Behind the Book: HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT by Mary Ellis

hiding

On the run from a troubled past, Kate Weller, the newest member of Price Investigations, covers her tracks, changes her name and takes a case in Charleston, South Carolina, where she can hide in plain sight.

Kate sets about trying to locate her adopted client’s natural siblings, only to find more questions than answers. Meanwhile, her new landlord is sticking his nose into her case. Surely Eric Manfredi should focus on whatever competitor is bent on ruining his family business. But when Eric’s father is arrested for murder, can Kate find the real culprit before a killer from her own past tracks her down?

We’re excited to introduce private investigator Kate Weller in the first of the brand-new Marked for Retribution mystery series! What makes Charleston the perfect location for an investigator on the run? Mary Ellis takes us Behind the Book . . .

Since I had to take my Florida insurance investigator on the run, I thought the coastal city of Charleston would be a perfect location. All those narrow cobblestone streets, ancient oak trees shrouded in Spanish moss, and hordes of tourists would give Kate plenty of hiding spots. After all, that’s what I marveled over on my first trip to the three-hundred-year-old city that launched the American Civil War. But after my second or third trip, I saw a different Charleston. I saw a sophisticated blend of old and new, young and old, rich and poor, a place where the twentieth century set roots between the stately planters’ mansions and grew like ivy up their brick garden walls. The city’s historical past was never walled off like a museum, but has been re-energized by each new generation that lives there. Its population is a diverse mixture of doctors and lawyers, students and professors, artists and waiters, thriving amidst the horse-drawn carriages and haunted history tours.

My story involves two fiercely competitive Italian restaurants and a feud that refuses to die . . . that is, until one of them is murdered. When I needed a location for a pivotal scene between my murder suspect and his son, I chose Shem Creek Park, just across the Cooper River from downtown. Shrimp boats still venture out each morning (in season) to cast their nets in the Atlantic Ocean and then sell their fresh catch at the dockside market, just like fisherman have done for a hundred years. The young and the old . . . the new generation replacing the previous.

Charleston also has several slow-paced barrier islands, where the residents’ privacy is protected from outsiders on both sides of the law. I selected Kiawah
Island with its palm trees, sandy beaches and luxurious mansions, for the home of my fictional murder victim. I had so much fun staging the pivotal climax amid such splendor and grace in an area where location becomes one of the book’s characters.
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT introduces private investigator Kate Weller in the first of the brand-new Marked for Retribution mystery series as she tries to stay one step ahead of her past while hunting for a killer.

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT is published 30 April in the UK and 1 August in the US. Find out more here.

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