Friday, November 25, 2022

"Death on a Deadline"

Joyce St. Anthony was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She is the author of the award winning Brewing Trouble mysteries set in Pittsburgh. A native Pittsburgher, she now lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband.

St. Anthony applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Death on a Deadline, the second Homefront News mystery, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Death on a Deadline:
She obviously hadn’t seen the same movie I had.

I told them what I knew so far. It wasn’t much, which was why I needed to go to the police department.

“Who would want to do something like that?” Mom asked. “That poor man. I feel terrible for Ava’s sister.”

“Freddie wasn’t very well liked,” I said.

“But he was a movie star,” Betty said. “No one kills a movie star.”

“Apparently someone did,” Sylvia said.

“Will the fair still go on? And the bond rally?” Betty asked. “I hope so. I have a date, and I bought a new outfit for the occasion.”

“Probably,” I said. “Which means I’d better get moving so I can get my articles written and ready for tomorrow’s paper and get to the fair.”

Mom said she’d get Sylvia settled, so I retrieved my pocket­book and headed to see my future father-in-law.

* * *
Jimmy wasn’t at the front desk when I arrived at the police depart­ment. The door to the chief’s office was open, so I went around Jimmy’s desk and knocked on the doorframe. Dad looked up and motioned for me to come in.

“Are you all by yourself?” I asked.

He nodded. “Jimmy is helping Martha and that Davis fel­low with last-minute adjustments to the program since Harrison won’t be on the schedule now. Rally is out on patrol. How are you doing?”

I sat down and opened my notebook. “I’m fine. How did Angel take the news?”

“Not how I expected.”

“What did you expect?”
Page 69 gives a pretty good view into the book. It's split between two scenes--the end of one and the beginning of another. In the first part, my protagonist Irene is talking about the victim with her mother and two friends. The evening before, Irene found the body of B-movie actor, Freddie Harrison in the dunk tank at the county fair. Sylvia and Betty both work at the factory in town. Sylvia is savvy, with a bit of a background that helps Irene out later in the book. She's moving into one of the bedrooms in the house as a boarder to help Irene's mother with expenses while Irene's dad is overseas. Betty is a bit of a ditz and provides some comic relief through the series. It's a good glimpse into the characters.

In the second part, Irene goes to visit the police chief who is her future father-in-law. They work well together (most of the time!) sharing information about the investigation. The chief doesn't always like Irene getting involved and tries to protect her. Irene has a mind of her own, however, and he realizes this. This scene is just after he talks to the victim's wife, Angel, who is an actress and sister of Ava, who owns the beauty shop in town. If you read the book, you'll learn that Angel is a bit over-the-top dramatic.

This was fun, and I hope it entices readers to pick up the book!
Visit Joyce St. Anthony's website.

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--Marshal Zeringue