When I sat down 15 years ago to see if I had one book in me, I had no clue where to start. And now, all this time and more than 30 books later, every time I face the blank page, it’s the same. Where to start?
I’m an avid reader of mysteries, particularly what is now known as cozy mysteries, but at the time were simply called Agatha Christie-like mysteries. If you mentioned the name “Jessica Fletcher”, and said your books were like that TV show, everybody knew exactly what you meant. Amateur sleuth, small town settings that eventually expanded into New York City and major locations around the world, and a personal reason to solve the crime—usually a friend or relative was the victim or the suspect.
That was my basis. But I wanted a main character more like—well, like me. I didn’t have any idea how a teacher thought—Jessica. Or an older woman in a hamlet in England—Miss Marple. Or a retired detective from Belgium—Hercule Poirot.
I needed someone I could relate to. That hadn’t been done to death. No pun intended.
So I went to the library, and started strolling through the children’s section on occupation. And the word Forensic jumped out at me. CSI and NCIS were hot shows at the time, so I picked it up. And that’s where I learned about Forensic Accounting. In the days when I was in college and in the business workforce, we called those guys the Auditors or the Inspectors. They came in and went through all our work to make certain we were doing it correctly. To make certain nobody was embezzling funds. To ascertain clients’ trust funds were secure.
Which opened a whole new world of possibilities for me. Situations involving money are all over the news. Hardly a day goes by but we hear of someone stealing from a church, a business, a Girl Scout troop. And if you’re anything like me, I wonder how they managed it. How did they go undetected for so many years? What did they use the money for? Was it a one-time thing, they put it back, and hoped nobody would notice? (No Accounting for Murder). Or was it an ongoing theft to line their pockets? (There Was A Crooked Man). Perhaps gambling or other bad choices were involved. (Unbalanced) Maybe organized crime is behind the problem? (Five and Twenty Blackbirds) Identity theft? (Broke, Busted, and Disgusted) Maybe a divorce? (Hidden Assets) Or even counterfeiting? (Petty Cash)
Being a forensic accountant requires specialized training, and involves ferreting out financial information, understanding its implications, and applying that understanding to the situation. It also means preparing reports, spilling the beans on somebody, and testifying in court.
And while a lot of people think accountants are boring, Carly Turnquist is out to prove them wrong.
Just in case you think forensic accounting can’t be an exciting or important job, just remember: Al Capone was imprisoned for tax evasion by the 1930’s equivalent of a forensic accountant.
Question: When you read a series, do you have to start at the first book, or can you still enjoy the series if you pick and choose?
About A Deadly Dissolution: The total lunar eclipse of October 2004 leaves more than Bear Cove, Maine, in the dark. The town’s newly-elected mayor, Walter Akerman, hires Carly to audit the town’s books but is then caught in a compromising situation with his secretary Evie Mack. A journalist in town to cover the eclipse turns up dead. Tom and Sarah’s adopted son Bradley comes to stay overnight to see the eclipse, then goes missing on a walk in town. When Mike’s car is in a serious wreck which the police say is an accident, Carly thinks somebody is trying to send her a message to stay away. How can she solve all these mysteries while not completely wearing herself to a frazzle?
Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. Leeann has released seven titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers, with number eight, A Deadly Dissolution, releasing in June. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and, with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published two books on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold and More Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers.
Website: www.LeeannBetts.com Receive a free ebook just for signing up for our quarterly newsletter.