Rules of Writing

I sent an early crime novel to a publisher who had already published one of my novels, but she rejected it, saying that, in a mystery, the victim is only there to provide a puzzle for the reader. Therefore, I should bump somebody — anybody — off in the first few pages and devote the rest of the novel to the investigation whether it be by police detectives, a private detective, or an amateur sleuth. Carefully following her own advice, she rejected my mystery on the grounds that I didn’t murder anyone until just over a hundred pages into the story.

I felt bad, naturally, but at the same time, something in me rebelled. Over the years I had read a great many detective novels and mysteries, and, although at the moment, I couldn’t offer book and page number, I was pretty certain my publisher’s theory was in error. I was almost certain I had read many crime novels, be it private eye tales or police procedurals,  in which a murder didn’t occur until later in the book.

Okay, I got over it and moved on.  A bit later I  found a new publisher.

But the other day I chanced to pick up a tattered old novel by Ngaio Marsh, arguably one of the true queens of mystery fiction, and decided to read it. In this particular novel, “Tied up in Tinsel”, we don’t stumble across a body until page 242 in a book that has only 286 pages. Wow! Obviously, the editor who rejected my little novel also would have thrown Ms Marsh’s effort into the circular file and in her disgust, she might well have sent Ms Marsh a stern message about the way to write mysteries. Too bad for an editor who had made up her mind about what constitutes a mystery novel. But reading the book and remembering the editor’s remarks, the entire incident poured back into my mind and I got all wound up again.

All this the above is a prelude to my remarks that in novel writing, there are no rules. The very word novel conjures up images of something new and different. Now a mystery novel with no murder might not go over well with readers, starting with editors, but still it is legal. There’s no law that says you have to have a murder. A short story, maybe. Remember “The Purloined Letter” by Mr. Poe.

In “Vanity Fair”, Thackeray talks frankly, to his reader. He knows it’s just a story and he knows the reader knows it’s just a story, so tongue in cheek, he goes ahead and tells it, stepping in from time to time to remind us that, after all, it’s just a story.

Fowles puts himself right into the background of a novel while observing the proceedings and of course, in my favorite mystery novels, the narrator, the detective, tells his story as he remembers it. He’s just a reporter giving us, as Sgt. Friday would say, the facts. He’s not the real author of course, but we can suspend belief and assume that private eye Raymond Chandler is just calling himself Philip Marlowe to avoid being stalked by beautiful women with pearl-handled .25 automatics in their handbags.

In fact, being a very young reader when I began reading Marlowe novels, I was severely traumatized to learn one day that Mr. Chandler was in his sixties, meaning Marlowe was in his sixties. Philip Marlowe kicking butt in his sixties? To me, a kid of sixteen, I couldn’t believe anybody in his sixties was still able to walk, much less kick butt or write about the butts he kicked. And I felt very betrayed, almost the victim of a bad joke. But I was a vapid youth of sixteen. Maybe only fifteen.

Most people today lack the patience to wade through “Moby Dick”, but when it was written, I believe people liked a more leisurely novel, something they could spend hours, even days on. They wanted their money’s worth. Remember, at that time there wasn’t much else in the way of entertainment, at least not in that price range. But today what editor would accept a long tedious novel that stops cold, and before continuing, offers lengthy dissertations on whaling, or any other industry?

If there is anything to be gleaned from this little outburst, it is that as author, you are God. Rules, schmules, it’s your creation and you have the right to say anything you want to. Now if you step too far out of recognized lines, you may never find a publisher, but these days with the Internet and self-publishing opportunities being offered every time you log on, you can still get your stuff published.

Now, I don’t suggest you go too far off the grid if you hope to find a traditional publisher who is willing to take a chance on your work, but I do feel that, as the writer, you still have the right so say what you want to.

I should mention that what makes books  like Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Don Quixote, etc. isn’t always their construction, but their unforgettable characters. Remember that.

So the takeaway here is to write what you want to. Once you’ve written it, you might want to see how it compares with similar works. If you feel it’s a little outré in some respect or another, you might want to make a few changes. If you like it the way it is, submit it and see what comes out of that. BIG PUBLISHERS probably won’t look at your masterpiece no matter what it is, but there are a great many independent publishers now. Most of them are open to unpublished writers and if all of these reject your stuff, you may want to revisit the entire work and see what’s holding you back. If you do get feedback, by all means, listen to it. Listen to it, but you don’t have to do more than that. It’s up to you. You’re the writer.

In my case, hearing about the rule that the murder should happen on page three or thereabouts, I nevertheless stubbornly felt I was okay with what I had written and time has proven me to be correct, insofar that another publisher accepted Deadly Reception, and I haven’t had any complaints. So you just have to consider what you’ve written and if you firmly believe you’re right, then stick to it. Sooner or later you’ll connect with the right publisher and hopefully you’ll establish a good relationship.

One last thing that may give you solace: If and when you do get some BIG PUBLISHER to publish your book, you’ll have a very short window of opportunity. If sales after a couple of months or so aren’t what the publisher wants, off with your books head (or cover). It’s gone. Buried without any ceremony, and all you’ll have are the few copies sitting your shelf to remind you that you once had a book published. As an added humiliation, if you’re really unlucky, you may stumble across a few copies of your book in Big Lots or a 99c store but let’s hope that doesn’t happen to you.

If you allow them, most of the indies will keep your book on the Internet forever. You may not sell a lot of POD copies because of the cost, but your masterpiece can float around as an E-book on Kindle, Nook and so on forever and who knows? Maybe one day, like Van Gogh, you’ll be DISCOVERED! Hey, if Picasso and Warhol can be “discovered”, anything can happen.

Editor

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My Personal Twilight Zone

I think maybe I’m living in a Twilight Zone, or perhaps it just happens that in my house there’s a little tear in the curtain that separates my world from a parallel world that co-exists right where I stand.

I say this because to think otherwise might push me into the realm of ghosts and I don’t want to believe in ghosts. Why in the world would a ghost want to hang around here? Didn’t the former living person have enough trouble to contend with during his/her lifetime here? Sure, life has its moments, but it has plenty of bad moments and from all I’ve ever heard about people who have come back from near-death experiences, they didn’t want to come back. Whatever they thought they saw ahead was so much better that they practically forgot all about their former life in their eagerness to move on to the next level.

It’s not big things. I’ve never seen anyone being yanked out of my world or suddenly being thrust into it. It’s the subtle little things that keep you wondering whether you’re losing your mind, whether your mind’s playing tricks on you, or worse still, someone is playing tricks on you.

I normally have two long steel tongs I keep with kitchen spoons in a crock beside the range. One tong is quite old. I’ve had it for ages. Recently it disappeared. I looked and looked for it. I finally came to the dismal conclusion that it must have fallen into the wastebasket that stands near the range.

By now, that incident had nearly been forgotten, but yesterday I looked up on the hook where I keep strainers. I have several, but one in particular has a very fine mesh. I like to use it when straining broths that have fine herbs or seeds that might slip through.

To my amazement, the strainer was not there. I always keep it there. Well, accidents happen. I looked in cupboards, on shelves; in short I shook down the entire kitchen and no strainer.

I had to make myself a cup of coffee and go sit down for a while to recover from the disappointment at having lost my strainer.

After twenty minutes I came back into the kitchen prepared to go to plan B in the strainer business, but when I turned to look at the kitchen range…are you ready?

Yes. There in the crock by my range stood not one but two tongs. The old one that had been missing for a month was right there, shiny and clean and just waiting for me to spring into action.

That discovery was more traumatic than losing the strainer. And that gave pause for thought. In a Twilight Zone there may well be beings who like to ‘borrow’ things and then return the borrowed item in exchange for borrowing another.

We frequently get a loaf of fresh French bread for dinner and I save the leftover portion for stuffing. Recently I saved my first third loaf of this year. In the pantry I have a box for things like that. I placed the partial loaf there, waiting until I got some more bread and wanted to make a stuffing for chicken or pork chops.

The day before I had a good half of another loaf, so today I thought I’d tear both loaves into little pieces so they might dry better with the cheerful thought of having chicken with stuffing tomorrow (Sunday).

You guessed it. The piece of loaf in the box is not there. Believe me, nobody around this house is about to eat a piece of stale bread, especially when there is plenty of fresh bread on hand. Mice? I’ve never seen signs of one around the house.

Nobody I know would sneak in here and dig around in the pantry for a partial loaf of dry bread to steal. But a being from the Twilight Zone…ah, who knows what they might do? Maybe they just love stale bread. Maybe they intend to soak it and squeeze it through the strainer that’s missing. Maybe they use the strained bread to make bread paper. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but maybe that’s possible. Maybe I could get my next book printed on recycled bread.

This living in the Twilight Zone isn’t pretty, but sometimes there’s an upside to it. Once, with exactly one five dollar bill in my pocket, I felt drawn to a Salvation Army Santa. I placed the fiver in his pot and went on my way feeling quite noble although I really couldn’t spare the money.

Now this is where the good part of living in the Twilight Zone comes in. Before I got back home, I crossed the street and, just as I was about to step up onto the sidewalk, I glanced down, and there, lo and behold, lay a five dollar bill. “Cast your bread upon the waters…”

In all honesty, although I was really taken aback, I didn’t jump up and down and cry, “Thank you, Jesus!” but I did marvel at the vagaries of fate.

I know what you’re thinking: this guy likes to cook with wine.  Not really and not often. I’ll admit that maybe it’s all my imagination. Coincidence. Roll of the dice. Go ahead, say what you like, but nobody’s going to convince me I don’t live in a Twilight Zone.

A Section of River Road

Here’s a short excerpt from River Road:

Homicide Detective Hugh Rafferty stood in the center
of the kitchen holding Fido, his hefty black cat in his arms.
In dismay his sharp eyes roved over the disaster that
surrounded him.
A huge dark brown stain matted the filthy linoleum floor,
Cabinet doors sagged open, some broken, as was the
kitchen window. The oven door hung sideways and the
kitchen fanlight was hanging by one electric wire. Rafferty
wrinkled his nose at the familiar smell that permeated the
room.
Fido struggled to get down, but Rafferty held him fast.
“No no, Fido. You know you can’t be wandering around
crime scenes. Jesus…”
Jeff Malone, a husky man in his early forties stood in tshirt
and jeans holding a clipboard in one hand and a digital
camera in the other.
“Yeah Raf. Crime scene is right. This is about as bad as
it gets. The bastards that did this—” He broke off and
sucked in his breath. “I mean…this is sick, man.”
“I hear you,” Raf agreed. “Just when you think you’ve
seen it all.”
His eyes continued to rove about the kitchen. Cracked
tiles sullied the counters. Litter cluttered the counters and
the floor.
“But hey,” Raf went on, “look at the bright side, Jeff.
Somebody did us a favor. When we bring this puppy back
to life, she’ll be worth three hundred grand. Maybe a little
bit more.”
“Well, we’ve got our work cut out for us, Raf. But—you
know, only giving me a forty thousand dollar budget to
work with—this isn’t going to as easy as the last flip.
Besides, if you ask me, this was a poor time to be trying to
flip a house. This’s not like a couple of years ago.”
“You said that the last time, Jeff. In fact you always say
that. But somehow you always come through for me. And
we won’t be greedy. If we offer a good value, the right price,
somebody will buy. I —” He broke off to answer his ringing
cell phone. Still holding Fido firmly in his grasp, he fished
the phone from his side pocket. “Yeah. Yeah. Where? Jesus.
Yeah. Okay, I’m on my way.” He shoved the phone back
into his pocket.
Jeff stood patiently looking at his employer.
“Looks like my city needs me, Jeff. Crime never takes a
holiday. Well, you’ve got enough to start on. I’ll touch down
with you later.”
As Raf headed for the door, Jeff nodded and looked at
his clipboard. Raf turned suddenly back.
“Well, come on man. We’ve only got four weeks to flip
this puppy.” He looked down into Fido’s yellow eyes.
“Come on, Partner. We’ve got us a homicide to investigate.”
“Yeh,” Jeff came back, “and you need a new hat.”
Raf pulled off his ragged and stained straw hat to reveal
a thick mass of uncombed red hair. He looked fondly at the hat.
“Hey, I’m sensitive about this hat. This is my lucky hat. I
wouldn’t trade it for two new ones.” He slapped the hat
back onto his head. “Now get busy.”
***
Raf pulled his Ford off onto the right embankment of
River Road, opposite the small army of other vehicles,
including two television vans.
Raf sighed and grabbed Fido up in his arms. “Come on
big boy. We’ve got work to do.”
The day was warm but hazy and the tree line that edged
down toward the river looked slightly fuzzy. Carrying Fido
in his arms, Raf crossed the roadway.
A uniformed officer snapped his notebook shut as Raf
approached.
“Looks like you and your partner there have
another nasty one on your hands, Raf.”
“Gee, thanks, Jason. Just what I needed. “You know Fido
can’t stand the sight of blood.”
Jason laughed. “Sorry about that. Tell him to look the
other way. Here’s the deal: The girl was apparently riding
her bicycle in the rain along the road here.” He waved out
toward the roadway, dry now on this warm day. “Evidently
her bike was struck from behind by a vehicle, throwing
her off. But her body turned up down below there, under
a tree.” He waved his arm downward in the direction of
the river. “We don’t think the force of the blow threw her that
far, not by a long shot. Somebody got her down there one way or
another and smashed her head in with a rock.”
Raf’s face sobered. He set Fido on the ground and pushed
back his straw porkpie hat, allowing his tumbled red hair
to fly out. “Sexual assault?”
“Medical Examiner thinks so. Her shorts and panties are lying
by the body.”
“Oh boy…well, come on, Fido.”
Closely followed by Fido, Raf struggled to maintain his
balance as he slip-slid down through the wet grass and
gravel to the huddled corpse.

And we haven’t yet met Lucretia St. James, the medium.

River Road from http://www.writewordsinc.com and most sites.

Manic Readers Blog

Ivy D. Truitt was kind enough to publish this guest blog on Manic Readers http://www.manicreaders.com and I’m adding it here today. (With of course, a few subtle changes. Like most writers, I can’t even write a grocery list without several revisions and I’m still never satisfied).

I’d like to submit a few syllables on the subject of using real events and/or people in fiction as opposed to creating everything out of thin air.

Just recently I read a blog that discussed this subject and it reminded me that not too many years ago I was having difficulty with this very thing.

For a long time I had it in my dense little head that fiction, by definition, should be fiction. I strove for that to no avail. Sometimes I realized I was “borrowing” from remembered events and/or characters, etc., and worried that I might be cheating.

Eventually, reading other writers, and reading about other writers, I learned that most, if not all of them, habitually mine their memories for real-life events and people, not only to inspire them, but to give their work color and texture. Someone said of Roald Dahl to be careful what you say around him because it’ll turn up in his next book.

There is the roman à clef of course, and we know some novels are actually thinly disguised autobiographies. But most novels don’t really fall into that category — however, I think that, if a novel is properly written, the reader has an excuse for believing the work actually to be autobiographical “because it’s so real. A person couldn’t just make this stuff up.”

When I was young and innocent I discovered Raymond Chandler’s famous detective Philip Marlowe. I was entranced and, in my mind Philip Marlowe was really Raymond Chandler using a fictitious name. I imagined him to be a robust fellow about thirty years old with plenty of attitude. When I found out Mr. Chandler was in reality a rather dignified pipe-smoking university educated sixty-something year-old gentleman, and the only iron he ever packed was probably a nine-iron, I felt really deceived. Okay, I got over that. The man was writing fiction. But his locales, his characters, all were so real that it read like fact. Real places, real people. And of course that’s what fiction should do: read as a believable factual account.

In a movie or on TV, if we catch a glimpse of a mike or even its shadow, we’re jerked right out of “reality” into the realization that we’re watching a movie. If we’re reading a novel and the bad guy puts a silencer on his revolver, same thing. We know people don’t use silencers on revolvers. Every aspect from locale to characters to all the little incidentals that enter into the story have to be accurate and believable. As the author, you’re God. This is a world you’ve created and you’re supposed to know everything, at least about the story you’re telling.

I’m often inspired by real events. Maybe I see that an employee of a convenience store was killed. A robbery gone bad? Normally that’s pretty straight forward. But what if robbery wasn’t the motive, but revenge, or the work of a religious fanatic, a jealous lover, a case of mistaken identity, a stray bullet from the street, and so on. That could be the start of a book right there. In short, my favorite tool in writing is: “What If?”

I can’t help including little habits I’ve seen in real characters. In one book I’ve got a guy who says “basically” in almost every sentence. That came from a man I worked for as a kid. There are people who constantly belch at ‘leventy-five decibels. People who constantly wink or blink or yawn a great deal. There are people who turn everything a person says into a double-entendre in some way or another, people who constantly fiddle with their hair. Women who flirt to cover their insecurities and men who talk tough to hide theirs….

Sometimes, like Raymond Chandler, I name a real city with real street names and locales, and sometimes I make the city up, or simply don’t mention it by name, but, I still use a real background from somewhere in my memory, be it a house, a bedroom, a store or a train. I find I can give the entire scene a lot more realism if I clearly see the surroundings myself. Any names are of course changed to protect the innocent — or guilty — as the case may be. In my latest effort, The Sand Bluff Murders, I use both. Sand Bluff is a tiny town that was bypassed by the freeway I-5 in California. The town is fictitious, but in describing it, I have plenty of tiny towns to draw upon. And at the same time, real towns like Redding, Sacramento, Beverly Hills and San Francisco enter into the tale.

Recycling isn’t a new idea at all. How many times has Cinderella been recycled over the years and continues to be recycled today? People used to laugh at “Mr. Television” Milton Berle because of the running joke that he stole all his material. The truth is that comedians constantly recycle the same old jokes over and over; they just make a little change here, a little change there, and bingo! a new joke.

Only the other day I caught myself doing the same thing. My wife and I were talking about genealogy and I said I thought I might have a little Pawnee in my blood. She asked why and I said because my grandmother used to tell me stories about all the wonderful experiences she had with the Indians when she came across in a covered wagon. That literally popped out of my mouth. I thought, where did that come from? But then I remembered. Once — many years ago — on a game show, Peter Marshall suggested Priscilla Mullins and John Alden had some six million descendents in the United States. Immediately the late Paul Lynde burst out: “Wow! Priscilla really did come across on the Mayflower.”

I’d better stop while I’m ahead, but let me just repeat, a writer shouldn’t hesitate to use real-life experiences and real people in books or stories. A little change here and a little change there and nobody can prove a thing.

If you find anything in these comments that may help, you’ll make my day. Good reading and good writing!

Tape Review

Here’s an encouraging review of my sticky mystery, Tape
Title: Tape
Author: C. M. Albrecht
Publisher: http://www.writewordsinc.com Cambridge Books
ISBN: 1-59431-910-3 or 978-1-59431-910-5
Genre: Mystery

Cover Art by Shelley Rodgerson

A collection of strange characters will make you smile as you follow their movements. A man who finds detecting so interesting he sets up an agency in partnership with a girl covered in tattoos. The agency is located in her father’s garage, but they have to move when he gets a car.

A serial killer gets out of prison and the hunt is on when he returns to his old habits. A missing grandfather brings the erstwhile detecting pair their first client who has the habit of taping everything. This killer also brings a cop known as “The Hat’ into their lives.

This is a tale with twists you won’t expect as the talented author, C. M Albrecht, plants red herrings to keep you following trails that lead you in circles.

Recommended for the mystery fan who enjoys new sleuths and unusual characters. Enjoy.

Anne K. Edwards
The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

Review of The Sand Bluff Murders

Here’s a neat review from Café Reads, Where books and beans are celebrated,
http:/cafereads.blogspot.uk

TUESDAY, JULY 31, 2012
Special Blend: The Sand Bluff Murders

Rating: 8/10 in Mystery/Thriller

Summary: “Newly hired officer Jonas McCleary is into his third day on the job in the tiny town of Sand Bluff —and Sand Bluff has its first murder in twenty years. Before Jonas can begin to get his feet wet, local hottie Twyla Peters is found murdered…Now, faced with two seemingly unconnected murders, McCleary is really put to the test. But the worst isn’t over.”
Provided by author

Published: Cambridge Books, 2012 (soon to be published)

Where I got it: sent to me in PDF form

More information: http://www.writewordsinc.com/

Review:
With a touch of humor and romance, The Sand Bluff Murders throws a likeable lead into a chaotic and intriguing mystery plot. As the mystery unravels, the first-person narration forges an important bond between reader and lead character, whose wit and sarcasm endear him to the reader. The writing is polished and practical. What really grabbed me was the dialogue, which captures the essence of a conversation without insulting the readers’ intelligence. Albrecht shows his skill and precision as an author when he summarizes the protagonist’s back story later in the book, rather than pummeling the reader upfront with a lengthy biography. I was also impressed with Albrecht’s pacing and chapter breaks. Albrecht clearly understands the mystery genre and has assembled his suspects, alibis and intrigues accordingly.

On the flip-side, I would have liked to see the book open in media res. Also, as a matter of personal taste, I thought some emotional stakes for the lead would have given the reader a more holistic view of his character. At times, the lead’s sarcasm makes him sound immature and less believable as a law enforcement officer, much less a detective. Some of the suspects are also underdeveloped as characters, but this is not a capital offense in mystery novels, since they are typically plot-driven.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Albrecht has the potential to become a successful mystery writer, and The Sand Bluff Murders–with its witty narration, charming protagonist and solid mystery plot–is definitely worth the read.

Author’s Note: Clinically proven to be more effective than the other leading novels.

The Detective/Writer Type

So what about me? 

I’m me.  I’m a private eye. I work alone.

I wear a fedora and a trench coat even when it’s a hundred and five in Sacramento.  I pack an 11mm Marley I bought at the Archie Goodwin estate sale.  I know which end the slugs come out of.  But 11mm slugs?  Hard to come by these days. People say I’ve got attitude.  Attitude they don’t like.  I get that a lot. 

The cops and me? We work toward the same end, but we’re like water and electricity. They think I cramp their style. They hate that  I don’t have to play by their rules. I usually end up  needing a lawyer.  The last one I had fell off the back of an ambulanceful of mesothelioma patients and got run over by a speeding Cooper. 

I’m alone and  on my own.  It’s a mean life.  I’m used to it.

When my casebook’s empty— and it’s empty a lot—I write books. Crime books.

Okay, really, I’m not at all like that.  I’m just a mild-mannered fellow who loves mysteries and detectives (public and private alike). I sit at my desk and drink coffee, piddle around on the computer and daydream. Marley? What’s a Marley? I’ve never seen one. I don’t even think there is such a thing. I think Archie just made the name up along with the Heron he used to drive.

I’ve never gone strapped anyway (except for cash), and I’ve never shot anybody and nobody’s ever shot me. My wife got shot at once, but that’s another story. I’ve been happily married to the beautiful Irma since 1967.  While my head’s in the clouds, she helps keep my feet on the ground.  That ain’t easy.

I’m sure people in law enforcement snort at boo-boos they run across in crime fiction.  They may think writers are stupid or simply ignorant.  FYI we may or may not know what we’re writing about, but in writing there’s a loophole that covers this.  It’s called poetic license. It’s legal. 

I like murder mysteries, «romans durs» and «romans noirs». A couple of my books are not only murder mysteries, but fall under those classifications as well.  My stuff isn’t as hard-boiled as the first “me” above, but it’s not as soft and sweet as the second “me”, the guy who sits at the computer and day-dreams. It falls somewhere in between. I try not to get fancy. I like to keep my writing realistic and the story lines believable and plausible.  Just saw a film where the guy learns to his regret that he’s used all the slugs in his automatic. We “pros” of course know that the slide would have stayed back after his last round and even a real dummy would have realized his weapon was dry. But hey, that’s Hollywood. I don’t want to go Hollywood (unless they call me.)

I have a wonderful publisher, Arline Chase, and an equally wonderful editor, Shelley Rodgerson (who’s a whiz at creating neat covers as well!)

Check these efforts out right now for some easy reading:

The Music Series: “Music”, “Evidence”, “Still Life with Music”

“The Little Mornings”

“Marta’s Place”

“Deadly Reception”

“Tape”

“River Road”

“The Albemarle Affair”

Cambridge Books www.writewordsinc.com and at all the very finest sites.

The Albemarle Affair

Stop the presses! Alert the Media!

My latest mystery is here! 

Young couple Keely Foster and Parker Hall have just opened their very own detective agency. Almost immediately they get a visitor.

Corky Middleton is a seventeen-year old woman who knows she was adopted. Her mother died in childbirth.

Until now Corky has been satisfied with this, and life with her adoptive and loving parents. But….

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Corky notices a woman who keeps turning up, apparently watching Corky. Racking her brain to figure out why, Corky begins to wonder if, after all, her birth mother could be alive…and hanging around. When she runs into Foster & Hall, she thinks they may be able to help.

Sounds simple enough.

But the minute the detectives track down the elusive woman’s whereabouts, Parker stumbles upon a big problem. A dead man kind of problem.

But maybe this cloud has a silver lining. Due to the media publicity the agency gets a call from the Albemarle Department Stores.

Wow, Parker says. This could be their big break.

Hey, we all know life ain’t that simple.

Before they know it, the investigative team is involved in a mess that leaves them baffled and in  mortal danger. Nobody seems to be telling the truth either and nobody wants anything to do with them. Worse, nobody wants to pay them either!

Can Foster & Hall go back eighteen years and dig up the truth in this deceptive mystery? Watch for C. M. Albrecht’s latest novel, The Albemarle Affair, from Cambridge Books, www.writewordsinc.com

Available at Kindle, Nook and all fine booksellers.

ISBN 0-9706152-8-9.

Also available at Kindle, Nook and other outlets where only the finest books are sold.

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