Sometimes good things take a while. My latest published mystery novel took about 30 years.
The Medium is the Murder, now available from Belanger books with a terrific cover, is the sequel to School for Sleuths. Both were written in (approximately) 1991, the year in which they are set. The series opener was published in 2018.
Both books are true mysteries, with clues and (I hope) surprise culprits, but they are also strongly comic starting with the premise. They focus on the A-Plus Detective Agency & Famous Detectives School, which is rather like a barber college: Its fees are low because detectives are all students still learning the trade.
As you might expect, these student sleuths vary in age, intelligence, and ability. But Francis Aloysius Finn, the visionary owner of A-Plus, pulls their work together to solve the mysteries with the invaluable help of his super-competent secretary (today she would be a personal assistant), Mrs. Hilary Kendrake.
During the big gap between writing and publication, I never forgot Finn and Kendrake and I’m delighted that they’ve finally seen the light of day. Unlike my first two McCabe-Cody mystery novels – also written decades before publication – the plotlines of these stories were too anchored in the 1990s for me to bring into the present by rewriting. And because I’m interested in writing about the current scene, I won’t be producing any more School for Sleuths adventures.
(I did, however, let an older version one of the student sleuths interact with McCabe and Cody in “Foul Ball,” a novela in my book Murderers’ Row.)
The manuscripts of both School for Sleuths novels were greatly improved by the editing of Carla Kaessinger Coupe, for which I am very grateful. The Medium is the Murder begins with a jealous husband and quickly veers into matters possibly supernatural involving a New Age channeler. The book ends with Finn closing the door of the A-Plus offices for the night. I’m a little sad that he won’t be opening it again.