Watching the morning news, streaming on my computer, is what I do in the predawn. Accompanied by a hot mug of espresso reaching the point of syrup by all the sugar I add (plus a dash of salt), I check if anything interesting has happened.
Recently, the worst thing happened.
Is the murder of a young woman, whose corpse was found under the Bill Emerson Bridge interesting? Yes, even though it is horrible. The bridge is not but a couple of blocks from my office. It spans the Mississippi River at Cape Girardeau, Missouri. There are a lot of strange things lurking about the waterfront, so I wasn’t surprised to hear about the killing.
Since I “resigned” (i.e., got kicked off the bench), I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. My wife Tina, a former deputy sheriff, and I set up shop in downtown Cape as private detectives. I discussed the killing with her and we decided that since we hadn’t been asked to look into it, we would stay away from the investigation.
Later that morning after I read about the killing, we got two clients, one right after the other. The first was a woman who wanted me to track the comings and goings of a philandering husband and the second was a contractor who was being harassed by a competitor.
Boring? Yes. Except that both of them were lying.
It didn’t take long for Tina and me to start our investigation when we found out about a second killing in Cape and the threat of a third murder! And our two new clients were, oddly enough, connected with all of that mess.
Coincidence? No. It was all the work of our nemesis, Nathaniel Dahlbert, who is one of the biggest human traffickers in the country. We, on the other hand, belong to a secret organization of vigilantes called the Guardians of Dinah. Please don’t tell the cops about us being hooked up with that group. The cops look down on vigilantes for some reason.
You’ll meet a cast of characters you’ll never forget. Let me give you a couple of examples. Ollie, my research assistant (not a snitch), who shaves his entire body and has a purple tattoo on his bald head, is one of them. He knows everything. Just ask him. Ollie runs the busiest restaurant in downtown Cape. The clientele sometimes turn out to be loaded with information. Ferdinand is one of these. He’s a “homeless” guy who no one ever notices on the streets, but he’s got more information than Google. Then there are the bad guys. Yep, Nathaniel Dahlbert has a few scummy folks working for him you better hope you never meet.
Add to all that the fact that I just can’t keep my nose out of places where it doesn’t belong—as in snooping around for the facts in the bridge murder—and you’ll see why my life is in danger.
You can read more about Judge Rosswell in Dishonest Corpse, the fifth book in the “Judge Rosswell Carew” mystery series.
Disgraced and “benched” Judge Rosswell Carew gasps in horror early one morning when he watches the report of a girl murdered under the Mississippi River bridge on the waterfront, a couple of blocks from his downtown office in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Although this victim reeks of the evil handiwork of Carew’s nemesis, Nathaniel Dahlbert, Carew and his beloved wife, Tina, herself a retired sheriff’s deputy, can’t let themselves become distraught. Their new detective agency is up and running and they convince themselves this murder has nothing to do with them. Later that morning, two different people come to their agency and hire their services. Within hours, the married detectives are involved in a different murder case that not only points to the girl’s killing, but also to a possible third homicide. Rosswell and Tina find themselves caught up in a deadly cat-and-mouse game that’s got only one solution: The capture of Nathaniel Dahlbert—or the death of Rosswell Carew!
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Meet the author
Bill Hopkins is retired after beginning his legal career in 1971 and serving as a private attorney, prosecuting attorney, an administrative law judge, and a trial court judge, all in Missouri. His poems, short stories, and non-fiction have appeared in many different publications. He’s had several short plays produced. Bill is a member of Horror Writers Association, Missouri Writers Guild, SEMO Writers Guild, Heartland Writers Guild, and Sisters In Crime.
Bill is also a photographer who has sold work in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He and his wife, Sharon Woods Hopkins (a mystery writer!), live in Marble Hill, Missouri, with their dogs and cats.
Besides writing, Bill and Sharon are involved in collecting and restoring Camaros.
Courting Murder was Bill’s first novel and his second novel River Mourn won first place in the Missouri Writers’ Guild Show-Me Best Book Awards in 2014.
Visit Bill Hopkins at the website he shares with his wife, mystery writer Sharon Woods Hopkins (The Deadly Duo, whose villains give murder a bad name®), www.deadlyduo.net.
All comments are welcomed.
Dishonest Corpse is available at retail and online booksellers.