BookLife Talks with Stephen Timbers
A sponsored Q&A with the author of 'A Death at the Potawatomi Club'
What made you write A Death at the Potawatomi Club?
Ever since I could read, I have been a fan of mystery novels. I have a library full of books by Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell, Arthur Conan Doyle, P. D. James, Jo Nesbo, Ruth Rendell, and Dorothy L. Sayers. A couple of years ago, I wondered if I could write a murder mystery. After all, I know the genre well. A Death at the Potawatomi Club is my first attempt.
What makes the main character, Charlie Bailey, different from other mystery protagonists?
Charlie Bailey is a literary rarity: an amateur sleuth. Most mystery writers employ a private eye or police detective as their protagonist; such individuals have excellent resources at their command. By contrast, Charlie has essentially only his wits and energy. Of course, he does benefit from his high intelligence, athleticism, wealth, focus, organization, and fearlessness, but he must also curb his stubbornness, recklessness, and impatience. I feel most readers will root for this flawed individual and also appreciate the needed balance provided by his girlfriend, Kate.
Why do you think mysteries are so popular among readers?Mysteries are very popular because of their structure. They tell a story, usually enhanced by twists and surprises. The reader tends to engage with the hero to solve the puzzle central to the story. If the reader successfully figures out “who done it” or “what caused it,” they are delighted. In fact, the earlier the better. In this way, mystery novels are one of the most immersive and enjoyable art forms.
What is the one thing you most want to tell people about you or your book?
My goal is to entertain readers. In this book, readers can expect to learn a good deal about financial markets, investment management practices, and legal conduct. Beyond these details, they will meet engaging characters and places that are familiar, colorful, and charming. To lighten the tone, I have added a few comic personalities and minimized the use of technical terms. If I succeed in my efforts, I hope readers will find the book an enjoyable experience and a good read.
When can people expect the next Charlie Bailey book?
Charlie Bailey will return this spring in The Degas Trove. The manuscript is with the publishers now. This time, Charlie will try to catch an art thief and murderer with the help of Kate, the FBI, Interpol, and the local police.