It’s a double-post Saturday! Gayle Carline, author of the Peri Minneopa mystery series, has a brand new book out, and of course Gayle knows all about solving crime with a great deal of fun involved! I am so excited to be a part of her book launch. If you haven’t read any of her other books think cleaning lady turned private investigator. You know that could be the definition of every mother of a teenager? I am in the middle of reading the third book in the series, Freezer Burn, and love it that my favorite character, Benny is back singin’ Dino.
Gayle is guest posting today to tell you all about her latest book THE HOT MESS and you might want to take notes–there will be a test later.
Teresa is a brand new friend of mine, having discovered her on Goodreads. I’ve read both of her books and I’m looking forward to the next one. So I first have to thank her for giving me a little space on her blog to run a contest for my new book, THE HOT MESS. If you’ve been following the other blogs in the contest, you’ve come to the right place.
It’s the third book in my Peri Minneopa Mystery series. Peri is a housecleaner-turned-detective, who traded in her dustmop for a PI license. Surveillance and background checks are easy money, unless you’re getting chased, beaten, or shot—which happens to her from time to time.
In THE HOT MESS, Peri is asked to investigate a case of arson and murder. It’s not exactly on her menu of services, but she agrees to help her friend. What she uncovers are family secrets… and danger.
Here are the rules: There are excerpts from the book on this and four other blogs (see below). Visit my blog on Monday, November 26th, and I’ll ask five questions, the answers to which can be found in these five excerpts. The first person who answers all five correctly gets a free copy of THE HOT MESS, either e-book or paperback. I’m feeling so good about everything right now, I might even give out more free copies.
Their conversation wandered to the happier subjects of the beloved orange cat, and the trio’s trip to Steubenville for Dean Martin’s birthday. Benny couldn’t get the words out fast enough to tell Peri about the tributes and the tours and the souvenirs.
“I brought you a souvenir, too, Miss Peri,” he said. “It’s in the car.” He raced ahead to Phil’s old Mercedes sedan and opened the back door.
“How was it traveling with him?” Peri asked.
Nancy smiled. “Oh, it was fun. He reminds me so much of our grandson. He lives in Boston, so we don’t see him very often, but he’s an Aspie, just like Benny.”
“Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s on the spectrum of autism. They can have repetitive patterns, obsessive interests, and usually have a hard time with social skills.”
“I didn’t realize,” Skip said. “I just thought he was Benny.”
Phil laughed. “Well I’m sure they didn’t have a name for it when he was younger. I think if you’re not diagnosed as a child, then as an adult, people just think you’re weird. They don’t try to pin the diagnosis on you anymore.”
Benny scampered up to Peri, a wrinkled brown bag in his hand. He held it out to her, looked at it, and took it back. He spent several seconds smoothing the wrinkles as best he could, then handed it to her at last.
“Thank you,” Peri told him, and reached inside. It was a Dean Martin bobblehead doll, his body bouncing as she held onto his oversized head.
“Do you like it? I figure you can put it on your dashboard. Or maybe on that shelf where the blue moose was.”
The blue ceramic moose had been knocked from her curio shelf by Matt Helm while she was providing a foster home for him. Benny had been caring for the cat, and suggested several times that she needed more Dino stuff in her house. She guessed her gift was his attempt at starting the trend.
“Sounds like a perfect spot,” Skip said.
Benny didn’t seem to hear him. He was examining his ashtray again, fingering all the grooves and tracing the curves. He popped from his reverie to face her.
“Miss Peri, I want to hire you.”
“To do what?”
He rolled his eyes. “To find out what happened to my house. Somebody must’ve killed that guy and tried to burn my house down to hide the body.”
She looked up at Skip, who kissed the top of her head. “I got what I needed. You’re on your own.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” she said, watching the detective walk to his car and thinking, coward. “The fire chief says—”
“The fire chief is wrong.” He cut her off. “I never bought a can of paint in my life, and I never put anything next to wires or outlets or the stove or matches or, or, or anything hot. My mom taught me better. I may have a lot of stuff in my house, but I know the rules. Somebody set the fire. And you can find out who.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Peri repeated herself, in an attempt to consider what he was saying. “I’m not a fire investigator.”
“But you will talk to the investigator, just like you talk to the police officers and figure things out. I can help you, too, like I did before.”
“You’re finished with your community service hours, and I can’t afford to hire you.”
“Why not? In jail, we found out minimum wage is eight dollars an hour. Charge me eight dollars more than your regular fee, then when I pay you, you pay me my eight dollars.”
“While mathematically correct, it sounds a little crazy,” Peri said.
Phil agreed. “Sounds like you’re paying to work for her.”
“But I have plenty of money,” Benny told them. “And when the insurance pays me, I’ll have even more money.”
Peri saw his hands massaging the ashtray. They worked together, kneading his stress into the glass. Here was a guy who could make it through life as long as there weren’t any problems, but problems wouldn’t leave him alone. She felt her heart soften. “Okay, Ben, I’ll at least look into everything. But you don’t have to help me.”
* * *
The other blog sites are:
The adorable Andrew Kaufman, http://www.andrewekaufman.blogspot.com/
The lovely and talented Jenny Hilborne, http://jfhilborne.wordpress.com/
The fierce but friendly Michele Scott, http://adventuresnwriting.blogspot.com/
Mr. All-Things-Dean-Martin, http://ilovedinomartin.blogspot.com/
When you’ve visited them, come on over on Monday and see me at http://gaylecarline.blogspot.com/