Thank you, Shelley, for inviting me as a guest today. I am very excited to be here!
When I began writing Fillet of Murder, which features a fish and chips eatery in the Berkshires, I wanted readers to like my people . . . maybe even find a few of them quirky. Isn’t that one of the things we love about cozy characters? Since I grew up in the region where the series takes place, I scrolled my mind backward (okay . . . way, way backward) to my younger days, to some of the wonderful “characters” I was lucky enough to know.
I was seventeen when I first got a summer job at an old-style restaurant called The Willows (long gone, I’m afraid). The owner was a generous soul and one of the best cooks I’ve ever known. Throughout that entire summer I flipped burgers, made sub sandwiches, and washed a never-ending stream of dirty dishes and pans. I even scrubbed clam shells for the soon-to-be steamed clams, never realizing they were still alive until one of them snapped shut and sent my heart into overdrive!
That summer left me with so many treasured memories. I can still recall how appreciated the owner made me feel after working long hours in a kitchen cooled only by a table fan. She overpaid me and over-praised me—she was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. Those are the days I thought back to when I first began writing the Deep Fried series. I wanted Talia Marby, my main character, to have those same warm recollections of her first summer job. So I created Bea Lambert.
As characters go, Bea is one of my favorites. Picture a petite, sixtyish woman with springy black curls, leaf green eyes, and a darling British accent. Originally from the UK, her speech is populated with words like “luvvy” and “bloke” and “wanker.” Bea is the co-owner, with her hubby, of Lambert’s Fish & Chips—an eatery located in a cobblestoned shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.
Talia was a teenager when she got her first job at Lambert’s. Troubled by a rift between her mom and dad, she bonded with the childless Bea, and Lambert’s became her refuge. Even when she wasn’t working, Talia could often be found mulling over homework at one of the tables at the back of the restaurant. Bea couldn’t have loved Talia more if she’d been her own daughter.
Talia learned the fish and chips biz that summer, never dreaming she’d return there more than fifteen years later to help out Bea in a pinch. What she also never imagined was murder, right there in that charming plaza. When Bea is accused of murdering a fellow shopkeeper, Talia dives right in to rescue her friend from a certain stint in the pokey.
So tell me, do you have a story you’d like to share about your first summer job?
About the Author
Armed with a degree in Criminal Justice, Linda Reilly once contemplated a career in law enforcement. But life took a twist, and instead she found her niche in real estate closings and title examinations, where the dusty tomes in the Registry of Deeds enticed her into solving mysteries of a different sort. Linda now lives in New Hampshire with her husband, who affectionately calls her "Nose-in-a-Book." She loves solving mysteries of the cozy type. When she's not pounding away at her keyboard, she can usually be found prowling the shelves of a local bookstore or library.
Giveaway:Leave a comment talking about your first summer job. Leave an comment and email for a chance to win a copy of Fillet of Murder and a Deep Fried Mysteries tote bag Winner will be chosen on July 25th and will have three days to respond.