Today we’re learning more about Harmony Duprie from “The Baron's Cufflinks,” by P. J. MacLayne.
I've always wanted to have a chance to talk to Harmony Duprie, the lead character in my Oak Grove Mysteries series, so when the chance came up to interview her about “The Baron's Cufflinks,” the third book in the series, I jumped on it. We met in her third floor apartment, then took our glasses of ice tea and sat on the outside steps leading to her place. We sipped our tea, enjoyed the warmth of an early fall day, and patted Piper, her landlords' dog. After chatting about the high school football team, we moved to more serious discussion.
You have a reputation for great attention to detail in your research work. How does that translate to your personal life?
You saw my apartment. Did you notice how the books are arranged on the shelves? Some folks sort by color or size. Mine are kept in a strict Dewey Decimal setup. It's the librarian in me.
I noticed they were all neatly lined up at the edge of the shelves.
That's so the spines don't get broken when they are taken off the shelf. Every so often, visitors will glance at a book or two and either not put it back in the same spot or push it too far back. Drives me nuts!
Do you have any other pet peeves?
I hate it when someone stops to talk to me in a store or restaurant and doesn't introduce themselves. I may recognize their face if they are patrons of the library, but I don't know everyone in Oak Grove. I'm not a celebrity or anything and I don't mind talking to them for a minute or two, but at least they should identify themselves. Otherwise, I might end up calling them Tweedlede or Tweedledum and that wouldn't be polite at all.
You say you aren't a celebrity, but you're getting a reputation as a crimefighter. I've heard you referred to as Oak Grove's own superhero.
The stories of my exploits are highly exaggerated. I've just been unlucky enough to be in the wrong places at the wrong times, and lucky enough to survive. I thought about becoming a private investigator for awhile, but after getting shot at I changed my mind. I'm more than happy to give credit to our professional lawmen for putting their lives on the line for me more than once.
So what do you do when you aren't sitting in front of a computer or reading a book?
I'm remodeling a Victorian house across town. It's the one where Eli and I were ambushed. It seemed lonely, so I bought it. Luke and Joe, my landlords, are having fun doing most of the work, but I'm helping out. And sometimes, when I feel like it, I take Dolores out on the Interstate and let her play.
My car. The red one you parked behind.
Nice car. What is it?
It's a Type F Jaguar. I couldn't talk myself into buying a Aston Martin like James Bond drove, but she was a sweet compromise. Want to go for a ride?
I'd love too, but one more question first. The rumor mill has it that you're seeing Jake Hennessey again.
Let me set you straight. Jake and I are just friends. After all the trouble he got me into, he thinks he should be my bodyguard and keep me out of danger to make up for it. He forgets I ended up having to rescue him a few months ago. But until he can get a real job, “protecting” me helps keep him from being bored and getting into trouble himself. And I admit, I kind of enjoy having him around. Besides, everyone knows me and Eli are an item, although I never realized how hard maintaining a long distance relationship would be. Now, do you want to go for that ride?
I did, so we put the now-empty glasses away and hit the road.
THE BARON'S CUFFLINKS is available through: