Socorro author launches cozy mystery series ‘The Accidental Detective’

Something Fishy in Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock

Forming a protagonist for a new series, Socorro author Kris Bock thought of intimate mysteries with older women as heroines.

The famous amateur detective of Agatha Christie, Miss Jane Marple and Jessica Fletcher in the TV detective series “Murder, She Wrote”, came to mind. These characters have the benefit of years of experience in detecting behavioral patterns to help them solve mysteries, Bock said.

And Bock is well versed in intimate mysteries involving women in their twenties and thirties who investigate small-town crimes while also managing craft stores. When they stumble over dead bodies in these novels, it seemed unrealistic to Bock.

She therefore created the character of Kate Tessler, an amateur detective belonging to an intermediate generation.

Bock said in a phone interview that she wanted “a woman who was my age – almost 50 – and had some life experience. Getting her to be 50 means I can address some of the things that women face in their 40s, for example, menopause and a body that doesn’t recover from injuries as quickly as it used to. … You don’t see a lot of women that age in many books, including mystery novels, as main characters,” she said.

Kris Bock

Kate makes her debut in “Something Shady at Sunshine Haven,” Bock’s debut opus just released in “The Accidental Detective Series.” The author describes it as a cozy-traditional mystery mix.

Sunshine Haven is a retirement home. House manager Heather Garcia remembers Kate from her high school days and knows that she is a seasoned journalist.

Heather invites Kate to investigate the deaths of two nursing home residents and the illness of a third, all of which occurred within weeks of each other.

Heather did not approach the police. She fears that if she does, word will spread and it could be financially detrimental to the operations of the care home.

“Even if these deaths were perfectly natural, the rumors would destroy us. I can’t do anything, but I can’t jeopardize the whole operation on some vague possibility either,” she told Kate.

At the end of the first chapter, Heather rhetorically asks Kate, “Am I paranoid or is someone killing my patients?”

Kate agrees to help. She organizes a “team” of family and friends. They listen, follow people, pursue leads, and report to Kate what they’ve discovered. Kate compiles a list of potential suspects, including some nursing home staff, residents’ families, and others. She is looking for motives and evidence.

The investigation places Kate in precarious situations. But she is genuinely concerned for the safety of her mother, a patient in the Alzheimer’s unit at the nursing home.

The novel opens with Kate coming home to her parents to recover from a serious leg injury sustained in a bombing in the Middle East. She now walks with a cane, although it barely slows her driving. Kate is tenacious, resilient and a risk taker.

“I made her a war correspondent so she would have fearlessness,” Bock said. “She’s faced a lot of danger in her life, so she’s not afraid to get involved (in investigating crimes). And because she’s a journalist, people come to her for help. ‘they have issues that they don’t want to take to the police or they think the police won’t take the issue seriously,’ said Bock, the character of Kate is inspired by two real-life female journalists. Kim Barker, main character in the 2016 biopic “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.” The other is Marie Colvin, who died covering the siege of Homs, Syria in 2012.

Bock wanted the series to be set in a big city so that there would be plenty of opportunity for mysteries to happen.

“I thought of Albuquerque. I chose Phoenix because it’s bigger and I could create a fictional city in greater Phoenix,” she said.

“Something Shady at Sunshine Haven,” like most intimate mysteries, has no sex, violence, or foul language. Bock also wrote sweet romances, mystery novels and adult thrillers.

Under her real name, Chris Eboch, she has written over 100 children’s books, mostly for educational publishers.

“I always do that. It’s fun work and I’m learning all kinds of different things,” she said.

His websites are krisbock.com and chriseboch.com.

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