I’m told you want to hear about a day in the life of Irene Seligman. Well, I’ll tell you this right off the bat: It’s a lot different than my life a few months ago. Up until then I was an assistant DA in Manhattan and leading a happy life with an upward career path.
Then Adelle called, and I dropped everything, including my job, and headed back home to Santa Fe. Adelle is my mother, but I have never been allowed to call her Mom or Mother. She always said that was simply too bourgeois, and I was to call her Adelle. I think she just didn’t want to be reminded that she had a daughter. She summoned me back to Santa Fe just after the divorce from her fourth husband. No, wait, I think it was her fifth husband. Anyway, she had just passed her seventieth birthday which frightened her somewhat, and she no longer had maids and chauffeurs at her bidding, since that last husband left her with nothing. She said she needed me.
I love my mother even if she is more than a little irascible, so of course I dropped everything and went home to Santa Fe to help her. We’re Jewish. What can I say?
There’s a sizable community of Jewish people in Santa Fe, many of whom arrived via Mexico in the sixteenth century fleeing the Inquisition. My family was one of those. Do I need to add that many intermarried with Spanish colonists? Hence I also have a Hispanic heritage and I was raised mostly by my grandmother, Teresa Maria Josepha Ortega y Silva de Seligman. She was Santa Fe’s grande dame until her death.
When Adelle, a New Yorker, married my father, she became one of Santa Fe’s aristocracy and reveled in it until it became apparent that the Seligmans were all name and no money. All of Adelle’s other husbands have been wealthy, but she didn’t manage to hang on to any of it for herself. She does at least have good taste in clothes and lots of wealthy Santa Fe aristocracy for friends. They provide the stock for my high fashion consignment store on the Santa Fe plaza across the street from the venerable Basilica de San Francisco and just up the street from the oldest house and the oldest church in the United States. I know, I know, St. Augustine, Florida, makes the same claim, and I won’t argue.
I opened the store to make a living for Adelle and me, and because I don’t want to practice law in Santa Fe. At least not yet. I thought a consignment store would be easier, then I found a dead woman in a storage closet the first day the store was open. Since then, a typical day in my life has been anything but typical. The people I’ve met and the things I’ve done since that day are a long way beyond what I expected when I first decided to come back. It’s all in the book. Just have a look for yourself.
A Killer Closet is the first book in the New Irene Seligman mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, October 2016.
In a fashionably cozy short mystery novel, Paula Paul introduces a tenacious heroine who leaves big-city life behind and returns to picturesque Santa Fe, New Mexico—where murder lands on her doorstep.
Irene Seligman loves the warmth and beauty of her Southwest hometown, but only one thing could make her quit her prestigious job as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan to return there: the guilt applied by her demanding mother, Adelle. After Adelle’s most recent husband dies, leaving her with nothing, Irene decides to take a break from prosecuting criminals to move back to Santa Fe and open an upscale consignment store. With Irene’s determination and her mother’s eye for haute couture, they’re sure to make a killing.
But on the day of the grand opening, Irene discovers the body of one of Adelle’s friends in her storeroom. And although the intrigue causes business to boom, when someone else from Adelle’s social circle is murdered, Irene begins to suspect her mother might be in danger too. Ever the protective daughter, Irene investigates her mother’s friends, suspicious that they’re hiding more than designer clothes in their closets. But as she gets closer to uncovering some real skeletons, Irene might not live to regret coming home again.
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Meet the author
Paula Paul is the award-winning author of 30 novels for children and adults. She is best known for her Dr. Alexandra Gladstone Mysteries and for her literary novels Crazy Quilt and Forgetting Tommie, both set in her native Texas. Killer Closet launches a new contemporary mystery series.
Before her career as a novelist, she was a journalist in both Texas and New Mexico and is the recipient of several state and national awards in that field. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her two dogs, Alexandra Gladstone and Wolfgang Mozart. Connect with Paula at paulapaul.net.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of For Dead Men Only or A Killer Closet. The giveaway ends October 15, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!