... to my blog today.
Isabel Long’s partner in crime in Chasing the Case
Private investigators sometimes have a sidekick. Isabel Long, the protagonist of my new mystery, Chasing the Case, has an unconventional one — her 92-year-old mother. Yes, Maria Ferreira is Isabel’s Watson.
Maria came to live with Isabel after both got tired of living alone. She looks and acts much younger than a woman her age. She stays up much later than Isabel, reading or doing puzzles.
And when Isabel decided to take on her first case, she knew her mystery-loving mother could be a big help. Ma, as Isabel calls her, is a huge fan of the genre. Often they watch shows together and figure out whodunit before the characters.
Isabel, who says she inherited her mother’s nosy gene, often brings her along on interviews she has with sources and even suspects. Ma is a great listener.
And as she does in a crucial scene, she gives her daughter a piece of insight that is extremely helpful.
I do have a confession. My own mother is the inspiration for this character. She approves. In fact, she’s one of the first to read the book. Yeah, she makes a great Watson.
Here’s an excerpt from Chasing the Case, which is written in first person. Isabel tells her mother over dinner about the case.
I set down my spoon.
“I want to ask you something,” I say. “You know a little bit about the town already. A woman who lived here all her life disappeared twenty-eight years ago in September. She used to work at the store when her parents owned it. One day she just didn’t show up. Two months later, a couple of local guys hunting deer found her car on an old logging road in the woods on the next town over, Wilmot. But she wasn’t in it. The doors weren’t locked. It was the first day of shotgun season.”
My mother’s head tips to one side. Besides being a nice kind of nosy, she’s read tons of detective novels and watches the same kinds of movies.
“Tell me more about her. What’s her name?”
“Adela Collins. She lived with her son, Dale, not far from the store. He’s still in town. She was the store’s cashier. People liked her. I never heard anyone say anything bad about her even before she disappeared. She was divorced twice, but both were a long time ago. I sometimes saw her at the Rooster. That’s the bar in town.”
“What about the son?”
“Dale was only ten when it happened. He doesn’t seem the child killer type to me. He went to live with his grandparents, but then he inherited his mother’s house. He’s kind of a sad sack.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him smile. He doesn’t stick with one job too long.”
“What about the cops?”
“They treated it like a missing person’s case. At least the seven years are long past, so the family could officially declare her dead and take care of the paperwork.”
“When was the last time anyone saw her?”
“Her son was sleeping over at his grandparents’ house that night, so it would’ve been after she left the store and walked home. It was a Monday evening. People said they saw the lights on at her house. They were still lit when her father came to check on her the next morning. Get this. Her dog was inside. Her purse was on the counter. Nothing was taken.”
My mother sits back in her chair.“Why are you so interested?”
about the book... How does a woman disappear in a town of a thousand people? That's a 28-year-old mystery Isabel Long wants to solve.
Isabel has the time given she just lost her husband and her job as the managing editor of a newspaper. (Yes, it's been a bad year.) And she's got a Watson — her 92-year-old mystery-loving mother who lives with her.
To help her case, Isabel takes a job at the local watering hole, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she's not about to lose this case.
about the author...Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Chasing the Case, published by Crooked Cat Books, is her first mystery and the first in a series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including Chasing the Case and its sequels.