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ABOUT THE BOOK
Speaking Volumes, LLC
Paperback: 318 pages
November 30, 2017, $16.95
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: A Lizzie Stuart Mystery
When They Met, Murder Was Only the Beginning
African-American, 38, a crime historian, Lizzie Stuart has spent most of her life in Drucilla, Kentucky. When her grandmother dies, Lizzie decides it is time for a vacation. She joins her best friend, Tess, a travel writer, for a week in Cornwall, England, in the resort town of St. Regis. Lizzie finds her vacation anything but restful when she becomes an eyewitness to murder and the probable next victim.
GUEST POST BY THE AUTHOR
A Southern Sleuth
In Death’s Favorite Child, the first book in my Lizzie Stuart series, the year is 2000 (or thereabouts) and my protagonist Lizzie Stuart is at home in Drucilla, Kentucky. Except for her four years as an undergrad and the six years she spent getting her PhD, Lizzie has never lived anywhere else. She is 38, unmarried, and now on her own when her grandmother dies. In the next chapter, she leaves to join her best friend for a week’s vacation in Cornwall, England. But she will come home to Drucilla before moving to Gallagher, Virginia in the second book, A Dead Man’s Honor. Wherever Lizzie goes, the South is home.
The first five books my series are being reissued by a new publisher. As I work on the sixth book, that I have been wanting to write for a while, I’ve had time to think about why my sleuth is Southern. The obvious answer is that it’s because I am. I grew up in Danville, Virginia, and I’m a proud Virginia Tech Hokie. I left home for three years in the Army as a food inspector, and then grad school in New York.
When I started to write a mystery series, I wanted – needed – a sleuth who was a crime historian. That book, A Dead Man’s Honor, became the second book in the series. It was inspired by a real-life lynching incident that I fictionalized and turned into a murder mystery. I wanted a protagonist who had the cultural knowledge to understand what she was finding and to navigate her environment. Lizzie was born. She was in Kentucky because I once lived there as a young, assistant professor, and because I wanted her to arrive in my historic, college town as an outsider.
Time passes slowly in this series, and it is still 2004 in a short story I contributed to an anthology this summer. That works well because Lizzie (who is now both a professor at fictional Piedmont State University and the director of the school’s Institute for the Study of Southern Crime and Culture) lives in the recent past. The social issues she is concerned with look both backward and forward.
But she is not always in Gallagher. In You Should Have Died on Monday, she travels to Chicago, then back South to Wilmington, North Carolina and pre-Katrina New Orleans. In the fifth book, Forty Acres and a Soggy Grave, she goes with her fiancé, John Quinn, former military police officer and former Philadelphia homicide detective, to spend a weekend on Eastern Shore Virginia with his old West Point buddies and the women in their lives.
Giving Lizzie, an African American woman, a white suitor, eventually lover, wasn’t as radical as it might have been in the 1960s. It is an issue in the second book, a stumbling block in their tentative relationship, and it becomes an issue in the fifth book when she meets his best friend. This relationship between two such different people, with Quinn’s background even more complex than Lizzie first realizes, has an innate tension. But Lizzie and Quinn also have something in common – their shared sense of right and wrong. Race is less of issue than Quinn’s reluctance to communicate as readily as Lizzie does. She talks, he listens, she wants more.
I’m excited about Book Six, when Lizzie finally meets Quinn’s family. Meanwhile, back home in Gallagher, she is about to be drawn into another mystery that needs solving.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frankie Y. Bailey
Criminologist Frankie Bailey has five books and two published short stories in a mystery series featuring crime historian Lizzie Stuart. The Red Queen Dies, the first book in a near-future police procedural series featuring Detective Hannah McCabe, came out in September 2013. The second book in the series, What the Fly Saw came out in March 2015. Frankie is a former executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.
Website URL: www.frankieybailey.com
Amazon: Death’s Favorite Child
Amazon: What the Fly Saw