Single mom Cameron Chandler is an investigator with Pennywise Investigations, a discount detective agency conveniently located in a suburban shopping mall. She is approaching her office with a cup of Guatemalan dark roast in her hand when she hears a gunshot and sees a young man collapse just a few feet away. Chaos breaks out in the packed mall as people try to escape. Cameron runs over to the gunshot victim and kneels beside him, but before she can help, she is grabbed from behind and forcibly dragged toward a mall exit.
Charlotte Stuart recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest mystery, SHOPPING CAN BE DEADLY:
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
My goal is to satisfy a mystery reader’s desire for a complex puzzle with characters they want to invite into their home. My upbeat stories include quirky characters and humorous situations to provide a few smiles and laughs while readers try to unravel the mystery. In this particular book, the protagonist has to juggle family and work while becoming entangled in an international investigation. I would like readers to appreciate that life can be chaotic and humorous at the same time.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
Like so many young girls, I was a Nancy Drew fan. I also read all the Sherlock Holmes books. Although I’m currently an eclectic reader, I’m attracted to mysteries for the way they tease the mind of the reader with the puzzles they present, the variety of contexts and themes, and the fact that you can usually count on closure at the end.
Without spoilers, are there any genre conventions you wanted to upend or challenge with this book?
I’m often frustrated with the unrealistic responses main characters in mysteries have to danger and problem solving. I was therefore pleased when the Midwest Review said that my protagonist “…takes the time to consider and wonder about her choices, options, and their ultimate effects on those around her.” I always try to ground the actions of my characters in reality even though they encounter situations most of us will never experience.
Is there a question that you feel is important to you and/or your novel? Write it in below, but be sure to answer it too!
Q: Do you have the right to put others in danger because of your career choice?
A: As a single mother, my protagonist struggles constantly with this question. Being a PI can be dangerous. On the one hand, she knows that you can’t protect your family from every evil person out there, but at the same time, she is aware that her job is often a magnet for treachery and violence. As an author, I believe it’s necessary to address issues like this to keep my story grounded in reality.
In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart has a passion for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. She has three mystery series, all featuring female protagonists. Recently she received the Pinnacle Book Achievement award and won the Speak Up Talk Radio Firebird Book Award for humor. Charlotte has a PhD in communications and is the president of the Puget Sound Sisters in Crime.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.