Linda Crowder, Tea, and Justice

Author of the Jake and Emma Mysteries

Linda Crowder visited and let us in on her love of coffee. We happened to have a fresh brew going, so we settled in with shortbread cookies and a fresh cup.

I love a great cup of coffee, but when it came time to write a pivotal scene in my cozy mystery, Justice for Katie, I opted to place the scene at a teahouse in a remodeled Victorian rather than have my characters meet at the local coffee shop. There were good reasons for this decision. First, the atmosphere of a teahouse seemed more conducive to quiet conversations than the hustle-bustle of a coffee shop. The small round tables, set haphazardly to suit the shape of the rooms, beg for secrets to be exchanged over tea and treats. Second, their mutual appreciation of the history of the tea ritual unifies my characters and is the basis for a friendship that paves the way for the critical revelation that comes during High Tea. It would be hard to envision a similar passion for coffee producing the same results. Let’s see if you think I chose well. Here’s a short snippet from this key scene, which introduces you to lead characters Emma Rand and Dr. Grace Russell and legal assistants Nancy and Sandra talking about working in the County Attorney’s office since an Assistant CA was murdered (no spoilers included):

“Has Mr. Blakely talked about who he’s planning to bring in to fill Carolyn’s shoes?” asked Grace.

“Barney Madison has already taken over her caseload,” said Nancy. “That started when Carolyn announced she was retiring. I expect the ACAs will all rotate up and the person they bring in will take over the cases they’ve been giving Tad.”

“I hope so,” said Sandra. “His cases are so boring. I can hardly keep from falling asleep typing the paperwork.”

“Everyone has to start somewhere,” Nancy told her. “If he moves into Clint’s role, you’ll be seeing quite a bit of my husband,” said Emma.

“I’m curious what kind of man Mr. Blakely is to work for,” said Grace, gently steering the conversation to Matt’s list of questions.

Nancy and Sandra exchanged looks, then Nancy dropped her voice to a near whisper, “Bill Blakely has holed himself up in his office ever since Carolyn’s death. He doesn’t even come to the staff meetings anymore.”

“Maybe he’s grieving,” suggested Emma. Nancy snorted and Sandra laughed, then both blushed and glanced around at the other tables. “Bill hated Carolyn.”

“No!” said Grace.

“Couldn’t stand her, and he made no secret of it around the office, though he was polite to her face. Poor Carolyn was so focused on her work I don’t think she ever knew.”

“How sad,” said Emma.

“It is. Carolyn may not have been popular, but she was darn good at her job and everyone listened to her when she had something to say.”

Justice for Katie is book three in my Jake and Emma Mystery series. Jake Rand is an attorney who specializes in juvenile cases. His wife, Emma, is a therapist in private practice. They become “accidental detectives” in Too Cute to Kill when they discover the frozen body of a woman on their property after a Wyoming snowstorm. In Main Street Murder, when their friend is accused of murder, Jake and Emma are determined to prove her innocence. Book four, Death Changes Everything finds a killer stalking one of Casper’s leading families. It will be released on November 1.

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