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Monday, May 28, 2018

Author Guest Post - Catherine Dilts

Please welcome Catherine Dilts to the blog.  I have reviewed the first of her Rock Shop Mysteries (click here).  Today she shares a common main character type in mysteries.    

The Reluctant Amateur Sleuth

A beloved traditional protagonist in mystery fiction is the reluctant amateur sleuth. An ordinary citizen is thrown into the middle of a mystery, which he or she is then compelled to solve. From Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown to the current cozy novel, readers find the amateur sleuth appealing. We want to believe that anyone in the right (or wrong) circumstances will rise to the challenge of solving a crime in order to see justice served. Or perhaps to defend against landing on the receiving end of a killer’s wrath.

I enjoy reading reluctant amateur sleuth mysteries, so it was natural that I would write short stories and novels using this type of character. My Rock Shop Mystery series features Morgan Iverson, an empty nester in her late forties who develops a reputation for solving crimes. But the reader knows she could never find the killer without the assistance of the rock shop donkeys, Adelaide and Houdini.

Life hasn’t gone the way Morgan Iverson expected. A widow too young, her children have flown the nest, leaving her feeling irrelevant and alone. When her brother asks her to manage the family rock shop in the Colorado mountains for two weeks, she believes the temporary change of scene will do her good.

On day one of Stone Cold Dead, she learns her brother is not returning. On day two, while chasing the shop’s escape-artist donkeys, she finds a body on a trail. In the reluctant amateur sleuth story, the protagonist’s involvement in solving the crime has to make sense. Why does Morgan get involved? The killer thinks she witnessed the murder. If Morgan doesn’t solve the crime, she’ll become as extinct as the fossils lining the rock shop’s dusty shelves.

Solving a murder gives Morgan a reputation. In book two, Stone Cold Case, Morgan discovers skeletal remains in an abandoned prospector’s cabin. The local auto mechanic, a recovering alcoholic, recruits Morgan to solve the fifteen-year-old cold case of her daughter’s disappearance. Investigating reopens old wounds in the small mountain town that put Morgan in a killer’s crosshairs.

In book three of the Rock Shop Mystery series, Morgan’s

reclusive prospector neighbor is blown to bits.  The police believe he stumbled into his own trap, but his granddaughter claims he was murdered. She asks Morgan and newspaperman Kurt Willard to find his killer. Morgan resists the temptation to become involved, until it appears a thief is determined to steal the shop’s Triceratops brow horn. When alien hunters invade the rock shop, Morgan is glad to escape to a Denver mineral and fossil convention, until that adventure goes terribly wrong. Thinking the Triceratops fossil may hold the key to solving the prospector’s Stone Cold Blooded death, she steps into amateur sleuth mode once again.

What comes next for Morgan? Book four, Stone Cold Pressed, begins when a professor is murdered in the basement of Kurt’s newspaper. The citizens of Golden Springs and local Native American tribe members attempt to purchase a strip of old growth forest to protect a popular hiking trail jealously guarded by its owners. Morgan becomes involved when the fight over the land endangers her friend.

Lucy is training to run an Ultramarathon – a footrace distance beyond the 26.2 mile marathon distance – which takes her across the disputed land. When a seventy-year-old mystery collides with a modern day murder, Morgan and Kurt find themselves once again stepping into the role of amateur sleuth. Watch for Stone Cold Pressed later this year.

I am thrilled to participate in the series The Secrets of the Castelton Manor Library. I am hoping to learn the publication date soon for my installment, book 14, titled Ink or Swim. The series is available via subscription now. This series is similar to Nancy Drew, in that each book is written by a different author.

Faith Newberry is a little more eager to delve into mystery, but as an amateur sleuth, she always has a good reason to become involved. Her cat lives up to his namesake Watson, often revealing the solution to the crime.

The reluctant amateur sleuth is a popular character in mystery fiction. While we enjoy reading about private detectives and law enforcement personnel required by their professions to solve crimes, the amateur sleuth can feel more accessible to the reader. Maybe there’s a little of the amateur sleuth in us all!

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Thank you Mr. Dilts for joining us and sharing. 

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prince said...

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