- from Susan
Funny, LadyKillers, that you should ask. I am beginning to address my editors’ notes for MIXED UP WITH MURDER, the third Dani O’Rourke mystery, and am coming up against the same issue I do in every book: What to do about Dani’s ex-husband?
Richard Argetter III (Dickie to his friends) has two Porsches, a house in Pacific Heights, a pied a terre in Paris, and $450 million. He pursued Dani ardently, married her happily – to the dismay of his social-climbing mother – and then betrayed her in spectacular fashion with a celebrity underwear model.
Dickie and Dani have been divorced for several years now, but Dickie wants her to forgive him and try again. Dani? Not so much. Over her dead body, in fact. The problem is Dickie has his good points, including a rather sweet, lopsided grin and the apparent devotion of a puppy dog now that it’s too late. He can still make her heart jump now and then, as he does in the second book, THE KING’S JAR, coming out in May.
In her first encounter with murder, Dani met a handsome, green-eyed homicide inspector in San Francisco. It’s not easy to date a cop who spends most of his waking hours chasing bad people, but she is trying, and there’s progress, even if it’s slow.
My readers are divided. Some say Dani should never, ever let Dickie get close to her again. In their eyes, he is a betrayer of the first rank. Others, perhaps swayed by that $450 million or by his having taken a bullet for her once before, or – okay – for that apartment in the Fifth Arrondissement in Paris, hope she’ll find it in her heart to forgive him just this once. As the creator of these characters, I’m pulled both ways by the readers, never mind Dani and Dickie’s own hearts.
So here we are in MIXED UP. Dani’s shuttling between San Francisco and a small New England town. Charlie, the handsome cop, is giving her advice on the phone, Dickie is on his way to the next town over for his prep school reunion, while onto my stage walks a muscled young patrolman with aviator shades and a toothpick in his mouth. What should a single, 30-something woman do? My editors and I aren’t quite in sync, although I’m not going to say which romantic plot point we’re discussing. I have to convince them, as beta readers, that Dani’s choices in affairs of the heart are true to her basic character and intelligence.
OFFER: I’ll send an autographed copy of the paperback edition of MURDER IN THE ABSTRACT to be person who leaves the best reason for Dani to choose either Charlie or Dickie here or at my website (susancshea.com) by next Tuesday! Dani and I can use all the help we can get!