In a fast-paced story of spies and murder, private detective Roger Bowman investigates the violent death of a Paraguayan agent in Cheltenham, England. The victim was stabbed while sitting in an empty railroad car on a siding in the local railroad station. Roger’s investigation initially takes him to Australia and Malaysia, but it soon becomes apparent that the answers he is seeking will be found back in Great Britain. Following the trail of clues, he meets an attractive agent with an agenda, as well as several additional spies of various nationalities with their own agendas. From a recent review on Amazon Kindle: “an intriguing mystery novel with a true international flavor” and “a fun afternoon read that feels like an exotic vacation enjoyed from the comfort of your favorite recliner”. Available in e-book and paperback formats and free from Kindle Unlimited.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult, YA
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The Roger and Suzanne series introduces readers to interesting places the author has visited or lived in. I spent a couple of weeks visiting Cheltenham in 2020 and thought then of what a good location it would be for a mystery novel. So the locale was part of the inspiration. I've visited Sydney, Australia, as well as Kuala Lampur and Penang, Malaysia, as a tourist and for business, so those locales fit nicely into the story as it evolved.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
All of the Roger and Suznne mysteries are written to be standalone books, but recurring characters appear in these novels. Several of the books, like this one, are set in exotic locales the author has visited or lived in. One-off characters are introduced as needed for the plot, and are often based on characteristics of real people the author met in that location. Other new characters, like "Shasta" in this book, are introduced because they have a specific skill set needed to advance the storyline. They may or may not eventually become series regulars.
I met Rigoberto three times, the first two pre-mortem. He was the guy pointing at the map. Rigoberto looked a lot like Pancho Villa. Unmistakably Hispanic, with a dark bushy mustache extending beyond his lips. The second fellow, standing by his left and leaning over the map to see it more closely, resembled the movie and cartoon character, Colonel Blimp. He was unmistakably British and taller than the Pancho Villa lookalike beside him, with a fastidiously tended dark mustache that was completely symmetrical and ended precisely at the corner of his lips. Overweight, with the florid complexion and broken veins of a heavy drinker, Blimp pointed at the area bounded by an irregular red line delineating its borders with Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. There were neither mountains nor coasts in the small landlocked country, which had been considerably larger with a Pacific coast until losing its entire western part in a major South American war more than a century ago.
Rigoberto was a senior espionage agent from Paraguay, semi-permanently stationed in Western Europe, here to keep an eye on the younger trainees to make sure they didn’t get into any trouble that might reflect badly on their country, and to help translate things from English to Spanish and vice versa if that became necessary. In my current identity as Steven Strasser I was posing as another senior spy from Paraguay also delegated to help out here if necessary. Rigoberto and I were supposed to be secret agents in the literal sense of the term, and I was more than a decade younger than Rigoberto, so it was plausible that we didn’t actually know one another.
Colonel Blimp, whose real name was Michael Mosley, pointed directly at Paraguay on the map and addressed the half-dozen other men in the room. “Take a good look, fellows. This is where our new guests come from. They’ll be spending several weeks here with us learning the ropes. I’d like to introduce you to one of them, Rigoberto Ramirez, the gentleman standing beside me here. He likes to be called ‘Berto’. His colleague, Steven Strasser, who is also joining us this morning, is the tall gentleman over by the coffeepot. Berto and Steven are both from Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay. The rest of our new trainees from Paraguay are scheduled to arrive tonight. They’ve been tasked by their government to acquire some of the capabilities we have here.”
All of this was happening at the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ or “the doughnut” to the locals in Cheltenham, England. The doughnut is headquarters for the British equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency, which deals with codes and cryptography, the internet, and interception of messages sent by spies and terrorists to one another. This was a huge building shaped like a doughnut, complete with the hole in the middle, which was supposed to be a secure courtyard where spies could talk freely without fear of being overheard during breaks from deskwork.
The author writes “tweener” mystery books (tough mystery stories that follow the cozy conventions of no graphic sex and no cussing), all published as e-books on Amazon Kindle, with the more recent novels also published as paperback versions. They are all fast moving and designed to entertain the reader. Several of the books introduce the readers to Latin America, a region where he has lived and worked that is a long way from home for most English speakers. Jerry selects the most interesting places, including the locale for the present novel, that he has lived in or visited for Roger and Suzanne to solve miscellaneous murders. Jerry and his wife Elaine breed, show, and hunt test prize-winning German shorthaired pointer dogs. Elaine also edits all of the books.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Buy A Train To Nowhere Print Edition at Amazon
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy A Train To Nowhere On Amazon
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