It was Monday, July 1st, the day that Spike (newly dead) took over my life. I had staggered out of bed around eleven (a.m.) after a particularly rough night (although it’s getting harder to rank them at this point), so it wasn’t until my second cup of coffee that I noticed the blinking light on the phone. Hardly anyone ever calls me on my landline anymore, so I figured it was just a telemarketer or someone conducting a survey. When I finally gave in and pushed the button, the ragged sound of my Aunt Peg crying made me spill my coffee all over my lap. What she said sent my adrenaline level spiking to new levels.

“Oh my God, Jamie, where are you? I can’t find your cell number. . .I don’t know what to do. I need your help. . .Adam’s in trouble (she’s sobbing at this point and I can’t understand what she’s saying) he’s. . . he’s. . . been arrested! I’m so scared. Please call me the minute you hear this. . .”

Now I was officially freaked out. First, because my aunt sounds so much like my mother on the phone. Second, because my cousin Adam is not someone who should be in jail, ever. And third, because how could anyone expect me to help with a crisis of this magnitude? I could barely take care of myself!

There’s one more thing I should tell you about myself, but I don’t like to bring it up. Since I have no choice, I’ll just throw it out there and hope you don’t think less of me, or make assumptions about my honesty or integrity. The truth is. . . I’m a lawyer. There, I said it. I hope that hasn’t changed your opinion of me. I practice family law exclusively, which means that my limited area of expertise includes divorce, adoption, paternity, custody and child support. I use the word ‘limited’ because it’s the only area I know, and it’s hard enough to keep up with that. The problem is that friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers tend to ask my advice in areas that I know nothing about. I’m truly sorry, but I can’t help you with a real estate closing, or tell you what your back injury is worth; I can’t help you file your Social Security claim, or advise you whether to file for bankruptcy. And I sure as hell can’t represent you in a criminal case.

For Adam’s sake, I hoped that wasn’t what my aunt had in mind.

By the time I called her back, Aunt Peg had gone from hysterical to eerily calm and I don’t know which one worried me more. She said that they were at the Hollywood police station where Adam was being held. She needed to stay with him so she couldn’t talk, but she’d fill me in when I came down.

“I’ll get down there as soon as I can,” I said. “You guys hang in there, okay?” I wanted to sound reassuring, but I’m not exactly the cavalry.

“I’ll try, Jamie,” she said, her voice cracking. “But there’s something else I need you to do. . .”

“Of course, Aunt Peg, what is it?”

“Can you please come dressed like a lawyer?”

You can read more about Jamie in Death by Didgeridoo, the first book in the “Jamie Quinn” mystery series. Jeopardy in July, the fifth book in the series was released in March.

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

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Meet the author
Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman, is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of the popular Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series; Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person, The Fight for Magicallus, a children’s fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place; and two books of humorous essays: I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course and A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities, which are part of the Quirky Essays for Quirky People series. Both books of humorous essays won the prestigious “Indie Book of the Day” award.

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