New Fiction: “When Duty Calls” in Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder

My story “When Duty Calls” closes  the new anthology Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder, just published by Wildside Press in conjunction with the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime. Here’s the first paragraph of the story — about a young woman helping to keep house for an aging and very distinguished military man:

Keri is just setting out the silverware when the Colonel calls across from the living room with a new question. He’s watching the Military Channel and finishing up the cocktail she made for him—a thimble of Virginia Gentleman, a generous portion of soda, another light splash of whiskey on top to make it smell like a stronger drink. The Colonel’s house has an open floor plan from the kitchen through the dining room to where he sits, and as she’s finished up dinner, she’s listened to him arguing lightly with the program’s depiction of Heartbreak Ridge, reminiscing about his own stint in Korea, rambling in his own way. “Last rally of the Shermans,” he mused aloud, and something about “optics” and “maneuverability” and then—a different tone than Keri’s heard in the four months she’s known him—“Is the perimeter secure, Sergeant?”

Needless to say, that perimeter is not secure, and Keri’s job caring for the Colonel quickly takes on stark new responsibilities.

Edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley (with Andrews and Goffman contributing stories of their own), the collection also features short fiction by Shari Randall, C. Ellett Logan, Karen Cantwell, E.B. Davis, Jill Breslau, David Autry, Harriette Sackler, Ellen Herbert, Smita Harish Jain, Leone Ciporin, and Cathy Wiley. This year’s editorial panel included Ellen Crosby, Sandra Parshall, and Daniel Stashower; the anthology features a foreword by Elaine Viets; and that terrific cover is by photographer Robin Templeton.

A launch party (which I unfortunately can’t make) is planned for Sunday, May 20, at Arlington’s One More Page Books, but a second Maryland-based launch may also be in the works, and I hope to be able to attend. In the meantime, however, you can also pick up the collection through Wildside Press here. And for some of the stories behind the stories, please also visit the website Writers Who Kill, which includes brief remarks from various contributors.

“Writing Your Personal History”

Also on the calendar…. Later this week, I’ll be joining Sandra Beasley, Clifford Garstang, and Dianne Hennessy King as the workshop leaders at the 12th annual “Writing Your Personal History” Symposium on Thursday, May 3, at the Vienna Community Center in Vienna, Virginia. This year’s theme is “The Many Roots to Memoir,” and promises to be great fun. For information and registration, check out the webpage here. — Art Taylor