by Marilyn Meredith
& Marja McGraw
This week we have a review of Marja McGraw’s latest Bogey mystery Bogey’s Ace In The Hole, about a restaurant owner who is a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart. Marja also shares a guest post with us about how she created this character & at the end of this post are details on how to win a copy of the book & how to order a copy from Mysterious Galaxy and help support an indie bookstore, and KRL.
Bogey’s Ace in the Hole by Marja McGraw
Marja McGraw has outdone herself with this next adventure with Pamela and her husband, Chris, who is a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart. Of course their 40s themed restaurant is the setting for much of the goings-on. It all begins with three church ladies who need help finding their missing friend, Addie. It isn’t long before Pamela and her husband are sucked into a madcap mystery involving a hit man, a neighbor with his own problem and agenda, and wild car chases with the church ladies praying their way through the streets of Los Angeles. Things get downright dangerous for everyone including Pamela and Chris’ son Mikey. Highly recommended for all mystery lovers and especially those who love a cast of original characters and snappy dialogue.
The Bogey Man Mysteries
by Marja McGraw
Where did the Bogey Man come from? Who is this guy? I’ve had a number of people ask me how I came up with the concept for Chris Cross, better known as the Bogey Man.
I grew up watching old movies, and my favorites were mysteries. Watching Humphrey Bogart play the part of a P.I. was fascinating. He became the private investigator who could solve anything, get out of any fix, and decide if the femme fatale was legit or not – at least in my mind.
I was watching a Bogey movie one day and realized I wanted to create a 1940s P.I. The problem was I wanted him to solve mysteries today instead of in the World War II era. How could I possibly do that? What if there was a guy who looked just like Bogey; someone who walked and talked like him, and maybe even thought a little like his movie persona?
One of the problems was I didn’t want to put him in an office and make him a private investigator. So he became a mailman. He knew he resembled Bogart and used that to his advantage whenever possible. He’d watched all the old movies, too, and he wanted to play a part. He wanted to be a private investigator, no matter how I felt about it.
This is where the Sandi Webster Mysteries (my other series) comes in. I made him a character in a book called The Bogey Man. He was following Sandi, hoping to learn from her without her realizing it. Sandi, also a fan of old movies, caught glimpses of him and didn’t know what to think of this guy who looked and dressed like Bogey. When they finally confronted each other, after a murder at a costume party, she took him under her wing and showed him exactly why he wasn’t cut out for the job.
There was a peripheral character in the Sandi Webster books – a waitress named Pamela. Pamela was a young widowed mother raising a child by herself. She became a suspect in the murder, but I wanted more for her and Chris. So I created a romance. I wanted a happy ending for this hard-working single mother.
After the book came out I found that people really enjoyed the Bogey Man, so a spinoff series was born – The Bogey Man Mysteries.
I also enjoyed The Thin Man series and decided if that series of movies had continued, their son, Nicky, might have become involved in some of their cases. Maybe not, but that’s where I decided to head with the new series.
I wanted a family situation for Chris, so he and Pamela married, and Chris became Mikey’s stepfather. Mikey is a seven-year-old kid who loves his parents solving mysteries and who wants to become involved in one. That led to a problem I hadn’t anticipated. I didn’t want to put this child in danger, but I still wanted him sticking his nose where it didn’t always belong.
I didn’t have to worry. Readers said they wanted to see more of Mikey, along with Sherlock and Watson, two Yellow Labrador Retrievers. Pamela started out trying to present her Labs as well-behaved, perfect dogs. It doesn’t take long in the series for their true Lab personalities to make an appearance.
The Cross family has been a lot of fun to work with, although Chris is actually reluctant to solve mysteries after his experiences with Sandi Webster. He leaves his job as a mail carrier and he and Pamela open a forties-themed restaurant called Bogey Nights. When reopening at a new location after a fire at the original restaurant, their Labs discover a body buried in the basement since 1943. Chris is called on to solve the old murder by the victim’s family. Between the case he worked on with Sandi Webster and the case of the body in the basement, his reputation began to grow.
In Bogey’s Ace in the Hole, a gaggle of little old Church Ladies who attend church with Pamela ask him to find a missing friend. Not a churchgoer himself, he’s even more reluctant than usual because he just doesn’t “get” these women.
I’ve had to do a lot of research on the forties and Humphrey Bogart (in his movie roles) to keep this series going. Combining today with the 1940s has been challenging. Keeping a child in the mysteries without allowing him to be hurt has been even more challenging.
So if you’re looking for a unique series, something to hold your interest and occasionally attack your funny bone, give The Bogey Mysteries a try. You might end up wishing you lived next door to this unique family.
To enter to win a copy of Bogey’s Ace In The Hole, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Bogey”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 3, 2012. U.S. residents only.
Click here to order this book & you support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy, an indie bookstore: