My latest mystery novel, Too Many Clues, marks a minor milestone – the 10th book in the Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody mystery series.
(The spine says “Book Nine” because it’s the ninth novel. Rogues Gallery, one of my favorites in the series, is a collection of three novellas and two short stories.)
When I launched the series in 2011 with No Police Like Holmes (FREE on Kindle), I expected that it would be called the Sebastian McCabe series. But early readers liked Jeff Cody, Mac’s brother-in-law and “Watson,” so much that Holmes Sweet Holmes and all the subsequent books have been labeled “A Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody Mystery.”
As the first two titles suggest, the entire series is an homage to Sherlock Holmes. The Great Detective is mentioned in every book, and his adventures often supply a clue to the solution – although one need not be a Holmes devotee to enjoy them.
But Sebastian McCabe is more than just a Sherlockian and a professor at a small Catholic university in equally small Erin, Ohio. He is also a mystery writer, a magician, and an amateur sleuth. In other words, he is the embodiment of my fantasy life. Why not? I created him.
Jeff Cody, by contrast, failed at writing mystery novels but is a highly successful foil for Mac, his best friend and brother-in-law. I’ve often related how I once told my wife, Ann, that Jeff was a comic exaggeration of my neurotic tendencies. “Oh, no,” she said, “you’re just like that.”
I beg to differ. Jeff is much taller than me and has red hair. He began the series as a bachelor. In Too Many Clues, he’s the married the father of three. His beloved spouse, Lynda Teal (Cody), has been an integral part of the series since No Police Like Holmes.
Lynda is not the only key character besides Mac and Jeff. A few major characters are in almost every story, such as Jeff’s assistant and her paramour, Police Chief Oscar Hummel. Minor characters pop in and out. “By this time, Dan Andriacco has created a world,” author and editor David Marcum wrote about one of the earlier McCabe-Cody books. That was my intention. I’m always gratified when readers tell me that reading the latest is like going home again.
Part of any world – even my invented one – is change. St. Benignus College, Mac and Jeff’s employer, became St. Benignus University in Erin Go Bloody. By Queen City Corpse, Jeff had a new boss. Lynda has had several jobs as a journalist, and she is now writing a novel.
Too Many Clues brings some of the biggest changes yet as two characters who have been part of Mac and Jeff’s world from the start take their leave and a disarming new assistant chief joins the St. Benignus University Police. Oh, and there are a couple of murders, too.
When people ask me which Dan Andriacco mystery is my favorite, I usually say, “I love all my children.” And that’s true. But I think Too Many Clues is one of the best yet. I hope you agree.
The Sebastian McCabe – Jeff Cody mystery series need not be read in order of publication. There are no spoilers, and any background necessary is provided in each book.