Featured New Story: Strangler Fig by Martha Reed


Martha Reed is truly one of my favorite people. Join her at a writer’s convention and all you’ll need to do is sit and listen as she spins hilarious tale after hilarious tale. Be prepared to laugh until you cry, and never come back to me and complain that you weren’t warned. I’ll point you right here.


And here’s a great place to be, because Martha’s story, Strangler Fig, made the cut for the Lucky Charms anthology I’ve been telling you about. She stopped in today to tell us what song makes her think of her book.

What’s Past is Prologue
During the summers when I was a kid I grew up in a house filled with swing music. My grandfather, Pop, had a lakeside cottage with a rotary phone and no TV but he did have a tape player and a stack of vinyl. We listened to big band swing music, mostly Benny Goodman, all day long. To this day whenever I hear a rising clarinet solo I have a flashback to those glorious summer days.

At certain drum solos, Pop would raise his hand and call for silence. ‘Listen!’ He would say. ‘That’s Gene Krupa.’

Pop served in the 3rd Marines during WWII. He fought his way across the Pacific islands. He parachuted into the fight at the battle of Tinian but he wouldn’t ever talk about it or tell me anything more. Then Pop died, and recently I got the feeling that his generation, so defined by its music, was fading away. I decided to write a short story with characters from his age group to try to capture some of that wartime feeling, that genuine camaraderie. The perfect song for that time is The Andrews Sisters singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

My story, STRANGLER FIG, tells the tale of T-Rex, a street thug, and his retirement home invasion. The problem is that all the retirees are all ex-Pacific Naval Command. They’ve had plenty of practice dealing with his particular brand of trouble before. T-Rex has no idea about the deadly situation he’s gotten himself into.

STRANGLER FIG is only one of 12 crime tales found in the LUCKY CHARMS anthology. LUCKY CHARMS was produced by members of the Mary Roberts Rinehart Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters in Crime, an international organization dedicated to the advancement of women crime writers. Each tale tells of surprising good luck or of good luck gone sour. I invite you to explore the anthology and to brace yourself for an entertaining read.

And for a change, Martha said it better than I could.

Get yourself a copy! Only Martha Reed can come up with something like Strangler Fig … and a street thug named T-Rex.

eBook versions of LUCKY CHARMS are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. Print versions are available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and CreateSpace although we encourage you to send your sales through Mystery Lovers Bookshop, our local independent bookstore. Support your independents!


1 Comment

  1. Martha Reed

    February 3, 2014 11:02 am

    Fig is one of my favorite characters. As I was drafting the story, her words never changed. Army nurses are tough but she has a soft side that I loved to consider. I hope you like meeting her, and Scottie, and Stanley, too. T-Rex? He’s something else. Poor guy has no idea of the trouble he’s walking into!

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