FEATURED AUTHOR: LIA FARRELL
ABOUT THE BOOKIt’s January in Rosedale, Tennessee, and Mae December is preparing for her March wedding to Sheriff Ben Bradley. Mae, who boards dogs for a living, is also busy tending to her pregnant dog and scouting locations for the movie featuring the music of her former fiancé Noah West, who died in a car accident four years earlier. Fortunately, the picturesque old house at the end of Little Chapel Road is for rent.
Just as filming is about to begin, a man is shot on the set, but manages to drive himself to the hospital, where he dies before he can ID his killer. He was a member of the film crew, but also a local, and circumstances point to his being a confidential informant for Ben’s predecessor, Sheriff Trey Cantrell, also the owner of the house turned movie set. At the time of the shooting, the victim had been stealing a large sum of money from a safe on the premises. Whose money is it, and where does it come from?
The Rosedale Sheriff’s Office not only has another murder case on its hands, but one that will dredge up a past long buried. How far will the guilty parties go to protect their secrets?
Title: Six Dogs ’til Sunday (A Mae December Mystery)
Author: Lia Farrell
Genre: Cozy Mystery, 6th in Series
Publisher: Camel Press , Paperback Release (March 1, 2018) Digital Release (February 15, 2018)
Paperback: 256 pages
Touring with: Great Escapes Book Tours
GUEST POST WITH LIA FARRELL
Transcript of Psychological Counseling session
Submitted by Dr. Robert Ingalls
Patient name: Wayne Nichols, Chief Detective, Rosedale Sheriff’s Office
Objective: Asked Detective Nichols to summarize his relationships with women—to understand what is preventing him from bonding to current live-in lover, Dr. Lucy Ingram & control his impulses toward violent behavior with men who abuse women.
Who was the first woman, other than your foster mother, you had feelings for?
Her name was Tiani. She was an Indian girl. She was working for the BIA, placing off-rez Indians, getting them housing and employment. She helped me get a job transporting patients at the hospital and al room at the YMCA.
What was she like?
She was slim with long dark hair, a bronze complexion and dark eyes. Very lovely. I was totally alone then, having run off from foster care at 17. No family or tribal connections. I was isolated and Tiani was the first person who reached out for me. She was mesmerizing.
Did the two of you have an intimate relationship?
Not really. Not that I didn’t try. God, I tried. We took walks outside as winter came on. She would let me kiss her. Once in a spare room in the office, I pulled up her shirt and touched her breasts but when I tried to go further, she would take my hands away. I thought she was my girlfriend, I believed she cared for me.
How did the relationship come to an end?
I went to the office one day in late winter. She wasn’t at her desk and when I asked where she was the girl asked how I knew Tiani. I said I was her boyfriend. ‘You’re not her boyfriend,’ the girl said. ‘She married her boyfriend last week. Expecting a baby by summer.’ I stumbled from the office, never returned.
That must have been pretty tough for you. What happened next in your romantic life?
I swore off women then. Left the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, went south. Took the police course, set my sights on becoming a detective. I listened in on their conversations, copied their mannerisms. I wanted to duck under the yellow tape at the crime scene, wear suits and ties instead of a uniform. Wanted in on their code-like conversations filled with acronyms, APB, GSW, LUD’s, and so on.”
But you asked about the next woman in my life. I was at a bar with one of the senior detectives one night. He said he was going to Madame Jeanne’s. He gave me her card. It took me months to get up the courage, but one night—blind with need—I did. Madame Jeanne had a big old Victorian house. She took me upstairs. I was trembling, watching her body ahead of me on the staircase. She led me into her office and asked me about my sexual preferences. I had to confess I’d never had a woman. We talked for an hour. When I left she told me I owed the house fifty dollars. I paid happily. She never touched me but I felt an enormous release. Walking home, my gratitude for her kindness overwhelmed me.
After that introduction I assume you routinely had sex with prostitutes?
Yes. Madame Jeanne first paired me with a woman who was nearly forty. Mary wasn’t terribly attractive and a little pudgy, but she was… a delight. Watching my face as she removed her clothes, she always laughed quietly to herself. She loved being desired. And I felt myself a man for the first time. She had a gift of connecting, listening, enjoying everything that came her way. I saw her on and off for ten years. Many of Jeanne’s employees married eventually as Mary did.
Were there others?
Yes, two or three. Not many. Always older women. Older for prostitutes that is. Afterwards Madame would say she had someone new for me. I always enjoyed them and was grateful. One of the oldest women in her house was nearly sixty. She commanded and charged $1000 a night. I couldn’t afford her but one of the officers I saw leaving the house told me she was worth every penny. Once I started on as a Detective in Rosedale, I stopped seeing prostitutes.
Why was that? Concern for your position?
Although prostitution is illegal in Tennessee, the world’s oldest profession usually operates under the radar of law enforcement.
It wasn’t concern for the social niceties. It was a girl named Nimmu. And then meeting Lucy.
What happened with Nimmu?
About six years ago, one night at the end of a vicious case that had wrecked my head, I went to the house. Didn’t make an appointment, just showed up. Madame Jeanne was exasperated with me. She said she didn’t have anyone for me, except Nimmu. I said she would be fine.
But she wasn’t?
She was only twenty, less than half my age. She had a halo of blonde curly hair, like a shaggy pony. It wasn’t her looks that put me off though, or her age really, it was that she had an air of listening for someone who wasn’t there. I wondered if she could be mildly schizophrenic or even deaf. I watched her take off her clothes. She removed them like a woman who was totally alone in a room. There was no sensuality, no acknowledgement I was even there. When she laid down on the bed and looked at me, I told her to get up. She started to cry, saying Madame Jeanne would be angry. I asked her what she charged and when she said twenty-five dollars, I was horrified she charged so little, valued herself so little. I went to see Madame. I was furious with her. ‘Nimmu does not belong here,’ I said.
‘Most clients like her quietness, her silent acquiescence,’ Jeanne said. ‘There are all kinds of men in the world you know, Detective.’
‘But then most men are idiots.’ I said.
She smiled at that. ‘Maybe not idiots, but you men are simple creatures.’
I asked her to find something else for Nimmu to do. ‘She could serve food or drink, do the shopping. Just find her something else. She’s wrong for this place, like a silent revolutionary waiting in her sleeper cell, listening for the call to arms. She’s not of our world.’
I went back once, five years later. Nimmu was working in the kitchen. Still listening. Still waiting.
Did she remember you?
No, of course she wouldn’t have.
But she was somehow important for you, wasn’t she? I believe Nimmu opened the door for Lucy to come into your life. How did the two of you meet?
I got called to bring a prisoner to the ER, he’d been shanked in the right upper arm. A piece of metal broke off on the nerve. He couldn’t raise his arm. The ER was a war zone that night, people screaming, gunshot victims. When Lucy walked in in her white coat she was smiling, her long brown hair curling on her shoulders. We could hear the siren of the ambulance arriving. ‘They’re playing my song,’ she said. She was fearless.
I was taken with how she related to my prisoner. Many of the health workers showed their distaste for prisoners in their non-verbal behavior. Not Lucy. She held Johnny’s left hand while she got his story, took the broken metal piece out of his right arm with surgical tweezers and checked the nerve function. I thanked her and took the prisoner out to the prison transport vehicle. I hesitated, standing in the dark rain, but finally walked back in and asked for Dr. Ingram. She came in with a worried look. ‘Is Johnny okay? Is there a problem?’ She had even remembered his name, you see.
‘No problem,’ I said. We just looked at each other. ‘I wondered if I could buy you a drink later.’
She gave me long look and then a slow smile. ‘I get off at midnight. O’Sullivans, down the street from the hospital.’
Do you love this woman, Detective?’
Yes. I think she knows without me saying the words.
I’m going to assign you a bit of homework. You need to tell her you love her. Perhaps like Nimmu, Lucy too is waiting. But I think she’s waiting for your words, your commitment.
Client whispered under his breath. ‘It’s time to man up.’
ABOUT THE AUTHORSLia Farrell was born in January of 2009, the brain-child/pen-name of a mother/daughter writing team. Lia’s first book, cozy mystery One Dog too Many, was released by Camel Press on November 15, 2013. It was, of course, instigated by a dog. Mom Lyn Farquhar and Daughter Lisa Fitzsimmons have been collaborating on the Mae December mystery series for four years.
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Lyn graduated from Okemos High School in Michigan and got her college and graduate degrees from Michigan State University. She has a master’s degree in English literature and a Ph.D. in Education, but has always maintained that she remained a student for such a long time only because it gave her an excuse to read. Lyn holds the rank of Professor of Medical Education at Michigan State University and has authored many journal articles, abstracts and research grants. Since her retirement from MSU to become a full-time writer, she has completed a Young Adult Fantasy trilogy called Tales of the Skygrass Kingdom. Volume I from the trilogy is entitled Journey to Maidenstone and is available at amazon.com. Lyn has two daughters and six stepchildren, nine granddaughters and three grandsons. She also has two extremely spoiled Welsh Corgi’s. Her hobby is interior design, and she claims she has the equivalent of a master’s degree from watching way too many decorating shows.
Lisa, with her husband and their two children, moved to North Carolina for three exciting years and then on to Tennessee, which she now calls home. She has enjoyed an eighteen-year career as a Muralist and Interior Designer in middle Tennessee but has always been interested in writing. Almost five years ago, Lisa and her mom, Lyn, began working on a writing project inspired by local events. The Mae December Mystery series was born.
Lisa, her husband, and their three dogs currently divide their time between beautiful Northern Michigan in the summertime and middle Tennessee the rest of the year. She and her husband feel very blessed that their “empty nest” in Tennessee is just a short distance from their oldest, who has a beautiful family of her own. Their youngest child has settled in Northern Michigan, close to their cabin there. Life is good.