Of course, I am writing about Gary and Larry Beaumont, two characters in the Isabel Long Mystery Series. I’ve kept them through the most of the series because despite their feral tendencies, I’ve grown fond of them. So has Isabel Long. They are back in the next, Following the Lead, which has a Nov. 3 release.
Gary is the alpha brother. Larry, not the sharpest tool in the shed, does whatever he says. They tend to wear shirts advertising alcohol and both have mullets. They live in a dump of a house with a stash of junked metal in the front yard.
The Beaumonts make their living selling drugs and because of it, they were banned for life from the Rooster Bar and Grille, where Isabel tends bar on Friday nights. Jack, the owner, wouldn’t have them back because they were dealing in the parking lot. I can’t blame him.
The Beaumont brothers joined the series in Redneck’s Revenge, book no. 2, as unlikeable suspects who terrorize Isabel in the case involving the death of a junkyard owner. Hmm, perhaps drugs discovered in one of the vehicles had something to do with it.
In the next, Checking the Traps, Gary hires Isabel to investigate the death of his half-brother Cary, who supposedly jumped off a bridge known for suicides. Isabel and her mother, her partner in crime, get to know the brothers up close and personal.
The brothers were not raised in the best of family situations. Isabel is also privy to a secret about Gary: in high school, he fathered Annette Waters’ son Abe. Annette aka the Tough Cookie doesn’t ever want him to know. (By the way in Working the Beat, no. 5, Gary and Annette compete against each other in a demolition derby.)
There are a few incidents when Gary and Larry actually come to Isabel’s rescue. That’s when she finally convinces Jack to let them come back to the Rooster on probation. He doesn’t like it but he loves Isabel too much to deny her.
So what are the Beaumont Brothers up to in Following the Lead? Well, they happen to live near a person of interest in this case — a famous musician who likes his privacy so much Isabel has a hard time meeting him. This case involves the abduction of a baby nearly fifty years ago. And much later in the book, one of them comes once again to her rescue.
Here’s a scene midway in the book when Isabel and her mother visit Gary and Larry.
A dog barks and paws at the front window of Gary and Larry Beaumont’s house as Ma and I make our way through the junked vehicles and plain old junk to the front door. I swear there is more stuff here than the last time we came earlier this year. That’s when Gary hired me for a case involving his late brother, Cary. On her previous visit here, my mother joked about finding the kitchen sink among this mess. No sinks but I do see an old kitchen stove and washer.
“Those boys really should take care of this mess,” my mother says with a click of her tongue. “People driving by this place would think it’s abandoned.”
“Perhaps that’s their motivation all along.”
Larry, the beta brother, comes onto the front porch, carrying his little pooch Ricky that was yapping in the window. He walks down the steps to give my mother first dibs to pet the dog, which makes happy little yips. Ricky is one of those terriers whose role here is to make Larry happy and to bark like crazy when anybody shows up. Nobody will be sneaking up at Chez Beaumont.
“Ricky, did you say? He looks like a nice little lap dog,” Ma tells a grinning Larry, who usually isn’t the center of attention.
“He’s mine. Gary got him for me.”
Gary, definitely the alpha brother, comes through the open door. He wears a Jim Beam tee-shirt, which goes nicely with Larry’s Budweiser shirt, and I have indeed filled that order many times on a Friday night at the Rooster. Both brothers have freshly groomed mullets. They even have shaved.
“Come on in, ladies,” Gary says. “Would you like some coffee? I made a fresh pot.”
Fresh pot? The last time Ma and I were here we were offered instant coffee, which I can’t tolerate even for a case. The boys are moving up, I’d say. And it appears, they did some cleaning in our honor or perhaps they’ve reformed. Dishes are piled in the sink, but the kitchen is nearly as clean as the one I have home. The rest of the house? I’ve never gone further than the kitchen. I didn’t even want to attempt using the bathroom no matter how badly I needed to go, so I have no clue about the conditions in there. Am I brave enough to use the bathroom this time? We’ll see.
“We’ll take a cup. Right, Ma? Milk if you have it for me. Ma likes it regular, milk and a little sugar.”
“Course, I know what regular means. I’ll let you fix it the way you like.”
Ma nods as she sits. Our aim on these info gathering visits is to make people feel comfortable so they start blabbing without realizing it although by now, the brothers have become somewhat old chums and they know my methods. I smile as I watch Gary pour us coffee and boss his brother around to bring the milk and sugar to the table. Ricky sits in the corner away from their feet.
“You said over the phone you wanted to ask us about that guy Robert who lives near us. What’s that all about?”
I take a sip of coffee, which isn’t half bad, and compliment the boys before I clue them in about the Baby Elizabeth case and how his neighbor might have some involvement. The brothers sit forward as they pay close attention to what I say.
“Robert appears to be a rather secretive fellow,” I say at the end. “Lucky for us, he turns out to live near you two.”
LINK TO THE BOOK: Following the Lead’s release is only days away on Nov. 3. Here is the link to get yours on Amazon: https://mybook.to/followingthelead Paperback will follow soon.
ABOUT THE IMAGE ABOVE: A fall view of my village of Shelburne Falls in Western Mass.