1) Tell us a little bit about yourself--both something we learn from [the story] and something that readers might not guess?
Hi y’all! I’m Trudell Becket. My friends call me Tru. I’m the assistant librarian at the Town of Cypress’s Public Library, and I love books!
Something you’ll learn about when you read A Perfect Bind is that my relatives are not normal. I mean, I’m Southern, so a few peculiarities in a family line is to be expected. But seriously, my family can be downright odd…even in the eyes of fellow Southerners. Take my Aunt Sal, for example. She cannot cook worth a lick. She once burned the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that she had been asked to bring to a church picnic. How in the world does someone burn PB&J sandwiches? That’s not something you’re supposed to cook! But even though she’s a total disaster in the kitchen, every year she wins the highly competitive and cut-throat apple pie contest. How does that happen? No one has ever been able to solve that mystery. Maybe you’ll be able to.
Here's a secret about me you won’t learn from A Perfect Bind:
2) How did you first meet your writer?
I say this in the past tense, because after I solved my first murder, everyone in the gossipy town of Cypress is watching me and wondering what mystery I might solve next. My friends told me that this intense attention—which I’m wholly unprepared for—will pass as soon as something (or someone) new catches the town’s attention. I sure how they are correct. But I have a feeling that Dorothy won’t let me have enough peace in my life to return to time when my actions go unnoticed.
3) Want to dish about him/her?
Oh, the stories I could tell you about Dorothy! She is a worrier. Let me tell you. You think I worry too much? Dorothy will write a sentence, delete it, write it, and then delete it again! She is always second-guessing herself. It’s sooo annoying! I’m standing around, wanting the story to get moving, and she’s over there piddling with a sentence over and over. “Get to the action, already!” I try to shout to her. But I can’t, because she has to write the words that come out of my mouth, and she won’t until she finishes revising that sentence over there.
4) Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
I’d like to say something smart, like, “Because I’m that interesting!” But seriously, I’m simply a librarian. I’m just like you. My years working at the library has taught me to appreciate order. When things are out of place, I notice. I’m sure that’s why I’ve been able to solve mysteries when the police have found themselves stumped. To be fair, I’m sure the police would have figured things out…eventually.
People like reading about unsung heroes doing big things, and that’s what I’ve been doing for my town. I love Cypress and want to do what’s right for the people who live here. I want to make sure that the town is a safe place to live and that there are plenty of books to read.
5) Who's your favorite character? Why?
You’re really going to make me choose? <<Tru shakes her head.>> That’s not right. To pick one would make another of my friends feel bad. So let’s just say that my girlfriends—both Flossie and Tori—are my favorites and leave it at that, okay?
Flossie Finnegan-Baker is a successful novelist. My bestie Tori Green is the owner of the local coffee shop, Perks. Both of them are always available to help with my wild schemes.
There’s also socialite Delanie Messervey. She knows everyone in town and loves to help with any mystery that comes our way. We’re not exactly amateurs. We’ve been reading and discussing mystery novels in our book club for years now, making us experts on the who, what, and whys of all sorts of crimes.
6) Who's your least favorite character? Why?
Mama Eddy tells me that I shouldn’t talk bad about anyone. But let me tell you, Anne Lowery can get under my skin something terrible. She’s the new IT tech, which means she’s in charge of all the computers and gadgets that they’ve installed in the library.
Well, she acts as if I’m hundreds of years older than her, even though our ages are really that far apart. She thinks I’m an idiot around technology simply because I’m not a huge fan of the changes that the powers-that-be made to our institution. And she’s always threatening to turn me into Mrs. Farnsworth (that’s the head librarian) because I sneak Dewey into the library with me every morning so he can hang out in the secret bookroom.
Other than those quirks of her personality,
she’s a perfectly nice person.
7) What's next for you?
What’s next? My goodness, are you
thinking there’s going to be another murder in Cypress? Well, if you are—shame
Also, you would be completely right. My next adventure will be coming to bookstores next year (2022).
The Cypress Arete Society is the town’s oldest and most respected book club. It’s also the most exclusive. When I’m invited to speak to the club about the library, its modernization, and my efforts to bring printed books to the reading public at one of the book club meetings, my friend Flossie invites herself along. Flossie has been on the waiting list for five years and she’s determined to find out why she's never received an invitation to join. The leader of the club is Rebecca White, a star of the local theater. Flossie and I arrive early to the meeting to find Rebecca lying on the floor dead.
The main suspect for the murder is Detective Jace Bailey’s mother, Hazel, the host for the meeting. The murder weapon is a gift Hazel received as a wedding present forty years earlier. Jace, removed from the case due to an obvious conflict of interest, convinces me to help him investigate and prove his mother’s innocence.
A Perfect Bind
A Dead Body.
A Library in Shambles.
And a Town Drowning in Rumors.
"A librarian's guilty secret is imperiled when murder stalks the library. ... It’s not easy to guess the killer in this amusing cozy filled with romantic angst and peculiar characters." ~ Kirkus Review
Dorothy St. James is the author of several cozy mystery series. She
lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is
a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the International Thriller
Writers (ITW) and Sister’s in Crime (SinC). This is her second Beloved Bookroom
About A Perfect Bind
Librarian Tru Beckett, ardent defender of the printed word, is about to find out that keeping murder checked out of her beloved library is much harder than she thought...
Tru Beckett succeeded in building a secret book room in her now bookless library, where book lovers from lovely Cypress, South Carolina, can rejoice in the printed word. Now she's working hard to maintain the little library downstairs while keeping her "real job" upstairs in the bookless technology center. The last thing she needs is a mysterious vandal who seems intent on breaking into her secret book-filled sanctuary and creating chaos. The nasty interloper doesn't steal anything, but brutalizes the books, damaging them and knocking them off shelves.
A patron of the secret book room tells Tru that there have been creepy goings-on at the library for years, especially in the basement where the secret book room is located. He's heard rumors of a poltergeist that haunts the library, determined to scare off readers. Tru is certain it's hogwash, but she's at a loss to think of who might be vandalizing the beautiful books she fought so hard to protect. And when a dead body shows up right behind the library, Tru is certain that it's not a ghost but a cold-blooded killer that she and her trusty tabby Dewey Decimal will need to uncover.
About Dorothy St. James
Dorothy St. James is the author of the White House Gardener Mysteries and the Southern Chocolate Shop Mysteries. She lives in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with her sculptor husband. Dorothy is a member of Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW) and Sister’s in Crime (SInC). This is her second Beloved Bookroom Mystery.