Working the Beat is number five in my Isabel Long Mystery Series. Like the other books in this series, that title popped into my head. It’s a bit of a tribute to Isabel’s former career as a journalist, first as a reporter and then as an editor. And I would be remiss in not stating my long career has been in that field.
As I can attest, a reporter has a beat, whether it’s a topic such as higher education or crime, or one that’s geographic. A good reporter will work that beat to find and report stories — staying with them until the end.
When I was a reporter, I covered a rural area in Western Massachusetts for a daily newspaper. One might think there wouldn’t be any news in a town of say a thousand people, but as I found out, there was plenty to write about‚ even crime. I developed a list of reliable sources. I kept my ears and eyes open for possible tips, finding them sometimes in unexpected places. I was friendly when I needed to be. And a good listener. Yes, I put being nosy to a good cause.
Yes, these are transferable skills. And those are what Isabel Long uses as a private investigator.
In Working the Beat, Isabel is at a country fair with her mother when she is approached by a woman who says her grandson’s body was found there four years ago. Shirley Dawes raised Lucas after he was abandoned by his drug-addicted mother. She did better by him than she did her own children, when she was married to a no-good abuser.
As Isabel learns, the young man’s body was found in a ravine after he apparently fell during a demotion derby. Nobody saw what happened. But Shirley doesn’t believe it was an accident.
Once again, Isabel is a sucker for a sad story.
She begins this case doing a thorough interview with Shirley. She speaks to people who knew Lucas. Then there is that file of clippings she snagged the day she lost her job at the newspaper.
Isabel works the beat meeting reliable sources from her other cases like the Old Farts in the back room of the general store, cousins Annette and Marsha, even the Beaumont brothers. Her timing is spot on — the demolition derby is the night she meets Shirley. I call that reporter’s good luck or in the case of Isabel, a P.I’s good luck.
As Isabel pursues this case, she encounters new persons of interest — an unsavory group who quickly become suspects. She also uncovers a secret about Lucas and a possible connection to another mystery.
I admit I am not brave enough to be a private investigator. So, I do it vicariously through Isabel Long.
By the way Working the Beat has an official release of Jan. 27 although the Kindle version is available for pre-order. (Soon on paperback.) Thanks for your support. Here is the link: mybook.to/workingthebeat
ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: The covers for the books in my Isabel Long Mystery Series, designed by Laurence Patterson, co-publisher of darkstroke books.