While Fina and Denny are on their honeymoon … you got that right, Fina Fitzgibbons and Denny McDuffy are married. It happened suddenly one night. More on that later.
But while Fina’s away, someone has to manage Fina’s cleaning service as well as her detective agency. That someone is Lorraine McDuffy. You remember Lorraine—Denny McDuffy’s mother and sometime paralegal? Well, she’s worked for Fina in four books and has gained a load of experience. Now she’s a licensed PI and has spawned her own series.
While it’s her own series, Lorraine McDuffy’s mysteries takes place in the same Brooklyn neighborhoods as Fina’s do, and many of the same characters in Fina’s series appear in Lorraine’s. The working title of the first book is Death of a Brooklyn Landlord, and I’m almost finished with the first draft. The book should be out in a few months.
Here’s the synopsis:
An old flame, Frank Rizzo, calls Lorraine and asks for her help: he’s discovered a body in the back of his butcher shop. Lorraine, now a widow and managing the detective agency while Fina is away, discovers the victim is Viktor Charnov, high on the list of the worst Brooklyn landlords—Frank’s landlord. NYPD detectives, Jane and Willoughby, want to take Frank in for questioning, but his attorney Trisha Liam prevents it—for now. While Lorraine investigates the killing, she battles with Fina’s father, Paddy Fitzgibbons, and hunts for Viktor’s estranged wife, the mother of his ten-year-old son, Joey, while also searching for a missing teen with sinister connections to Viktor.
For what it’s worth, a fragment of a scene from the first draft. And remember, it’s the first unedited draft.
In the dark, his voice sounded sad.
He mumbled something she couldn’t understand. His face was so young looking, like the day they met. She reached out, tried to stop him from slipping away, but his suit fell apart at her touch and he disappeared.
In the background, an insistent ringing. Lorraine McDuffy sat up. She must have been dreaming.
Slowly she opened her eyes. Gray light filtered through the slats of her bedroom window, and she felt a chill. Too cold for April. She’d have to turn on the furnace herself—another unfamiliar task for her to master. She couldn’t keep calling the handyman to do it for her, not with what he charged. She was glad she had Fina’s detective agency to manage while her daughter-in-law was away. The work helped her forget about Robbie’s sudden death, the grimace on his face, the otherness of him in the casket. Besides, she wouldn’t have to rely on a fixed income to meet her growing expenses. After groping for her robe, she threw it on, picked up the receiver, and heard another voice.
This one was real. Familiar, warm, but she also detected a note of fear. It was the rogue himself, Frank Rizzo. He apologized for calling so early, stammered his condolences, and hesitated. “There’s a body in my back room. I need your help.”
“Call the police, Frank.”
“You don’t understand.”
Photo: Manhattan Bridge at Magic Hour from Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn. Credit: ChrisGoldNY (Flickr), Creative Commons.