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Harman Mysteries

Welcome to Reader’s Corner

Sponsored by Harman Mysteries

 

As mentioned on our Home Page, our purpose is to make both reading and writing enjoyable for people of all ages. Writer’s Forum addresses the writing portion of that goal and Reader’s Corner is obviously designed to encourage reading by making it fun.

 

Although our website is called Harman Mysteries and Louderback is a series where mysteries are solved, we do not want that to be the only genre considered. We are planning to start a reading group and hope that it will be something that as many of our visitors as possible have had a hand in shaping. We need to know what genres you’ve enjoyed and which ones you would like to explore in the future.

 

For this reason we hope that you will fill out and submit the form below. It is designed to give you the opportunity to tell us what types of books you like to read, even suggesting titles, and to tell us how you would like to see the discussion portion of the club handled.

 

We also want to have book reviews written by our visitors. To get us started we have decided to keep the field open. If you have read a book that you particularly enjoyed and would like to encourage others to read, please feel free to submit a review via an e-mail attachment. The rules are as follows:

 

The review must have your name and e-mail address in the upper right corner and the title of the book centered on the next line with the name of the author centered two lines under the title.

 

  1. All margins are to be 1 ½” and double spacing for the body of the review.
  2. The word count can be no more than 500. Put “Book Review” on the subject line, minus the quotation marks.
  3. In the body of the e-mail provide your name, e-mail address, the title of the book you’re reviewing and the author’s name.
  4. Attach a review using either .doc or .docx or .pdf format to the e-mail
  5. E-mail to readers@harmanmysteries.com and please allow two weeks for a response.

Be a Detective

Please Note: We have no desire to limit the genres considered to mysteries.  However, many do enjoy a good mystery and delight in trying to outwit the detective.  So, if we get sufficient response, this will be an ongoing feature.  In time we hope to have our own detective club where each member collects points for clues discovered, allowing them to move up the ranks from rookie to detective, then captain and chief.  Certificates will be issued accordingly.  This is the first mystery in the series and the rules are explained at the conclusion of the story.

 

LADY FONTAINE’S NECKLACE

 

“You certainly have a beautiful home, Lady Fontaine.”

 

“Thank you, Julia. It was built in 1806 and considered quite a mansion in those days, complete with all kinds of secret passages.”

 

“I think it still qualifies for a mansion,” Robert said, smirking. “I bet it even has lots of nook-and-cranny hiding places, too. And this thunderstorm. It’s the perfect setting for a crime, something like a theft of, say, that gaudy diamond necklace you’re wearing, or maybe even a murder.”

 

“Please excuse my nephew, Lady Fontaine,” Dean Worthington said. “I’m afraid he failed to grasp the manners I tried to teach him after my brother died. How he ever managed to convince this lovely, refined young woman to marry him is beyond me.”

 

“No need to apologize. He’s just like his father was.” Lady Fontaine fingered her necklace and smiled indulgently at Robert. 

 

Her elegant evening gown rustled and shimmered as she rose and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen. Shall we adjourn to the library for after-dinner drinks?”

 

She led her eleven guests into a room dominated by floor-to-ceiling bookcases. A massive marble fireplace was centered on the wall opposite the door, a cushioned window seat rested under a tall, six foot wide French-paned window on the wall to the left, and a highly polished mahogany desk sat angled in the corner to the right of the door. It was easy to imagine the late Lord Fontaine working at his desk while enjoying the beautiful view from the window and the warmth of the fireplace.

 

A serving table stood to the left of the door. A silver coffee server had been set on one end while an ice bucket and an admirable set of crystal decanters containing various libations were at the other end. Porcelain cups and saucers, nearly transparent in their delicacy, and an array of crystal glasses were artfully arranged between them. George, the butler, and his wife Isabel, served the guests.

 

At length, Lady Fontaine skillfully led her favored guests to the seating area, indicating the leather sofa for Dean and Robert while she and Julia sank into the matching chairs on either side of the fireplace.

 

“Ah, this feels good,” she said, slipping off her shoes and delicately adjusting her dress to conceal her bare feet. “I wish I were strong enough to ignore tradition and invite only those I like. These snobs are nothing more than freeloaders who acquired their fortunes by less-than-honest means. Steve and Linda Waters, stocks and bonds a.k.a. insider trading, Albert and Shirley Mason, sub-standard construction, Mitch and Betty Savors, rare gems a.k.a. smuggling, and last but not least, Les and Helen Anderson, real estate brokers, swooping down on the disadvantaged and all but stealing their property out from under them. As I said, nothing but a bunch of crooked freeloaders.”

 

“What a scandalous thing to say,” Robert said, faking shock. “Aren’t you afraid they’ll hear you?”

 

“Oh, I hope they do. They made sure I heard their comments about my only having two on staff and about this being the third time I’ve worn this gown.”

 

“Ah, one bit of rudeness deserves another.”

 

“Exactly, Robert.”

 

“Lady Fontaine, speaking of rudeness, may I inquire about your necklace?” Julia asked.

 

“Of course. It has twenty-one diamonds in all, ranging from one to five carats, each flawless. I suppose it is a bit gaudy but I don’t have many occasions to wear it since my dear husband passed away. That’s why I like to have small, formal dinner parties once in a while, even if it does mean inviting these freeloaders.”

 

“I don’t think it’s gaudy, I think it’s beautiful,” Julie said, smiling at Lady Fontaine with genuine affection.

 

“Does wearing it make your nervous, or is it the thunderstorm?” Robert asked.

 

“The thunderstorm. Why do you ask?”

 

“Because you grab it every time there’s a clap of thunder.”

 

“That’s enough, Robert,” Dean said, scowling at his nephew. “There’s no need to draw undue attention to her. Besides, it’s none of your business.”

 

“Sorry Uncle but I never have been one to mind my own business.”

 

A bolt of lightening flashed across the sky and the lights flickered, then went out as thunder rumbled through the house, vibrating its very foundations. After a flurry of activity, lanterns were located and lit.

 

“I’m sorry,” Lady Fontaine said. “The generator went out during the last storm and I haven’t had the opportunity to get it repaired.

 

“It’s quite alright, Elizabeth,” Dean said soothingly. 

 

“Your necklace,” Julia nearly screamed, leaning forward and pointing. “It’s gone!”

 

Lady Fontaine clutched at her throat and gasped.

 

“Don’t move,” Dean shouted as he jumped to his feet. “All of you, stay where you are. George, has anyone left this room?”

 

“No sir. Either my wife or I have been by this door the whole time.”

 

“Good. No one is to leave the room until a thorough search has been made, first of the room, then the guests, if necessary.”

 

A loud protest arose as George closed the door and blocked it with his impressive six-foot-six, two hundred and sixty pound muscular frame but when he planted his feet a shoulder’s width apart, folded his arms across his chest and fixed a defiant glare upon them, they took an involuntary step backward and fell silent.

 

“Would you prefer I call the police? I can oblige you,” Dean said. “The reporters would be more than happy to plaster your names and faces all over tomorrow’s paper. Can any of you withstand close scrutiny?” He looked at each guest in turn and enjoyed watching them squirm. “That’s what I thought. Now, let’s get on with it.”

 

After searching every inch of the room, including the ice buckets, each guest was searched and allowed to leave.

 

“I don’t understand,” Julia said. “The necklace has to be here, doesn’t it?”

 

“Not to worry. I’m sure it will be recovered without incident,” Dean said. “Robert, why don’t you and Julia head on home. I’ll stay with Lady Fontaine for a while.”

 

* * * * *

 

Two weeks later, Dean Worthington was seen escorting Lady Elizabeth Fontaine to a soiree. The famed diamond necklace accented her gown beautifully.

 

* * * * *

Now it’s your turn to play detective. You must determine who stole the necklace and why it wasn’t found during the search. The clues are all there. Extra points will be awarded to those who can also determine why they were stolen and why they were returned without incident.

 

E-mail your answers to readers@harmanmysteries.com with “Detective” in the Subject line, minus quotes. In the body, please provide your name, e-mail address, and you answers. Happy detecting!

 

The answers to the two main questions as well as the two bonus questions will be posted mid-January.  The clues that should lead to the solution will also be posted.  Again, happy detecting!

 

Meet the Adrietta Bay Critters

Molly aka Connie

This is, in reality, Molly.  She’s the first cat Arlene ever had that was all her own.  So it was only logical that she be given a prime spot in the Ted Peters Mystery series.  Her name was changed to Connie partly for storyline but also because that’s what writer’s do.  They take characters from real life and give them a different name and enough other differences to protect the innocent.  In this case, however, neither Molly nor Connie are innocent, not in the least.  Any who have owned cats, or rather been owned by them, will recognize this to be true.

 

Connie makes her appearance in Baptism by Fire, the first of the Ted Peters’ mysteries.  Ted comes from the poorest section of Chicago to a rather wealthy coastal community in northern California which is a real trial for him in itself.  Then his first case is the death of the richest man in the community, which he must solve while dealing with his own prejudices, associates that resent him, and the strain of becoming a pet owner, something he’s never been.  Yes, his first case truly is a “baptism by fire” and he wonders if he’ll survive.  We hope you’ll decide to order a copy a come along for the ride.

 

Now it’s time to introduce you to the other non-human inhabitants of Adrietta Bay who have added an extra flavor to the Ted Peters Mystery series.

Frazer

This is Fraser.  He belonged to Arlene’s sister and brother-in-law but sadly died of cancer.  However, he will live on in the Ted Peters Mystery series as Margo Fraser’s pet and work mascot.  Margo is the medical examiner for Adrietta Bay and Fraser comes to her as a puppy, just as he is in this picture.

 

 

Cricket

Cricket was Jack’s pet, the one and only one that he ever had in his life.  She was a runt that was going to be destroyed two days before Jack suggested going to the local animal shelter.  The two of them bonded immediately and it was beautiful to see.  As noted in Patches’ Pad, she died about six months before he did.  Jack consoled himself with the knowledge that he’d given her eight years of life that she most likely would not have had if he hadn’t rescued her.  She, like Fraser, will live on in Arlene’s mysteries series, a fact that brought Jack pleasure. 

 

She comes as an abandoned orphan to the Adrietta Bay Police Department, adopted by one of the desk sergeants.  She quickly becomes the mascot of the whole place, much to the chagrin of Capt. Thatcher Rhodes.  Fortunately for Cricket, he was quickly outvoted and many suspected that the Captain wasn’t really as put out about it as he pretended.  Most thought his objection came from the need to protect his image in case the lack of decorum became an issue, a development that was quite unlikely for an animal-oriented community like Adrietta Bay.

 

Percy - Potbelly PigBlossom - Potbelly Pig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now it’s time to meet some of the more unique members of Adrietta Bay.  May we please introduce Percy and Blossom, both potbelly pigs.  They are truly are gentle and intelligent, the latter quality sometimes leading to questionable behavior.  Percy figured how to get into a room he knew he wasn’t allowed to be in and the wrought quite a lot of havoc.  True to normal pet behavior, he showed neither remorse nor even embarrassment over his lapse in manners—not even when informed that he’d committed a major faux pas.

 

They are both introduced in the second Ted Peters Mystery, Logical Consequences, thanks to the kindness of Stacy, a legal secretary during work hours and housemate of Percy and Blossom the rest of the time.

 

Siegfried the Rabbit

Most of you will recognize this furry little critter as a rabbit but it is no ordinary rabbit.  It is another member of Stacy’s unusual household, Siegfried.  Surprisingly, he has absolutely no trouble getting along with Percy and Blossom, possibly because this generally amounts to staying out from under their feet.

 

The picture below shows Stacy feeding Blossom a banana and you can tell by the smile on her face that she thoroughly enjoys her unusual housemates and, if there actually was a community called Adrietta Bay, this foursome would fit right in with all the other inhabitants.

 

In Logical Consequences Percy, Blossom and Siegfried all belong to Gretchen Meier, a woman of German descent who has, after a fashion, adopted Ted Peters and proves to be a great help to him.  She is gentle with him but doesn’t beat around the bush as to what the basic cause of his problem is, no matter what the situation.  Is this always appreciated?  Well, those of you who are parents most likely know the answer to that and as for those of you who haven’t experienced parenthood only have to look as far as your own dealings with your parents to answer that question.

 

We hope you’ll order a copy of either Baptism by Fire or Logical Consequences, preferably in that order, to discover the unique world known as Adrietta Bay, California. 

Stacy and Blossom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a pet, whether from the past or present, that you would like to have included in a future Ted Peters Mystery, we would be happy to hear from you.  Please email us at readers@harmanmysteries.com and put “Pet” in the Subject line.

 

In the body of the e-mail, please provide your name, e-mail address, the name of your pet, and a brief explanation of why you feel he or she would be a good fit for Adrietta Bay.  A brief anecdote that could be used in the storyline would be appreciated.

 

However, we’re sure you can appreciate that both time and space are limited for us so please keep the anecdote to no more than 500 words, please.  It could be typed into the body of the e-mail or sent as an attachment.  Please include the best picture you have of your pet so we can add it to our posting on Reader’s Corner when the newest Ted Peters Mystery is published.

 

 

A Ted Peters Mystery

Currently there are two Ted Peters Mystery novels in print.  The first is Baptism by Fire and, sadly, the title has been misunderstood by some so let us take a moment to explain.  “Baptism by fire” is a phrase used to describe a difficult trial or situation that a person is enduring, something which could make or break the person experiencing it.  Hopefully it will refine the person, just as a literal fire refines and purifies precious metals, especially gold.  The question in such a situation always is whether the person will come out refined or will they be broken, unable to be molded into a better, more valuable person.  That is the question Ted Peters faces in his first experience with Adrietta Bay.

 

The second novel is entitled Logical Consequences and it is designed to be a stand-alone, so it isn’t necessary to read Baptism by Fire to enjoy the storyline and characters.  However, as with all novel series, it is usually more enjoyable if they are read in the order they were published.

 

The third Ted Peters Mystery is entitled Unfinished Business.  However, due to illnesses and deaths in the family of the author and within Gray Tiger Publishing, publication has been delayed.  It’s hoped that it will be available by the end of March.  We will keep you posted.

 

In the meantime, Arlene Harman is working on her fourth Ted Peters Mystery, To Kill a Fly.  If you would like to have your pet included in this novel, we will need to receive your submission no later than mid-February of 2015.  Please follow the guidelines given above in “Meet the Adrietta Bay Critters” article.  We hope to hear from you soon.

 

* * * * *

If you have any requests or suggestions for Readers Corner we would be happy to hear from you.  We are currently working on a form that will help facilitate this feature but we are in the process of rebulding this site so, until the form is completed, you may provide your insights by e-mailing us at readers@harmanmysteries.com.

 

We also welcome criticisms as we learn from those as well.  However, regardless of whether your comments are praise or otherwise, please remember that this is a PG-13 Website and phrase your comments accordingly.  Thank you for your cooperation.