Campaigning Can Be Deadly
by Charlotte Stuart
GENRE: Mystery, Female PI
What begins as a prank ends in murder.
The campaign for the U.S. Congressional seat was referred to in the press as “Mr. Smith goes to Washington versus the carpetbagger.” The popular local candidate gets the majority of endorsements, but his opponent’s wealthy, out-of-state family is willing to do whatever it takes for him to win.
Penny-wise Investigations, a discount detective agency located in a mall, is hired to find out who is stealing the local candidate’s political signs. Two of their investigators, Cameron Chandler and Yuri Webster, not only catch the thieves in the act, they find a body next to a pile of stolen signs, proving that Campaigning Can Be Deadly.
STAKEOUT – There were no buildings on the smallish piece of land, just tall grass dotted with litter. Signs were scattered everywhere, like bulky cardboard weeds growing out of control, including a dozen or so for Knight. They stood out from the rest because of their color and careful placement on the lot. According to the file, Knight’s signs had been stolen from the lot in the past, and hopefully they would be a tempting target for the opposition this evening. Although I liked having an assignment, I didn’t necessarily look forward to spending too many nights in a car eating junk food and praying that I could last the night without needing a toilet break.
“Want to start with chips or Cheez-its?” Yuri asked.
“I brought a couple of sandwiches,” I said. “Egg salad or vegetarian?”
“What’s in the vegetarian?”
“Eggs,” I said, handing him a sandwich. “I didn’t have time for dinner,” I explained. “I also have a thermos of coffee and some candy bars.”
“I brought Coke and candy bars.”
“Think we’ll have enough?”
“Only if it doesn’t take all night.” Yuri laughed. I like his laugh. And I like him. We work well together. Initially my kids had hoped we would end up romantically involved, but when they realized that wasn’t going to happen, they seemed content to settle for his friendship in our lives.
Charlotte Stuart – Campaigning Can Be Deadly
Topic Discussion: What other books do you currently have out? Also What are your plans for the future.
I’ve been fortunate to get several books out in a short period of time. They represent the start of three different series. People have asked why I did that, why didn’t I wait until one series was established before starting on another? Well, the truth is that I was trying to come up with a formula that would interest a publisher, and I didn’t anticipate getting all three out there within a year’s time. I’m thrilled, of course, but it’s had its challenges. When my first mystery was published, I knew zip about marketing and had no presence on social media. I had to play catch-up, and quickly. Since then I’ve frequently felt like one of the student characters from a Far Side cartoon who raised his hand in class and announced, “My brain is full.”
Fortunately, Survival Can Be Deadly, my first published mystery, was a ForewardINDIES finalist. That helped me get Campaigning Can Be Deadly, the 2nd mystery in the Discount Detective series, published. Both feature Cameron Chandler, a single mom who takes a job as an investigator with a shopping mall detective agency called Penny-wise Investigations. Their byline is “Vigilance You Can Afford.” Cameron and her quirky colleagues are hired by locals to perform tasks such as tracking down runaways, exposing cheating spouses, performing background checks…even catching thieves who are stealing campaign signs. Inevitably, those small problems morph into something much larger.
Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish is the first in the Macavity and Me series. Italso has a female protagonist, Bryn Baczek, but in this instance she’s an amateur sleuth who lives on her sailboat in an urban marina with her cantankerous cat, Macavity. Her good friend, Logan, also lives on a sailboat in the marina. In Why Me? they work together to recover some missing research related to the illegal sale of human organs. The book was a semi-finalist in the Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem contest before it was published. The draft for the second in the series is tentatively titled Who Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite.
Finally, since moving to Vashon Island, I’ve written Bogged Down (A Vashon Island Mystery) that draws on Vashon Island’s unique setting and culture. Again, the main character is female, but she lacks the family ties that help define the daily lives of Cameron and Bryn. Instead, Lavender “Lew” Lewis is estranged from her mother, never knew her father, grew up on a commune in Alaska, joined the army at 17, does woods parkour for exercise and HR investigations to earn a living. Although I wrote this mystery as a “cozy,” it doesn’t quite meet the traditional cozy requirements. There isn’t any explicit violence or sex, but Lew is more flawed than most cozy protagonists, an occasional mild oath is uttered, and the community isn’t limited to a single location. I consider this book a cozy 2.0 and look forward to writing a second Vashon Island Mystery.
My plans for the future include writing, writing, and more writing. Now that I’ve started three series, I want to keep them going. And, hopefully readers will want me to.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart has a passion for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. Her first discount detective mystery, Survival Can Be Deadly, was a Foreward INDIES finalist. Why me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish was a semi-finalist for the Chanticleer Murder and Mayhem contest before it was published. She began her career in academia with a PhD in communications. Then, she and her husband decided to build a commercial boat and go fishing for salmon in Alaska. Currently she is the VP for Puget Sound Sisters in Crime and lives and writes on Vashon Island in Washington State’s Puget Sound. She spends time each day entertained by herons, seals, eagles and other wildlife.
Charlotte Stuart – social media
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