Saturday, May 5, 2018
Amateurs Sleuths and the Cops They Love to Hate
A Note from Casey Daniels and Kylie Logan
National Police Week is coming up (May 13-May 19). Here in Northeast Ohio, the highlight of our week is placing markers on the graves of officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Once again and my husband and I will visit our assigned three cemeteries and together with a pair of Cleveland Police officers, we’ll place bronze markers and flags at each of the graves. The officers we honor span different departments, different years. But each and every one of them is hero.
Thinking about them got us thinking about the police officers our fictional heroines meet in their own line of duty. So here’s the rundown. Step up and say hello to these boys in blue!
Ethnic Eats Mysteries
Meet Gus Oberlin, the crabbiest detective in the history of crime fighting. Gus is in charge of the cases investigated by heroine Laurel Inwood and they first meet in book #1 of the series, “Irish Stewed,” at the restaurant where Laurel works, Sophie’s Terminal at the Tracks. Here’s Laurel’s take on their first encounter:
If the look on his doughy face meant anything, Detective Gus Oberlin was not as surprised as the rest of them. Or as impressed, either. He scrubbed a hand under his wide, flat nose and looked up from the notebook where he’d been writing down what I told him, and he narrowed his eyes and looked passed me and over my shoulder. They were small, dark eyes, the kind that took in everything and revealed little. Though he didn’t say a word, I could tell he was cataloging the scene: the body bag, the blank look on the victim’s face, the astonishment that made the cops and the paramedics and Sophie, too, look as stunned as if they’d had a camera flash go off too close to their faces.
The dead guy was the Lance of Justice.
“Who’s the Lance of Justice?” I asked Detective Oberlin.
He rolled the toothpick he was chewing from one corner of his mouth to the other. Oberlin was six-foot-four and weighed well over three hundred pounds. The buttons on the white shirt he wore under a nondescript blue suit jacket gaped just a little and there were spits and splots of tonight’s dinner--spaghetti and meatballs, if I was any judge--on his sky blue tie.
“The Lance of Justice!” Oberlin didn’t so much say the words as he crooned them. As if he’s just realized that what he thought was a pretty ho-hum murder (is there such a thing?) was suddenly delicious.
League of Literary Ladies Mysteries
What’s a small town without a tough-as-nails small town cop in charge? Bea Cartwright finds out all about the small town force on South Bass Island where she runs her B&B. In book #1 of the series, “Mayhem at the Orient Express,” Bea and her friends have just discovered a body and of course, they get a visit from Chief Hank Florentine.
There’s no buzz kill like a visit from the police in the middle of the night. I put on a pot of coffee. “Don’t be silly.” Yeah, bad choice of words. From the tilt of the cop’s bullet-shaped head to the chip I swore I could see on his shoulder, this guy was anything but. “We’re just talking. That’s all. And yes, the subject of the murder came up. Of course it did. What happened tonight has upset all of us.”
He glanced around the kitchen. “You don’t look upset. None of you.”
“Pish tush!” Luella brushed him off with the flick of one hand. “That’s for us to judge. Just like it’s for us to decide how we can best handle how upset we are. Being with friends . . .” She glanced around at us. “Well, if you ask me, that’s the best way any of us can handle the kind of trauma we’ve been through tonight.”
I got out mugs and offered one to the cop who declined with the tip of his head.
“Speaking of the murder, there are a couple interesting things we noticed,” I began.
“Yeah, like how it’s just like the one in Murder on the Orient Express.” Her cheeks flushed, Chandra cut me off. “That’s what we’re reading, for your information. You know, for our book discussion group at the library.”
Was that a smile I saw on the cop’s pug-ugly face?
I must have been imagining it, because the next second, his mouth thinned.
“Don’t give me that bull, Chandra,” he said. “You haven’t read a book in thirty years.”
“We found a clue,” Chandra said and yes, she was stretching the truth. “When we walked into the Orient Express tonight, before we realized what had happened to Peter, we saw a woman’s glove on the floor.”
The cop simply stared.
Chandra stepped closer, leaned in, and tapped her forehead with one finger. “Hello! Don’t you get it? A woman’s glove on the floor? That’s got to mean something. Like that Peter was murdered by a woman.”
All this time, the cop had stayed near the door. Now, he took a couple steps further into the kitchen. He scrubbed one finger under his nose. “Or it could mean that the Orient Express was a public establishment.” He pronounced these last two words slow and loud. “You four, you’re playing games, and murder isn’t about games. Leave the investigating to the professionals.”
It wasn’t until the door banged shut behind him that I felt some of the tension inside me ease. “What’s that guy’s problem?” I asked no one in particular.
Chandra’s laugh sounded like air escaping from a balloon. “Sorry.” She laughed some more. “We forgot to introduce you. That was Hank.”
My mouth fell open. “Hank–”
“Yep.” Chandra grinned. “My ex number two. Cranky son–of-a-bitch, isn’t he?”
Pepper Martin Mysteries
And then there’s Quinn Harrison. Quinn is Numero Uno in the life of Pepper Martin, the heroine of the paranormal Pepper Martin mysteries. Dreamy is putting it mildly. Just ask Pepper.
What can I say about Quinn? He’s dark-haired, tall, gorgeous, and as pig-headed as any man I’d ever met. He’s a great cop, and an even better lover. He has fabulous taste in clothes and always looks like a million bucks, and that day was no exception: dark suit, white shirt, a tie with dashes of green in it that perfectly matched his incredible eyes. Quinn and I had known each other for a few years and I’ll be the first to admit that for some of that time, our relationship had been more than a little rocky. These days we were lucky enough to enjoy each others’ company, and most of the time we did it without arguing.
We watched a lot of movies and loved discussing the ones I loved and he hated (or he loved and I hated). He liked to cook, I liked to eat, and it never took us long to decide on which bottle of wine would make the perfect pairing. Sometimes he was so annoying, I couldn’t stand being in the same room with him, but most of the time, I couldn’t imagine my world if it didn’t include Quinn.