Interview with vintage clothier and amateur sleuth, Ms. Charley Carpenter
- What is your favorite word? PARTY! With that I would have to add FAMILY. I love gathering people together. My father Bobby is in a wheelchair following a series of strokes, and every day with him is a victory. We don’t need a special occasion to raise a glass and toast to love and life. Luckily, our live-in caregiver, Lawrence, is a fantastic cook, as devoted to his culinary creations as he is to my dad.
- What is your least favorite word? UGLY. I have a vintage clothing shop, now expanded to include beautiful party dresses for special occasions. What goes better with a love of parties than dressing people up for one? It breaks my heart to hear young women look in the mirror and say that they are ugly or too fat or too dark or . . . Everyone is beautiful.
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? Before I dropped out of college to take care of my father, I studied design. There is something about dressing a woman and making her see how gorgeous she is that makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery. I’m also pretty good with a paintbrush—the walls and woodwork variety, NOT the canvas-suitable-for-framing kind.Although lately? I’ve begun dabbling in sleuthing a little bit. Blame my new boyfriend, Detective Marcus Trenault. We’ve discovered a shared passion for crime detection (and each other). I think the symmetry of solving a mystery plugs into the same brain cells as my love of fashion and design.
- What turns you off? Negative people just suck all the oxygen out of a room. If you’re having a bad time, keep it to yourself. Life is stressful enough without constantly pointing out what’s wrong. Count your blessings. Be grateful you had something to eat today, and someplace to sleep tonight.
- What is your favorite curse word? Want to hear a secret? I collect epithets. The more arcane, the better. Marc’s partner, Detective Paul Brixton, loves to exclaim “Dick’s Hatband!” What does that even mean? Lawrence’s favorite is “What in the Sea of Galilee . . .?” When the chips are down, I’m afraid I usually just default with “Shit”. It’s such a versatile word, useful as a noun, verb, adjective, whatever the situation calls for.If you come across any really juicy ones, send them my way?
- What sound or noise do you love? There is a lovely old church about a block from my shop, Old Hat. St. Paul’s Episcopal has a carillon that chimes the hour. At noon it also plays a song, usually a hymn. But occasionally they surprise and delight us with something secular. When the Buckeyes won the Cotton Bowl this past December, they played The Ohio State Fight Song. The idea that everyone is listening to the same rich, beautiful tones at the same time makes me feel even more connected to my beloved hometown.I’ve been looking into a cold case recently, a forty year old murder that was never solved. Something about those bells is niggling in the back of my mind . . .
- What sound or noise do you hate? On the OTHER side of Old Hat, across the street in fact, is the Oakwood Safety Building. Mounted on the roof is the Emergency Notification System, a siren the size of a refrigerator. When they test it at noon on the first Monday of every month, you cannot hear yourself think. Dogs howl, babies cry, your fillings rattle. If you’ve read about my little adventure involving the Book Club Murders, you’ll know that a serial killer tried to shoot me under cover of that horrific noise. Fortunately, I lived to party–and sleuth–another day.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Private Investigator. Didn’t even have to think about that one!
- What profession would you not like to do? I’m not particularly squeamish, but I know enough about myself to admit I’d be an epic fail at anything medical. I’ve staunched bullet and knife wounds without fainting, so maybe it’s the part where I’d have to hurt my patient—give them a shot, perform surgery, deliver difficult news—that gives me pause.
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? It’s about time, Charley Carpenter. Let’s get this party started!!
The Advice Column Murders: The Oakwood Mystery Series
3rd in Series
Alibi (April 3, 2018)
Print Length: 250 pages
What’s the couple next door really hiding? Vintage fashionista and amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter finds out in this engrossing cozy mystery from the USA Today bestselling author of The Book Club Murders.
In a small town like Oakwood, Ohio, everyone knows everyone else’s business—except for Charley Carpenter’s standoffish new neighbors, who tend to keep to themselves. But behind closed doors, Paxton Sharpe’s habit of screaming bloody murder at all hours of the day keeps Charley awake all night. Coupled with the stress of the increasingly delayed expansion of her shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the insomnia is driving Charley crazy. Her only distraction? The local paper’s irreverent new advice column, “Ask Jackie.”
Jackie’s biting commentary usually leaves Charley and her employees rolling on the floor, but her latest column is no laughing matter. An oddly phrased query hinting at a child in peril immediately puts Charley on high alert. After arriving home to a bloodcurdling scream next door, she follows the noise into the basement and makes a grisly discovery: the body of Judith Sharpe’s adult daughter.
With Detective Marcus Trenault off in Chicago, Charley decides to take matters into her own hands. Convinced that the murder is connected to the desperate plea for help in “Ask Jackie,” she embarks on a twisted investigation that has her keeping up with the Sharpes—before a killer strikes again.
About The Author
Leslie Nagel is a writer and teacher of writing at a local community college. Her debut novel, “The Book Club Murders”, is the first in the Oakwood Mystery Series. Leslie lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. After the written word, her passions include her husband, her son, and daughter, hiking, tennis and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.
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