (a demographic that he’s aged out of), Chaz wears shiny suits with open collars and lots of jewelry and drives a gold Hummer, wrapped in bikini-clad advertisements for his club. Despite his rough edges and bad table manners, Chaz grows on you after a while. And more importantly, he always pays in cash. Chaz may be sleazy, but I don’t think he’s a murderer. Duncan and I are determined to find the real killer.
Secret Lives and Private Eyes is the first book in the NEW Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series, published by Koehler Books, May 2016.
Business has been slow for Private Investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald, but her luck seems to change when a tell-all author hires her to find rock star, Johnny Velvet. Could the singer whose career purportedly ended in a fiery crash almost thirty years ago, still be alive?
And as though sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Chaz Wellington Smith, III, a loud-mouthed, strip club owner, also hires Delanie to uncover information about the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz, is the key suspect. Now Delanie must clear his name and figure out why landscaper Tripp Payne, keeps popping up in her other investigation. Can the private investigator find the connection between the two cases before another murder – possibly her own – takes place?
Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that will appeal to readers who like a strong, female sleuth with a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations.
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Meet the author
Heather Weidner’s short stories appear in Virginia is for Mysteries and Virginia is for Mysteries Volume II. Currently, she is President of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, and a member of Guppies and Lethal Ladies Write. Secret Lives and Private Eyes is her debut novel.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.
Heather earned her BA in English from Virginia Wesleyan College and her MA in American literature from the University of Richmond. Through the years, she has been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Secret Lives and Private Eyes. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end August 11, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!