Thursday, May 2, 2019

A Chat with Flo from Silver Hills

Florence 'Flo' Bee was created by author Sam Cheever

Greetings, guys and gals! This is Grandma Bertha with a brand interview with a cozy detective. This time I brought you Flo from Silver Hills, who has solved so many cases it makes me wonder if I'll ever get to her level. Flo loves to talk about her investigations, so I let her did most of the talking in this interview. And of course I had to start with the now classic question:

What was the first investigation you ever did? What was the last? Do you expect to do more investigations in the future?

These are such great questions, hun. Thanks for letting me stop by and visit. I love to talk about my investigations. My initial case actually happened on the first day my friend Agnes Willard moved into Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence. We’ve since dubbed the case, Flo Charts because it centered around a set of inventory charts for a trucking company. We’d just finished moving all of her stuff into her apartment when Agnes realized her cat, Tolstoy, was missing. We found him sitting on the chest of a neighbor who died soon afterward. We suspected she’d been murdered. That was the beginning of our case and also the start of Tolstoy’s reputation as the Grim Reaper.

My most recent case actually just happened on April 5th and was dubbed, Fowl Campaign. I love naming my investigations, don’t you, hun? In Fowl Campaign, Agnes, who’s known for her ability to debauch crime scenes, which you can imagine makes our friend Detective Brent Peters crazy, definitely outdid herself in crime scene debauchery. The case was a difficult one, involving smarmy politicians, rabid animal rights fanatics, and the stomach-churning possibility of Vladwicke Newsome, our vampire-like night manager at the residence, becoming Silver City’s mayor. But it wasn’t until my sweet dachshund Rodney was threatened because of my investigation, that I realized how dangerous the case was becoming.

As to your last question, I’ve started my own investigative service due to demands for my help. I get a little flack for acting like PoPoat my age (don’t ask so I don’t have to lie) but I don’t care. As a retired substitute teacher, I’m able to utilize my intelligence, understanding of human nature, and a drive to get to the bottom of things (Detective Peters would call it nosiness but I’m ignoring him.) to solve any cases that find their way to me. I love the feeling of helping my friends and solving puzzles. Don’t you, hun?

Yes, I do! It's a lot of fun, and you get to do some good. I love it that you opened your own agency, this is something I want to do in the future too. As you said, the knowledge of human nature can make or break a case, even more than collecting fingerprints and doing tests on blood samples. Now tell me: what can you do that the police can't?

Because I’m part of the community rather than an authority figure, people talk to me, telling me things they might not tell the police. There’s a fear factor when dealing with the police, do you know what I mean, hun? But I’m a mature lady with a mighty fine bouff. I’m totally non-threatening. In fact, my biggest problem as a sleuth is dealing with people I speak to trying to protect me from the criminal I’m pursuing.

Plus, in a small community like Silver City, I usually know all the players in a case. This insider status is both good…for gaining access…and bad because if you know people too well it can be hard to recognize when they’re lying. That’s probably one of my biggest challenges.

I agree it can be hard to see the evil side of people we know too well. We need to keep a distance, and that's easier said than done. What about sidekicks to help you in your investigations? Do you have any? Tell us more about them.

I have three other ladies who usually help me, along with my sweet and handsome Roger Attles, a retired lawyer living at Silver Hills. We call ourselves Flo and Co. Agnes Willard is my main sidekick. She’s both an asset and a liability in any given situation. As I mentioned before, Agnes tends, to put it kindly, to “intrude” on crime scenes. And since our pretty young friend TC is trying to have a relationship with Detective Peters, Agnes’s “help” causes a lot of friction within the group. Celia Angonetti is married to a small time mobster but lives alone at Silver Hills. A strange situation that I suspect is a protective measure for Ce. When PoPo takes a look at Mass, Ce isn’t suspected because she’s “estranged”. Mass Angonetti’s contacts often come in handy during my cases, as does Richard’s knowledge of the law and his ability to pay off all of Agnes’s “victims”, such as the guy in the next alley she somehow managed to maim with an errant bowling ball in Fowl Campaign. Do you have any friends like that, hun? You love them but some days they’re just a lot of work.

My daughter-in-law Lydia is just like that. At times she's helpful, but others she can be a pain in the neck. But if it wasn't for her, I would have never solved the case of The Convenient Cadaver. It wasn't easy convincing her I could do it. What was the most difficult period in your investigation, and how did you deal with it?

After our Vlad-Handing investigation, my friend TC told me she didn’t want to be involved in any more of my little “intrigues”. Her reaction was partly the result of tension between her and the handsome detective, and partly because Agnes and I left her trapped in a ventilation system while we did the intellectual two-step trying to stay ahead of a killer. This was after she promised the detective we wouldn’t “go in” but would stay on the perimeter, watch and assess. I understood her stance and I did apologize, but she distanced herself from us for several weeks and it nearly broke my heart.

Trapped in a ventilation system? That's a new one. Tell me more about your investigation style.

I use my network at Silver Hills to get a feel for the players in any case. Then I figure out which ones might benefit from the crime in question. I talk to each suspect about the crime, reading between the lines as they answer my questions. A lot of investigating is instinct. I tell Detective Peters I’m developing an investigator’s gut but he just laughs at me. I know I’ve only been at this for a short time, but I’ve talked enough to the police and faced enough challenges in my work to make me a decent investigator. I don’t care what Detective Peters says. He doesn’t respect my work and that’s okay. I get results and that’s what matters. Though I suspect a lot of his push back has to do with him trying to protect TC.  

That's it for today! Thank you for dropping by, Flo, this was a wonderful interview. Keep in touch, and let me know if you need any help in your next investigation. That's what detective friends are for, after all. 


USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 80+ books.


1 comment:

  1. Grandma Bertha, thanks so much for letting Flo visit your wonderful blog! She was very excited and even roped me into helping her with her interview. I'm always pleased when Flo asks for my opinion. She's usually pretty confident and doesn't always require my help. #:0) Happy Sleuthing!