I've gotten on typepad to blog about a murder mystery, one of my favorite genres. After all, it's so satisfying to put the puzzle pieces together, to see the bad guys get justice. So satisfying.
Do, please, however, grant me a small digression. I think it was God who said something like "thou shalt not kill."
Still, we put murderers on Death Row. Would it ever be permissible to add someone to that queue whose hypocrisy and cheating, lying, stealing stupidity have been so mammoth they helped create our present financial meltdown?
Republican Phil Gramm is one such deserving soul. He was forced to resign from his position as McCain's favorite economic advisor and campaign leader when he said "Americans are a nation of whiners."
But is that punishment enough for him? This is the very man, who, nearly eight years ago, in the middle of the night, stuck an amendment into pending legislation that removed the very same banking regulations that would have prevented the meltdown we are now facing? (Oh, and incidentally, exempted Enron from oversight too. Remember Enron?)
Mr. Gramm appears to believe in law and order, except when it comes to policing bankers or traders or rich people who contributed to his party. After all, five years later, these same ideologues against government regulation approved and Bush signed a new Bankruptcy law that tightened regulations on low and middle income taxpayers seeking bankruptcy protection, even though a third of bankruptcies are caused by medical emergencies. I guess they thought some people needed to be overseen but others didn't.
Anyhow, Gramm's venal stupidity has left the rest of us holding the bag while I'm betting his future is financially secure. He made a lot of money before Enron went down the tubes, even though Enron was another beneficiary of his 'keep the government out of the free market' midnight amendment.
Okay, sorry. I know this is supposed to be a blog about crime fiction, and I'm inserting fact into the blog, which is just a whole lot less fun. At least in fiction, the bad guys get punished.
And now to our book of the week! Titled perfectly, as it happens.
“Asking for Murder is a charming and sometimes gritty mystery with an appealing protagonist who sleuths, cooks and psychoanalyzes.”
Marilyn Dahl, Shelf-Awareness
Isleib's advice column series debuted in 2007 with DEADLY ADVICE and PREACHING TO THE CORPSE. A clinical psychologist, Isleib says the work of the detective in a mystery has quite a bit in common with long-term psychotherapy: Start with a problem, follow the threads looking for clues, and gradually fill in the big picture.
When Rebecca’s close friend and fellow therapist Annabelle Hart is found beaten and left for dead, Rebecca is determined to help search for answers. But this time, no one wants her help. Not Detective Meigs, who thinks the crime was either a botched robbery or the result of a relationship gone sour. And not Annabelle’s sister, who makes it clear that Rebecca isn’t welcome in family affairs.
The only place where her opinion matters is the therapist’s couch. Rebecca's agreed to see Annabelle’s patients while her friend is hospitalized, but it won’t be easy. Annabelle’s area of expertise is sandplay therapy, which Rebecca knows little about. While she studies the images in the patients’ sand trays and puzzles through Annabelle’s family secrets, another victim is murdered. With a killer on the loose, she can only hope the clues in the sand are buried within easy reach.
Isleib is the president of National Sisters in Crime and the past president of the New England chapter. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.
Here's our interview:
1. If I had to offer two bumper sticker explanations for my novel, they¹d
be ³Appearances are deceiving² and ³Mean people suck.² Tell me what your
slogans would be, and why.
"Life is short: Enjoy your meals!" That means load up on good fresh foods
but don't deprive yourself of something you love, like dessert. Make mine a
nice homemade sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Dr. Rebecca
Butterman has a great attitude about food--she loves to choose it and cook
it and share it. And I love to write about her cooking!
"You'd be surprised" Psychology and psychotherapy are all about being
surprised, and then being able to move on once you've sorted out those
surprises. Rebecca learns so much about her battered friend and herself
through the mysteries of sandplay therapy...
2. Your two favorite movies over the past twelve months and why?
JUNO: such a sweet story with wonderful acting and a satisfying surprise
TELL NO ONE: this is the French adaptation of Harlan Coben's novel--very,
very entertaining and loved the French setting and actors. I only had to
cover my eyes once...
3. What was the one thing you learned in getting your book published that
you were really surprised to find out?
I was surprised to find out about the "publishing machine" and how small the
chances are of producing a commercial bestseller. I've learned a lot about
balancing my efforts--promote as much as I can without taking too much time
away from writing--and from life! Wait, let's say I'm still learning...
4. If you had to pick one and only one condition (beyond computer or pen
and paper) that would allow you to write would it be: a. solitude b.
caffiene c. sleep d. food e. sex or f. ______.
It would have to be sleep. If I haven't slept, I can't do ANYTHING!
5. Do you have a favorite genre? If so, who are your three favorite
writers? If not, who are your three favorite writers and how have they
influenced your work?
I've been a mystery fan as long as I can remember, starting with the Bobbsey
Twins, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames...and I still read tons of
them. Some of my favorites these days are Julia Spencer-Fleming, CJ Box, and