Thursday, December 20, 2018

"Death by Dragonfly"

Jane Tesh is a retired media specialist and pianist for the Andy Griffith Playhouse in Mt. Airy, NC, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Series, A Case of Imagination, A Hard Bargain, A Little Learning, A Bad Reputation, and Evil Turns, featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather. Stolen Hearts is the first in the Grace Street Mystery Series, featuring PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary Ingram, and Cam’s career-driven girlfriend, Ellin Belton, as well as an ever-changing assortment of Cam’s tenants. Mixed Signals is the second in the series, followed by Now You See It, Just You Wait, Baby, Take a Bow, and Death by Dragonfly.

Tesh applied the Page 69 Test to Death by Dragonfly and reported the following:
From page 69:
I did a little research on Lalique, as well, finding a photo of a surrealistic half woman half insect pin all blue and gold called “Dragonfly Woman,” that was exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exhibition, and another photo of an amazing gold and blue enamel necklace with a design of black swans. Lalique was also a success at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and designed stage jewelry for actress Sarah Bernhardt. In 1925, he designed the first car mascots—bouchons de radiateur—if you want to get fancy, for Citroen and made others for Bently, Bugatti, and Rolls Royce, to name a few. Besides the Large Dragonfly, “Libellule Grande,” Pierson’s treasure, there were twenty eight other designs, including a small dragonfly, a peacock head, an owl, a rooster, and the largest, called “Spirit of the Wind,” a woman’s head with stylized hair streaming back. I thought the Fury would look pretty spiffy with The Comet on the hood. The Guinea Hen, not so much. According to the article, the actual number of existing mascots wasn’t known and most were eagerly sought after and very rare. While the Eagle’s Head was infamous for being fitted on Nazi officers’ staff cars, there were no curses associated with any of the mascots.

By two o’clock, Camden was awake and feeling better. I waited while he put on his sneakers and we were off to tackle some snakes.
PI David Randall has been hired to find a stolen glass dragonfly made during the Art Nouveau Period by renowned artist, Rene Lalique. Earlier that day, the client, Leo Pierson, stopped by 302 Grace Street where Randall lives and has his agency’s office and mentioned that the dragonfly was cursed. During the visit, Pierson shook hands with Randall’s friend, Camden, who is psychic. Cam had a violent reaction to the handshake, seeing the dragonfly and other lost objects, but unable to see their location. This is the beginning of Cam’s downward spiral into an addiction to pills that cancel his visions. Randall will have his hands full trying to find Pierson’s treasures and trying to get Cam off the pills. As for the snakes, Cam’s wife, Ellin, eager to get some info on Matt Graber, a self-styled “cosmic healer” who wants to take over her Psychic Service Network, sends Randall and Cam to Graber’s studio. Part of Graber’s act includes two huge pythons, and they take an instant liking to Cam, who is terrified of snakes. Two more reasons to take pills. Two more headaches for Randall.
Learn more about the book and author at Jane Tesh's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Jane Tesh and Winkie.

--Marshal Zeringue