Meet a P.I. whose past is catching up to him.
Brand new to Delia C. Pitts' Ross Agency mystery series is Murder My Past, which she reads to us on this episode. Delia's private investigator, SJ Rook, is catching up with his ex-wife, which can only lead to one thing: murder.
Harlem features largely in this series and as Delia mentions in our interview it's the perfect place to set a mystery series. A multi-cultural neighborhood that has seen lots of change over the years, and one that holds plenty of secrets.
You'll also hear Delia and I discuss the Crime Writers of Color website. On the books page you'll find new featured authors and new releases each week.
Today's show is supported by my patrons at Patreon. Thank you! When you become a patron for as little as $1 a month you receive a short mystery story each and every month. And the rewards for those who love mystery stories go up from there! Learn more and become a part of my community of readers at www.Patreon.com/alexandraamor
This week's mystery author
Delia C. Pitts is the author of the Ross Agency Mysteries, a contemporary noir private eye series. She is a former university administrator and U.S. diplomat. After working as a journalist, she earned a Ph.D in history from the University of Chicago.
The fifth novel in her series, Murder My Past, was published February 16, 2021. In addition to her mysteries, Delia has published short stories in several anthologies and in the Chicago Quarterly Review.
She and her husband live in central New Jersey, too far from their twin sons in Texas.
To learn more about Delia and all her books visit DeliaPitts.com
Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher, Android, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, and Spotify.
Excerpt from Murder My Past
“So, you clocked this Chuy. Three punches to the belly. He went down like a sack of onions, as I recall.”
“You recall correctly.” I tipped my glass at her.
“Hard to forget that fight. You were scary furious. Chuy was bigger than you. On the varsity wrestling team too. But you were mad as hornets in heat. Took him out quick and good.”
“You were impressed?”
“I was.” Annie squeezed her lids, then shook her head. “Day one of fall semester, I saw you in biology. I sat next to you at the lab bench.”
“Of course, SJ!” Laughter floated from her lips, tinkling and bright. “How do you think we ended up as lab partners?”
“You didn’t mind the anger?”
She twisted her lips to the side. “No. Not at first. I thought I could handle it. I was crushing hard on you.” She ducked her head, then picked at a salt crystal on the stem of her giant glass. “And I was so damn teen stupid.”
I puffed until bourbon rippled over the ice like uneasy memories. The present was safer ground, I could regain my balance there.
“Annie, I read you’re heading a multi-million-dollar operation. How do you do it? You look fresh as a baby in a cradle.” Laid on thick, south Texas cornpone slathered over the compliments. “You ought to bottle that care-free potion and sell it to these New York City women. Stress and distress are the name of the game. Up here, if you’re not anxious, you’re not really trying. That’s how they see it.”
She detected the BS. “Aw, poor thing! New York City ladies not treating you nice like you’re used to?” She tossed her head until the brown column of her neck shimmied with laughter.
“I’m doing all right in that department. Don’t worry your pretty little head.” Bravado rang stupid, but I tried it anyway. Thoughts of Brina jittered through my mind: her smiling face, her warm eyes, the intensity of her focus as we unraveled a puzzle together.
Annie’s brow lifted, satisfaction tilting her full lips. “You got yourself a fancy New York City girl, do you, SJ? Tell me about her.”
I hadn’t meant to mention Brina,