The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Monday, December 23, 2013


Well, life with almost one of “Juliet’s” puppies.  Our newest dog pack member, Ries, is the grandson of Jolie, the model for “Juliet” in “The deadly Dog Show”.  He’s almost four months old (that milestone will happen on December 26th), and most certainly has a personality.  In fact his personality is bigger than he is at the moment.   The dog psychologists have defined a “fear period” from 8 to 18 weeks when the puppy will fear any bad experience he/she has for the rest of their lives.   As a breeder/owner, it’s our job to give the puppy as many different experiences as they can possibly handle during this period, and to make the experiences positive ones, to get the best possible temperament and self-confidence in the adult dog to come.  The human analogue of the “fear period” takes place when a child is 8-18 months old.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


            A very nice review of my newest book by a popular blogger just appeared.   Kathryn Svendsen, in her blog “Shelf Full of Books”, reviewed “Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne”. 
She gave this anthology a rating of 4 stars.

            “This is an anthology of 5 stories of shorter length from novelette length to short story. Each one is about Roger Bowman, a private detective, who once was a patent lawyer and a police detective. The first of the five stories The Empanada Affair takes places in Argentina. Three of the stories take place in Los Angeles and the fifth story “The Haunted Gymnasium” takes place in Fortaleza, Brazil. Most of the stories have some kind of connection to South America

Thursday, December 5, 2013


            The current Work In Progress reached a milestone.   The first draft of “The Origin of Murder” is complete, I’ve also completed the first round of edits, and a copy is currently being read by my wife with her trusty blue pen.   I like this new book, which started with rediscovering Elaine’s journal describing her impressions of what we saw when we took the cruise through the Galapagos Islands that Roger, Suzanne, and their entourage take in this current novel.   The plot evolved from the original idea (which is still the central theme of “Whydunit”), to a much more complex story as the peripheral characters began clamoring for enhanced identities and backstories.   “Whodunit” evolved with the novel.   Along the way I ended up doing a lot of research (I’d tell you about what, but that would be a spoiler) and learned a lot about [CENSORED] and [CENSORED].

Saturday, November 23, 2013


           It’s a strange and incomprehensible world out there when you start wondering how Amazon’s computer decides what category to put your new novel into.  Sometimes [cue the Rod Serling music], that pesky computer can do weird things.   Let me give you a couple of examples from real life.  Of course, this has implications on whether real book readers and buyers will find your book.

Because “The Deadly Dog Show” has a dog in it (actually, several dogs), the Amazon computer decided the right category for the book is “Mystery-Cozy-Animal”.   I wouldn’t describe my style as cozy---especially as we examine body count, violence, the slightly dark world things are happening in, and other parameters that make me call it “Hard-boiled” or “Noir”.   But what do I know?  The book is selling very well in the cozy category and there really haven’t been any serious complaints about the excessive violence for the genre.   Although a couple of reviews have mentioned one particular scene!

            "The Surreal Killer" is currently ranked #19 in Books > Travel > South America > Peru, and #27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Travel > Latin America > South America as I’m writing this paragraph.  It has consistently ranked high in both of these categories since it was first published 1.5 years ago.  What makes assignment of the book to these two categories worthy of note is that it’s a novel, as in a work of fiction.   I haven’t hid that fact from Amazon; in fact I emphasized it in my selection of categories and keywords.   There’s that Amazon computer overruling the author again.  

            Does it matter?   It probably does not in the cosmic scheme of things.  But maybe it does, and it seemed a fun thing to highlight for this week’s post?   Does anyone else have some strangeness by the Amazon computer to share?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


            Amazon KDP recently announced a new book promotion opportunity.  For up to seven days you can reduce the price on your KDP entry to any amount you want on any kind of staggered schedule you might care to try.   The incentives are (1) there’s a special promotional page on Amazon where your book is announced as a participant, and (2) you get the full 70% royalty on sales, even if the price is below the normal threshold for the 70% royalty.   It seemed a fun thing to try---the worst-case scenario was nobody would be interested in a book I put on this promotion.   That would have been OK, as I chose a book with low sales at this time but one that is an excellent entry point into my series because it features pretty much all of the recurring characters in five shorter stories.

            The new promotion started on a curious date, 11/12/13.   I announced the promotional price, $0.99, a substantial reduction from the normal price of $2.99 for this novel-length anthology, on a couple of dozen Facebook sites and on my own Facebook page.   The promotion was set to run for seven days, through the 18th. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Today's guest blog is by Henry Forman, who has just published a new mystery novel I think many of you might enjoy reading.   Henry's plot dramatizes a real issue in contemporary scientific research, so there's some real food for thought in this novel.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Starts tomorrow!  Special Promotional Price on Amazon KDP ---Nov. 12-17, 2013.  Thousands of readers have enjoyed a series of mystery novels set in South America and California featuring Los Angeles-based private detective Roger Bowman and his wife biochemist Suzanne Foster.   “Five Quickies For Roger And Suzanne”, a novel-length anthology of five stories---three short stories (including “The Dog With No Name” for dog lovers), a novella, and a novelette---features the regular characters from this popular South American mystery series.  Enjoy the quickies, which introduce several of the recurring series characters from this series and are a great place to begin it!  Normal list price is $2.99; Promotional days only, $0.99.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


The current Work In Progress is almost completed through the first draft stage.   I don’t have a title yet.   Here’s the set-up.   Roger and Suzanne, along with Robert and Bruce, are taking a long overdue vacation tour though the Galapagos Islands.   This is another fascinating piece of South America Elaine and I have visited that I wanted to share with my readers.   On the second day of the tour, as their Zodiac raft motors towards one of the islands Suzanne finds a dead body floating in the ocean just off the beach.   And we’re into another South American mystery novel starring my favorite couple of detectives.   And there to help are Eduardo Gomez, his wife Sophia who we'll meet for the first time, and the mysterious General Vincente Aleman. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


            The long-anticipated day arrived Monday, 10/21.  The puppies were 8-weeks old and ready to begin relocation to their new homes.  Two of the pups left us---Gil to go to his new home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains about an hour northeast of us, and Molly to her new home in Silicon Valley, about 2 hours southwest of us.   Gil will be living with two adults and several horses being trained and competing in endurance events.   Eventually, we’ll find out for sure whether an adult GSP can trot along for 20-30 miles without having to breathe hard, but I think all of us who own this breed of dogs already knows the answer to that.  They are incredibly gifted athletes with huge chests and equally huge hearts that translate to great stamina and endurance in the field.   Molly in Silicon Valley will be joining a family with a teenaged son and his younger sister, an ideal situation for a puppy that loves cuddling and people.   She also may have a show career ahead for her based on puppy grades, and will surely have a hunting career based on what the new owners are looking for from their dog.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


“The Body in the Bed” (Amazon Kindle, $0.99)----

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite---5 Stars

Roger and Suzanne Bowman go to Uruguay to celebrate their friend’s promotion to police captain. The day does not end smoothly when the couple finds the dead body of an old acquaintance in their motel room. Their main suspects are from the police force. Roger and Suzanne have a murder to solve and corruption to expose. The Body in the Bed is part of the South American Mystery Series by Jerold Last.

I could never resist a novella as I like its comfortable length. Therefore, The Body in the Bed is no exception. I was quickly captivated from the very beginning. Even though the pacing is fast, the plot does not seem rushed at all. It is actually very compact and flawlessly written with its international conspiracy, which is very impressive. Together with a strong dialogue, author Jerold Last also presents readers with vivid portrayals of the Uruguayan culture through his adroit prose. It is not hard for me to gravitate toward the main protagonists, Roger and Suzanne. As a matter of fact, all the characters, main or secondary, are well-developed and believable. The story itself is quite riveting; I finished it in one sitting because I really wanted to know the outcome.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Our usual weekend ritual involves waking up to National Public Radio---NPR.  Elaine and I both enjoy the Sunday puzzle featuring Will Shortz.  This past Sunday morning’s potpourri of NPR reportage included a segment from Los Angeles on actors training for potential roles in haunted houses, which is timely for impending Halloween.   One subgroup was learning how to portray zombies, currently very “in” given the tremendous popularity of TV shows like “The Living Dead”.  That segment got me to thinking (I free associate a lot) about some of the practicalities of life (do I mean un-life here?) as a zombie.

OK, let’s cut to the chase here.  I was wondering about zombie flatulence.  Do they or don’t they?  On the positive side, we know zombies are supposed to smell bad.  But that could just be because of death and decay, so isn’t definitive.  On the negative side, they’re dead, aren’t they?  Well, that’s ambiguous too.  So, it seemed a good time to analyze the biochemistry and physiology of the undead to see what the answer should be.  This turns out to be surprisingly easy to do while lying in bed half asleep trying to tune out the “inside the beltway” analysis of current events that NPR tends to favor.  Or the discussion of sports by a know-nothing NPR reporter from a second tier Ivy League college who doesn’t understand sports are frequently played west of the Mississippi River.  But I digress from the main point here. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


            Schöne’s puppies were 5 weeks old on Monday, so an update on their progress seems to be timely.  The eight puppies, four boys and four girls, have temporary names (pending the desires of their new owners) now.  They were named for a variation on a theme from the TV show “Wheel of Fortune”, the category of “before and after”.  The first theme is the movie “Pretty in Pink”, a logical extension of Mom’s name, “beautiful” in German.  The fused “after” theme is the band, “Pink Floyd”.  We thank an owner of the puppy’s Uncle Bruce for suggesting this theme. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013


It may be a little bit too trivial a crime to need Roger and Suzanne’s talents to solve, but we had an episode of littering on Monday night a few weeks ago.  Schöne was due to have her puppies Thursday, but she likes to do things precociously.   At 2 A.M. she trotted over to our bed to wake us up and deliver her first puppy to Elaine—no muss, no fuss, just a brand new male puppy, gently carried in her soft bird dog mouth, cleaned up and ready to nurse.  Between 2 A.M. and 5 A.M. she seemingly effortlessly popped out puppies at about half-hour interval until we had six newborns, three of each gender.   She seemed to be done (and the radiologist had told us to expect a total of five puppies based on an X-ray the previous week), so I went back to bed, while Elaine hung around, just in case Schöne needed any help.  She didn’t need any help, but she had two more puppies to still deliver into this litter, which ended up at eight, four boys and four girls.  All are healthy and growing quickly with the help of Supermom, Schöne.

Mom just had an episode of mastitis---one of the faucets is inflamed and painful for nursing.  That earned me a trip to the local Safeway store at 11:30 last night to buy a few heads of cabbage to experiment with a non-pharmacological remedy suggested from a breeder website for treating the inflammation.

We have a stream of visitors, adult and child, coming through to play with the puppies and socialize them to humans.  A CD plays in the background, with every conceivable noise from shotgun discharge to railroad locomotive to thunder to airplane hold at a loud enough volume to get the pups accustomed to some of the louder and scarier sounds they’ll hear as they grow up.   The new owners-to-be come through to see the puppies and get a feel for which one will pick them as his or her new family.

Sleep is elusive as puppies clamor for food and Schöne gets to sleep with us as a reward for excellence in motherhood.  The pups should move from the whelping box, the puppy’s first home, to the penthouse suite (two exercise pens for walls and a kitty litter box for potty training) in the great room----an 8-12 expanse of newspaper-covered vinyl with toys and fun things to explore.  They’ll remain there until they go to their new homes at 8 weeks, with frequent trips to the back yard (weather permitting) to experience other surfaces and new environments.

The pups get names today---the theme will be “Pretty in Pink Floyd”, marrying the movie and the band.  Name #1 is Molly---got it, trivia buffs?  Does anyone else have a suggestion?  Feel free to add a comment if you do.

I just published an anthology of short stories with a novella and a novelette included, entitled “Five Quickies For Roger And Suzanne”, on Amazon KDP.   To thank my readers (and to hopefully get some reviews) I had a couple of free KDP days yesterday and today to get the book out there.  Several hundred copies are now on Kindle readers or Kindle apps, ideally being read.  There’s a copy of the cover on the right of this post that will let you click through to Amazon if you want to download a free (or paid, $2.99) copy of this collection of stories. The stories include one in which Roger meets Suzanne, and another that describes, in his own words, Roger’s first case as a P.I.  We also visit Fortaleza, Brazil, to solve a mysterious killing in an allegedly haunted gymnasium.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


          If it was good enough for Raymond Chandler, it should certainly be good enough for me.  Chandler’s muse apparently ran out of gas when he was writing for the pulp thriller magazines, long before he wrote any of the now classic novels that made him famous and are still popular.  To use his word, he “cannibalized” the short stories to create his novels.   English professors and computers can demonstrate the transfer of entire scenes, characters, and words from his short stories to his books---“The Big Sleep”, “The Lady in the Lake”, “Farewell, My Lovely”, and “The High Window”.   The process Chandler used for cannibalization is described in detail by Philip Durham in the preface to a collection of Chandler’s short stories entitled “The Killer in the Rain” [Ballantine Books, New York, 1964]

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I just received an e-mail telling me that "The Surreal Killer" won the Indie Book of the Day award today.  This novel, the third (and soon to become the second) in the Roger and Suzanne South American mystery series, is the best seller in the series thus far.  I recommend it highly for those of you who haven't read it yet.

The image of the award is embedded below.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I was just interviewed by Angie Azur for her blog at  She asked me some very unusual questions as she explored my process for writing mysteries.  It was fun.  Please visit Angie’s blog and have a look.

I also was interviewed by Jessica Kong on her blog a couple of days ago.  You can find this posted at  This interview focuses on my newest novel, The Deadly Dog Show, and on me (blush!).

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Today, we have the pleasure of a guest post submitted by friend and fellow mystery writer Carmen Amato.  Carmen writes a series of mysteries starring police detective Emilia Cruz, which I particularly enjoy reading, set in Acuapulco, Mexico, where she has lived.  She also owns a dog.  This post celebrates Rudi, The Wonder Dog, and his many contributions to the creative process.  Welcome to this blog, Carmen.

Jerry and I are both mystery authors and dog lovers. We both like big breeds, too. He has German Shorthaired Pointers, the same as Robert B. Parker’s Spenser character, whose Pearl the Wonder Dog is featured in many of the series’ novels. And I have a German Shepherd named Rudi who owns our family much the same way that Lassie owned Timmy.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


          If it was good enough for Raymond Chandler, it should certainly be good enough for me.  Chandler’s muse apparently ran out of gas when he was writing for the pulp thriller magazines, long before he wrote any of the now classic novels that made him famous and are still popular.  To use his word, he “cannibalized” the short stories to create his novels.   English professors and computers can demonstrate the transfer of entire scenes, characters, and words from his short stories to his books---“The Big Sleep”, “The Lady in the Lake”, “Farewell, My Lovely”, and “The High Window”.   The process Chandler used for cannibalization is described in detail by Philip Durham in the preface to a collection of Chandler’s short stories entitled “The Killer in the Rain” [Ballantine Books, New York, 1964]

Sunday, August 18, 2013


            The newest book in the Roger and Suzanne series, The Deadly Dog Show, is getting excellent reviews (see a couple of previous posts below, July 26th and August 1st) and four of the more recent ones at the end of this entry.  It’s also selling well, apparently both to dog lovers and to mystery fans.  As indicated in the book’s foreword and this blog, the canine heroine of the novel, Juliet, is very much modeled after our middle dog, Jolie.  This post explores the real-life origins of a few specific scenes in the novel and takes you "behind the scenes" to illustrate the integration of reality and fiction in my creative process.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Fellow mystery/suspense writer Carolyn Arnold has a new book being released that I thought some of us might want to know about.  Note the spouse and two beagles in her life.  With a spouse and three German Shorthaired Pointers (plus a new litter of puppies soon to join us), I can certainly identify with her.  So, let's hear about the new novel from Carolyn herself:

New Release: Life Sentence, Romantic Suspense by Carolyn_Arnold       
"If I pay with my life, you will pay with yours."

Saturday, August 10, 2013


            It would be ever so nice if Amazon included their existing feature that shows you where your sales originate for e-books, as well as for conventional print volumes.  It’s always good news when the counter ticks over a new sale on your KDP Reports page, and you mentally tote up the additional sale.  For me it’s a minor miracle every time someone buys a book I wrote, which reinforces the all too rare message that writing these books is worthwhile.   But, and it’s a big but, unless the reader writes a review that I manage to find and read, and I recognize their name, I have no way of finding out who buys my books and why they buy them.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013


The rest of the reviews for "The Deadly Dog Show", thus far. (N = 11, Mean score = 4.9 Stars out of a possible 5.0)

1. Doggonit.  What a good read...! Well done and captivating. I loved the character development and was truly drawn into the story with all of its' twists and turns.

2. Mystery, dogs and a quick read---3 simple reasons to buy: I rarely read anything other than cookbooks or lately informational books on raising farm animals. However, in the midst of a trying few months in my life, I was given the opportunity to read this mystery by Mr. Last. It was a great way to divert my attention from reality, yet seemed so familiar, as a Northern California resident, a dog owner and a foodie. We currently own a champion German Shorthaired Pointer named 'Bruce' and plan on owning this breed for the rest of my life. It is always nice when you can read something so entertaining and feel like you are almost part of the story. I am always particularly pleased when details about food are included because it allows one to not only visualize the story and the character, but also smell the scene. Like his many other pieces, this too is a pleaser!

Bonus: There's enough time in your busy schedule to read this book and it costs less than an espresso beverage.

Friday, July 26, 2013


As of today, July 26, 2013, “The Deadly Dog Show” has been published for six days and has garnered 9 reviews, with an average ranking of 4.9 out of a possible 5 stars.  Here are a few examples from the eight 5-star reviews (quoted accurately and in their entirety from the book’s Amazon page).

1.  A must for dog show enthusiasts” by Sharon. 

“I've read several books in this series and found them entertaining, with good characterization and accurate feel for the settings.

This is much my favorite, however, because of my own dog show background. Have to say this is the first mystery with a setting/background in the show dog world that has no errors that I noted. The plot, involving dog show officials, might have been just a bit over the top in some ways but it did hold together.

Entertaining addition to the series and wonderfully accurate background and setting. Will appeal to mystery readers and if you're a dog show person, whether you usually read mysteries or not, this is a must read.”

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Did you ever think that you’d like to kill the judge who didn’t give you (your dog, your horse, your child) the victory?  Did you ever get a gift from a secret admirer who might not really admire you?  Have you ever been in a competition that was rigged so you couldn’t win?  The seventh book in the popular Roger and Suzanne mystery series finds Roger and Bruce hired to go undercover impersonating the owner and handler of a Champion German Shorthaired Pointer named Juliet to investigate certain irregularities that might be occurring at dog shows in California.  To complicate this case the bodies of dead judges start popping up and Suzanne picks up a mysterious stalker sending her most unwelcome gifts.  Throw in drug cartels and corrupt cops and it sounds like a typical job for our detective couple.  “The Deadly Dog Show” may be read as a stand-alone novel, but fans of the series should enjoy reconnecting with characters they have met in the previous books.  This whodunit novel should appeal to mystery fans, dog lovers, and anyone who wants to learn more about the world of dog show competition. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013


            Last week I flew to and from Montevideo from my home in Northern California.  The trip takes about 25 hours with layovers for connecting flights, airport to airport; it’s a long way south and east to that part of South America.  According to American Airlines, it’s about 7,000 miles one-way.  My route took me from Sacramento to Dallas-Fort Worth to Miami to Montevideo and vice-versa.  Miami-Montevideo and the return trip are overnight flights where an hour or two of sleep makes all the difference in how you’ll feel when you get there. 

            The overall impression I got from my previous trips to Montevideo, a city of 2.5-3 million people, was that little had changed over the 31 years I’d been going back and forth.  This time it was different.  New construction of apartments and buildings for businesses was evident near the airport in the Carrasco neighborhood, all along The Ramblas bordering the Rio de la Plata as we drove into the heart of the city, and in Pocitos, the neighborhood Elaine and I lived in back in 1999.  Occasional new high-rise apartment buildings are going up in downtown inland from the river.  Several of the older buildings downtown are being remodeled and modernized.

Friday, July 12, 2013


One of the things we never learned about when I went to school was the history of South America before the Spanish Conquest.  There was (and still is) a rich history, much of which we know about in some detail, culminating with the ascendency of the Incan Empire in the 15th Century.  One of the benefits of wandering through Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador is getting exposed to this rich and fascinating history of pre-Colombian South America.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


To celebrate the 31st anniversary of the first time I lived in Montevideo, I present Episode V of this installment of the series to you.  It’s hard to forget that trip in both directions, an epic trip to the other side of the world.

You need to understand the rules of travel for me that first time as a Fulbright awardee.  The costs of my travel were reimbursed by the U.S. State Department, the agency responsible for administering the Fulbright Program.   The rules were simple:  Coach class only, lowest price ticket available, and you had to fly on a U.S. Flag carrier.   In 1982 South America, that meant Pan American.  And Pan American had already fallen on hard times by then, so that meant no-frills travel on a decaying and disillusioned airline soon to go into bankruptcy and give up its routes.  In older planes that were slow and uncomfortable.  And for those of you who remember the comedian Jonathan Winters, and his persona of “Granny Frickert,” the stewardesses were also older and decaying.  Varig or a couple of the European airlines with the right routes would have been nice, but that wasn’t allowed. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013


On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands.  The United Kingdom sent an expeditionary force to retake the islands. After naval and air battles, the British forces landed on The Falklands May 21st, and had surrounded Stanley by June 11th. The Argentine forces surrendered on Monday, June 14, 1982.  To celebrate the 31st anniversary of the occasion, I give you Episode IV of this series.

When I first lived in Montevideo in 1982, military dictatorships ruled both Uruguay and Argentina.  They were very different places than they are now.   The small colony of Fulbrighters in Uruguay did a lot of things together, so we got to know one another pretty well despite our many differences.  Several quirky things happened when a couple of us spent June 15-16th visiting Buenos Aires, almost directly across the Rio de la Plata from Montevideo.   

Saturday, June 22, 2013


            I’ve mentioned before that in general, Uruguayans don’t like spicy foods.  Meat is salted, but not marinated, before roasting or broiling over the fire.  When we lived in Montevideo in 1999, one obvious manifestation of this generalization was that there weren’t any Mexican restaurants in this city of almost 3 million inhabitants.  According to a Google search on the Internet, there are at least two Mexican restaurants in town now.  Roma-Tijuana seems to serve Italian-Mexican fusion cuisine according to a review (2009) I found.  Apparently, the fusion is heavily biased to the Italian-Uruguayan palate.  The salsa was described as “slightly spicy ketchup” and the enchiladas did not include enchilada sauce <>.  La Lupita in Punta Carretas had real Mexican food with real, if mild, salsa. “Salsa mas picante” can be requested, and it tasted like the real thing for the native San Diegans who wrote this review on the same web site as the previous restaurant review.

            After Elaine and I spent a couple of months on a steady diet of beef with more or less salt, with a tiny portion of chimichurri as a side dish if we were very lucky, the craving for a Tex-Mex dinner was becoming overwhelming.  Fortunately we had by then made friends with several USA expatriates living and working in 1999 Montevideo.   One of them, Luke, burst out laughing when we admitted to craving Mexican food.  When he finally stopped laughing, he invited us for dinner on Saturday at his apartment, which turned out to be the local Mexican food outlet for gringos with palates that craved more than the bland local cuisine.  “Yes,” he told us, “I've smuggled chilis, enchilada sauce, and other goodies into Uruguay”.  He hosted weekly home-cooked Mexican dinners as his contribution to spice-starved gringos living in Montevideo, which earned him pride of place at the top of the list of who you wanted to cultivate as a friend in the large expatriate community.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Today we have a guest post by fellow mystery writer Gabrielle Black,
--> author of Treating Murder: Book One of the Veronica Lane, M.D. series.  Gabrielle is a physician.  By an odd coincidence, so is her detective character, Veronica Lane.  Gabrielle follows in a rich tradition of M.D. mystery writers, starting with the most famous, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor of Sherlock Holmes.  And now, to our guest blogger, Dr. Black...........

Novel writing usually involves writing back stories on characters. You seldom get to see these. There is also usually a back story to how the idea came to be. You seldom get to see these either, but sometimes the 'making of' is almost as cool a the story itself. I realized this recently while watching the making of Star Wars. George Lucas before he was a gazillionaire. So, with that on my mind, I'll share with you: The making of...Treating Murder by Gabrielle Black. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013


A few years ago, I visited Mendoza, the wine production capital of Argentina, accompanied by a colleague from my University's Viticulture and Enology Department who is a V.I.P. in wine tasting circles.  We were invited to taste the better wines from several of the local wineries, two or three tours per day, which was where I first fell in love with Malbec wine as a varietal.  There are a few quirky things I remember from this experience.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I thought I'd start a new series of posts about off the wall topics as they come up.  I'll be flying to Montevideo in July, so thought of a few memorable moments in Argentine airports for my first entry in this series.

I don’t know what the current situation is like since I haven’t flown any of the regional airlines in Argentina in a few years, but going back a bit things were, shall we say, different than California where I live.  Between 1999 and 2010, however, when I was flying between some of the major cities in Argentina, things could be very quirky.  Let me share a few notable examples.

Friday, May 24, 2013


For the Holidays, my two short novels in the Roger and Suzanne mystery series are available from Amazon KDP for $0.99 (normal price $1.99), and for £0.65 in the UK.  This is less than half their normal price, so is a very good deal.  Click on the links indicated or on the book covers to the right to go directly to the Amazon home page for either Kindle book.
 "The Body in the Parking Structure" is a hard-boiled mystery that features characters from the author's popular South American mystery novel series working on a murder case at home in Los Angeles. The clues are all there: Can you figure out whodunit before Roger does? 4 Stars based upon 9 reviews.
     US LINK:
    UK LINK:

"The Body in the Bed", a suspenseful 4.4-star whodunit novella (7 reviews), brings Roger and Suzanne back to Montevideo, Uruguay where another bloody murder needs to be solved.