Tell us a little bit about your book.
Lifelong best friends Arnie Fischer and Zellie Morgan, with no license and even less practical experience, form a detective agency. Crafting a unique “investigative method” largely consisting of blurting out their lack of legal authority or authoritative credentials, they engender surprising candor from otherwise recalcitrant characters.
With a strong romantic attraction brewing between them, but panicked that any change in their relationship will damage their greatly valued friendship, they confront their feelings in the face of Arnie’s ex-girlfriend breaking into his house, and Zellie’s high school boyfriend seeking to rekindle past love.
As their first client’s bogus missing person case quickly devolves into murder, they investigate further, assisted by a mysterious older woman, an inventive friend, a hero dog, and a bagel shop waitress. Their inquiries lead them, among other places, to a car dealership owner only vaguely clinging to reality, a seemingly sinister fashion designer, assorted mobsters, a securities firm, and a sleazy private detective. With a dangerous rescue attempt hanging in the balance, and Arnie’s balky vehicle failing, he receives a last-minute ride from someone he really doesn’t trust.
Have you published before?
No, this is my first published book.
Are you currently working on anything else?
I’m editing the second book in the Arnie and Zellie Cozy Mystery Series, tentatively titled A Tale of Two Freddies, expected out later this year. In addition, I’ve started writing the third book in the series.
What is your favorite writing snack?
I wanted to say something book-related like bagels, but the truth is that I mostly drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
What gets you in the mood to write?
Two different things, actually. Walking on the sand and listening to the ocean is definitely one of them, as I’m fortunate enough to live near the beach in St. Augustine, Florida. And listening to a baseball game on television. I often write with the game on in the background.
Who is your favorite character and why?
Definitely Arnie. He certainly has his flaws, but he’s an honest and eminently decent person. And I truly hope that he and Zellie get together. They’re made for each other.
Favorite book of all time?
It’s hard to pick one. There’s so much good literature out there. For a long time, I would have chosen Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck. Then I read Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. Both brilliant writers and there are so many others. I suppose those choices are counterintuitive for a cozy mystery writer, but I love Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, Robert Parker, Harlan Coben, Janet Evanovich and many others as well.
I think breakfast says a lot about a person, what is your perfect breakfast?
Arnie would probably prefer scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries, or maybe be talked into an enchilada bagel at Audacious Bagel, but I’m partial to fresh fruit, whole grain toast and coffee.
Do you have a favorite period of time that you like to write about or would like to live?
I love the present. I have great respect for history, but I’d rather write about now. You never know what will happen next.
Please tell us in one sentence why we should read your book!
Unlicensed detectives confront murder, the mob and the perils of romance in a sweet, funny, cozy mystery.
Only a small blip in the lives of lifelong best friends Arnie Fischer and Zellie Morgan, who with no license and even less practical experience form a detective agency. Their fervent desire for a nice little “find stuff” business rapidly devolves into perilous encounters with a mysterious buxom blonde client, a dead body, assorted mobsters, a sleazy detective, a sinister fashion designer, a car dealership owner only vaguely clinging to reality, and yes, a naked ex-girlfriend on the couch. And even more dangerous – navigating a burgeoning romantic relationship. No problem.
Of course, saving Zellie from the clutches of very dangerous people might be a little more difficult…
About the author
Eric Small, a long-time public servant who wrote extensively for work, began writing fiction in retirement. A lover of cozy mysteries himself, the genre perfectly fit into his desire to write something containing humor, romance, mystery and just plain fun. As a longtime reader of cozy mysteries, he found such stories a natural fit for his writing. Brazen Gambit is the first of a planned series of Arnie & Zellie Investigations, set in the environs of Middletown, New Jersey, where Eric was born and raised. He now lives in Florida with his wife of over thirty years.