Everybody loved easygoing Ham Brocato, producer of the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. So how did he end up stabbed to death in his kitchen on the eve of the fest? New Orleans Homicide Detective Skip Langdon acquires a ready-made suspect list from the victim’s live-in lover, feisty and swiftly rising star Ti-Belle Thiebaud, and sets out to solve the murder. To complicate the case, the victim’s sixteen-year-old blues musician sister has disappeared, and Skip suspects that if the young woman isn’t the murderer, she’s in mortal danger from the person who is.
Skip doesn’t miss much as she probes the victim’s tangled relationships, including Ariel Bruge, Ham’s assistant, apparently a woman scorned; his father George, enmeshed with family members in a bitter disagreement over the family’s lucrative Po’ Boy chain; and Patty, the distraught stepmother.
With her long-distance love, Steve Steinman, and her gay landlord, Jimmy Dee, to assist her, Skip trails an elusive killer through a sweltering early summer in the steamy Big Easy, a lively blend of big city and gossipy small town, in a tale of southern kinships gone awry.
I first knew I wanted to be a writer at seven, knew it was mysteries I’d write at 12, was desperate to win the Edgar at 13, but became a journalist to…well…keep from starving till I had the courage to actually try it. I had a great time and learned more than ten colleges could have taught as a reporter for first the New Orleans Times-Picayune and later the San Francisco Chronicle. Finally, I wrote six or seven mysteries (I’ve lost count!) over a period of eight years, to absolutely no avail, and was about to give up when I made my first sale. DEATH TURNS A TRICK was my first published book, and the Rebecca Schwartz series was born. I later added a second San Francisco series, plus two in New Orleans, and guess what? My first New Orleans book, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar for Best Novel.
So some dreams come true! Boy, it was hard, and it took forever, but mine actually did. I’m still pinching myself. After wanting something so much and finally getting it, who would have thought I’d turn to something else after twenty-one books? (That’s right, twenty-one not counting a non-fiction one on writing itself. So, twenty-two, really.) My whole identity was writing. But along came ebooks! Suddenly a gigantic opportunity opened up. I realized I could be a publisher myself—I could help other people achieve their own dreams. I couldn’t help it, I got the publishing bug. Bad.
In 2010, I founded www.booksBnimble.com, a digital publishing company that focused at first on video-enhanced ebooks, but now not so much enhanced as just great quality—and, as you might imagine, with an emphasis on mysteries. So far, we’ve published eight authors (including me). It’s been a treat to learn to function in another whole world and it’s been incredibly rewarding to be able to help other writers, to bring back people’s backlists, and to discover new, exciting talent.
Check out some of our terrific authors–Patty Friedmann, Marika Christian, Tony Dunbar, Anneke Campbell, Whitney Stewart, and Lee Pryor. Coming soon: mystery authors Greg Herren, Liz Zelvin, Shelley Singer, and Mickey Friedman.