My name is MayBell Ferth, and the cute little ball of fluff and ‘tude sitting on my lap is Shakespeare… Shakes for short. Shakes is a Pomeranian, a.k.a. the Pomeranian Devil. He’s also my best friend and my accomplice in crime-fighting and other things.
I come from a family of cops. My dad, the Lieutenant, is a fearsome creature with a soft spot for Shakes that he tries to deny. My brother Argh is a detective. Argh got his weird nickname as a kid when he had to wear an eyepatch due to reoccurring eye infections. Argh and I have an older brother and sister who are also cops.
I’m pretty sure the very first Ferth to step off a ship onto terra firma in the New World was a cop of some sort. The Ferths have worn the impetus for protecting and serving as a badge of honor through countless generations.
I’m not a cop. And, I’ll bet you an entire box of caramel-filled chocolates that you’ve never heard of my job before.
I started out as a Community Theatre actor.
“Ha!” you say. You can almost taste those chocolates. I’m sorry to disappoint. I may have started out in the theatre, but I left that job behind because I couldn’t take all the drama. Wait…an actor who doesn’t like drama? Let me clarify.
I couldn’t take diva drama.
Which brings me to my current career as a Professional Mourner. Yep, that’s a real thing. I actually get paid to cry at funerals and play whatever role the client wishes me to play. Bereaved girlfriend, gloating college rival, conniving ex-partner. I’ve played them all.
I love my job, even though it has gotten me into a few “situations” since I started. I’ve bagged a murderer since taking my job at Exit Stage Left and almost gotten myself killed in the process.
But the situation I’m currently in isn’t due to my Professional Mourning job. I signed up for a role in a community theatre production for charity because the proceeds will be going to a really good cause. If I’d known I’d be working with one of the very divas who’d sent me sprinting from the stage in the first place, I might not have taken the role.
But I am, and I did.
Patrice Reynolds has been the bane of my existence since we both tried out for the same role in a high school production of Peter Pan. She’d shoved me down a short flight of stairs to keep me from getting the coveted role of Tinkerbell. Unfortunately for Patrice, we Ferths have excellent bones. I didn’t break a leg…euphemistically or otherwise.
And, I totally rocked the role of Tinkerbell.
Over the years, Patrice has schemed and lied, flinging self-respect to the winds in an effort to get one over on me, both professionally and personally. I’d thought I’d left her in my dust when I changed careers.
Then I found her dead body in the wings. I soon realized that made me the prime suspect since I was the only one in the theatre when I stumbled over her body.
Well…me and the shadowy figure I’d seen sprinting away through the cheap seats just before I found Patrice.
To make things worse, not only was Patrice dead but she’d clearly been murdered. No surprise at all to those of us who knew her.
Since Argh was the detective in charge of the case and I was the one to find her, with no witnesses to absolve me of the crime, I’ve also put my family in a terrible situation.
Enter the hero stage right. Okay, hero might be too strong a word. Eddie Deitz certainly looks the part, with his tousled black hair, smoldering gaze, and delectable…erm…flipside, but he’s no hero. He’s a private investigator. And since he was hired by the deceased to protect her much less delectable flipside from some unknown stalker, he’s surfing in the same shark-infested waters as I am.
So it looks like we’ll need to work together to figure out who killed the diva. With the help of a certain adorable Pom, potential assistance from my monosyllabic, dread-headed neighbor who lives in a medically-endorsed cannabis cloud, and an assist or two from the Lieutenant, whose involvement definitely nudges the line between ethical and not so much.
There’s a murder to be solved, and I’m going to solve it. I might not be a cop like the rest of my family, but I’ve got more detective than diva coursing through my veins.
Detective DNA wins out every time.