I'm happy to welcome Tyler Colins to the blog today. Tyler writes the Triple Threat Mystery Series. The Connecticut Corpse Caper is the first book in the series.
Kathy: The Connecticut Corpse Caper details the "antics of seven inheritance recipients during a week-long stay at a Connecticut estate". Have you ever had to meet unique requirements in order to get an inheritance?
TC: I’ve never even been in line for one! <LOL>
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
TC: I’ve been reading them for decades, but I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries. Cozies have always been appealing because of quaint locations/settings, intriguing characters with often fun careers (cooks, bakers, archeologists), and the non-graphic murder scenes. While I also read “hard-boiled” novels, there’s something to be said for the implicit, as opposed to the explicit.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TC: Women’s fiction is something I dabble with—“Odd Woman Out” can be found on Wattpad in weekly installments.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
TC: The Triple Threat Investigation Agency is about three (still fairly novice) private eyes living on Oahu, who become embroiled in cases that may be a bit more than they can (initially) handle. But ultimately, they always catch their man/woman . . . without too many snags.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TC: I have grown very fond of Reynalda Fonne-Werde; Rey is feisty and lippy, and believes anything is doable. She’s not scared to break and enter a place if the situation warrants it or face a villain with teeth bared. And even if it’s not always evident, she has a [big] heart.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
TC: Nancy Drew influenced me; I read (devoured) her mysteries and wanted to be like her. That desire never faded, as you can see.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TC: I’ve always wanted to be a published writer—the next “Carolyn Keene”. <LOL again> Publishing the traditional way—or finding an agent—is very difficult. I decided to try e-publishing. I can’t say I regret it.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
TC: Fabulous question! My favorite authors would be invited, of course: Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Harper Lee, Shakespeare!
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
TC: Reading is something there’s little time for these days. With a full-time job, taking care of Mom, and trying to get a blog up-and-running (never mind writing!), it’s extremely difficult to pick up a book. I do read the Bible a little every day and have a Jonathan Kellerman novel waiting.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TC: Writing, blogging, writing, blogging. J I do have a fascination for / love of Hawaii, am interested in spirituality, and am (still) attempting to develop as an individual.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TC: Cheese—shredded, Babybel, goat-milk Gouda, and curds, and any new type I may be tempted to try. (I can never get enough!)
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TC: I am working on “Forever Poi”, which is the fourth in the Triple Threat series. There are plans for a fifth and sixth. I’m rather fond of the Triple Threat trio, so I’m/we’re not ready to move on . . . yet. I also intend to complete “Odd Woman Out.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TC: The creative process—making characters and situations come alive. Watching the characters learn and grow . . . and seeing myself grow.
The Connecticut Corpse Caper
Dressed in black linen pants and a white silk shirt with a polka-dotted white and teal scarf, a gift from Aunt Mat several months back, I swung into the main dining room, Adwin not far behind. I wasn’t surprised to find the other gals wearing shirts and pants as well, in different shades of gray and brown, but I did raise a curious brow at the array of polka-dotted scarves. I’d not even have worn mine had it not been draped on the same hanger as my shirt, kind of like a prompt or Post-It note. This was becoming way too coincidental.
“Nice scarf. A gift from Aunt Mat?” I asked Rey flatly.
“Yeah. I forgot I had it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I forgot to bring it along.” She glanced down, bemused. “Because I forgot I even had it.”
The Sayers presented puckered brows while Linda, May-Lee, and I eyeballed each other’s neckwear.
“Soup’s on,” Adwin announced as Hubert limped in with a large white ceramic tureen and set it in the middle of the table. This time there were no bizarre dinner service motifs. A thick beige linen tablecloth and eggplant-colored napkins, and tall cream-colored candles adorned the table. It was all quite staid, which made me wonder what Mathilda Moone had in store for the evening (the others might lower their guards, but mine was on red alert).
“What the hell is this?” Rey asked, looking into the tureen.
“I believe it’s a pepper pot,” Percival replied cheerfully.
She peered closer. “What’s in it? I see mushrooms and veggies, but there’s lumpy meat-like stuff in here.”
“That would be tripe, dearie,” Prunella said with a smile as wry as her brother’s. “Dumplings and tripe.”
“Lovely,” Rey murmured, wrinkling her nose. She leaned toward Linda and quietly asked, “What the frig is tripe?”
“The lining of a bovine stomach.”
My cousin’s face took on a corpse-like hue.
Prunella inhaled deeply and said, “It smells absolutely divine.”
Hubert nodded and, as if on cue, began to serve.
Talk was limited as we dove into the pepper pot. Alright, maybe we didn’t exactly dive; we sniffed, tested gingerly, sniffed again, and then dove in. It was tasty . . . for bovine stomach lining.
“I won the bet,” Percival said after emptying his bowl. “I said soup.”
“You did,” Prunella nodded, “but this wasn’t mushroom soup per se. It merely had edible agaric in it.”
No one won the bet that evening. The pepper pot was followed by chicken schnitzels, spaetzle (Austrian noodle thingies) and creamed mushrooms. Dessert was a dense, spice-laden pumpkin pie -- and a very good one judging from the way Adwin’s lips curled upward between mouthfuls.
Later, after dinner and a few treks upstairs, we adjourned to the Drink & Death Room, as Linda called the drawing room. We were sipping mint tea and avoiding eye contact, ensconced in those little Zen zones we’d become quite familiar with in the last twenty-four hours, when ghost-like booing started to flow softly around us like milkweed filaments propelled by a westerly wind.
“How Abbott and Costello,” Linda commented.
“That explains why Jensen didn’t show up for dinner,” Percival said with a roll of his eyes, jerking a thumb upward. “He’s hovering near a vent, doing a Casper impression.”
“It’s kinda lame,” Rey sniffed, pouring more tea into her cup.
“Why don’t we sneak up on him and give him a scare?” Linda suggested, standing. “I don’t want him thinking he can get away with this all night.”
“If the lot of us ‘sneak up on him’, we’d hardly catch him unawares,” Prunella pointed out dully.
Rey threw back her tea. “Let’s give it a try. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We’ll get back at him with our original plan.”
“Never mind the fact there have to be hidden rooms and walkways in an old place like this,” Linda added with a nod.
“Let’s split up,” I proposed. “Rey and Linda can take the west wing. Adwin, you and I will take the east. Prunella and Percival could -- ”
High-pitched staccato laughter echoed throughout the dwelling.
Linda snorted. “Geez, now we’ve got freaking Fred Flintstone’s Uncle Giggles running amok.”
Percival looked blank, but Adwin and I laughed.
“Okay guys, let’s do as my cousin suggested and take different parts of the house,” Rey said, stepping past.
I grabbed her forearm. “Let’s not make too much noise. We want to surprise him.”
“How’re we going to see anything? We can’t exactly go turning on lights if we’re aiming for the element of surprise,” Adwin pointed out.
“Let me get those flashlights we put back in the pantry earlier.” Percival strolled from the room; a man with a target.