About the book:What do you do when you find your grandfather dead half an hour before your cousin's wedding? You hide him in his bed and tell everyone he didn't feel like coming.
Delayed Death is an entertaining mystery set in Florence, Italy. When Carlina finds her grandfather dead on the day of her cousin's wedding, she decides to hide the corpse until after the ceremony. However, her grandfather was poisoned, and she becomes the attractive Inspector's prime suspect. On top of that, she has to manage her boisterous family and her luxurious lingerie store called Temptation, a juggling act that creates many hilarious situations.
Delayed Death is the first mystery in the series Temptation in Florence. The second, Charmer's Death, and the third, Banker's Death, are also available.
Interview with Beate:
As my heroine hides her grandfather to save her cousin's wedding, the title Delayed Death came naturally. In the beginning, it was only titled Florence. My novels usually start out with the name of the place or a certain atmosphere and only get their titles much later. Once, I worked on a novel called “snow.” It was later renamed A Little Bit of Passion, but for a long time, it was just “snow” to me.
Do you have a "day job?"
Yes, I work as a global marketing manager for a company that manufactures high-end fountain pens.
How would you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)
Cozy mystery w/ mischief & humor in Florence. Taciturn Commissario, high-end lingerie store & crazy Italian family. http://t.co/FAoclak73S
Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it?
Luckily, as I'm an indie author, I was able to choose the cover myself. I love those shutters, particularly if they're all in a row.
Oh, no. I know the heroine somewhat, and the hero, but the rest only develop throughout the novel. Sometimes, new people just walk in, and I have to shift my plot to accommodate them.
How do you name your characters?
I look up Italian girl and boy names in the Internet, making sure they don't sound too similar, don't look too similar and don't start with the same letter to avoid confusing my readers. Once, I name a hero Lester and was told that that's an impossible name. I renamed him Marc to avoid problems. :-)
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
I'll enclose the excerpt with my favorite scene. It's the first time when the investigating officer, Garini, and my heroine, Carlina talk without being interrupted.
Who are your favorite authors?
Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Mary Steward, Sarah Caudwell, Elizabeth Peters . . . the list is quite long!
Where’s home for you?
As I lived abroad when I was a child, I don't have deep roots and am happy pretty much anywhere where women have the same rights as men. I need my immediate family around me, though, otherwise, I get homesick for them. I'm German and live in Germany, but I chose to write in English because I found more support for a beginning writer in the US. Now, I'm slowly starting to translate my short stories and novels into German, too.
Name one thing you couldn’t live without.
Your last meal would be...
grilled fillet of fish, salad, hot chocolate cake.
You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?
Go for brunch with my friends, take an afternoon nap, take a walk during sunset, read.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"If you want it, you can do it." I'm not sure who said that, but I think it's a great motto!
Yes it is. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere in the South, in a university city by the ocean. It would have to be in the South to have it warm, in a university city to avoid being a dead place in off-season, and by the ocean because I love to look out to the sea. I would have a small house with a great view, and there would be bicycle roads everywhere through town. Does such a place exist? If yes, do tell me, so I can make long-term plans to move there!
Oh yeah, there are a lot of little towns like that. What about traveling? If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would go on a round trip all over the world to visit all my friends, even those I have only met via the Internet so far, and I would stay some weeks at every place to avoid being stressed.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently plotting the 4th novel in the series Temptation in Florence. It's a lot of fun, and I didn't expect that after having written three novels with the same cast of people. But they grew on me, and I would miss them if I didn't have them around anymore.
I can't wait to hear more about it!
Excerpt from Delayed Death"Where did you find your grandfather?" Garini asked.
Carlina throat tightened. The preliminaries were over. Now came the hard part. "Grandpa sat at the kitchen table." Her voice cracked.
She felt as if he was pushing her bit by bit forward, until she would drop off a cliff. "My cousin . . . Emma threw a fit."
His eyebrows twitched. "Why?"
"Emma was the bride! His death destroyed her wedding."
Commissario Garini looked as if he had no clue what she was talking about.
Do you have no imagination at all? "Can you picture the bride coming up to church and saying that her grandfather just died?" Carlina closed her eyes. It was easier to speak without looking at the man made of steel next to her. "Everybody bursting into tears, the wedding canceled, no dancing, no party, the flowers wilting, the ceremony postponed, the honeymoon annulled . . ." She shook her head so hard, she felt the edge of the shelf beneath her hair.
"I like the wilting flowers," he said. "Nice touch."
Her eyes flew open. I hate you.
He returned her gaze without emotion. "Go on."
Another step closer to the edge. "In the end, we said it would make no difference to my grandfather if we pretended he had died later, but for Emma, it made all the difference in the world."
"Interesting." His voice was dry as dust.
Damn that man. He wanted to provoke her, and he managed all too well. “We had another reason, too.”
“The doctor told Uncle Teo to avoid stress because of his heart. He almost forbade him to join the wedding party. Emma and I were afraid that Uncle Teo would have a heart attack if we told him in the middle of the wedding.”
He lifted a skeptical eyebrow but didn't comment. “What happened then?”
Carlina took a deep breath, but for once, the smell of dust and boxes and brand-new products, the smell of her own universe, failed to soothe her. Where had all the oxygen gone? "Everybody could see my grandfather through the kitchen window, so we decided to put him into bed."
"Fully dressed?" His eyebrow twitched.
"Emma undressed him, but she forgot the socks."
"What were you doing in the meantime?" He sounded as if he thought she had used the interim to dance a solitary waltz in the kitchen.
Carlina clenched her teeth. "I was sick in the bathroom."
"So you did feel some emotions. Congratulations." His voice was vitriolic enough to make a hole into the floor if it dripped.
Don't reply, Carlina. Ignore him.
"Let me get one point clear," Garini said. "If I understood correctly, you were both fully dressed for the wedding in long evening gowns."
"Mine was long." Carlina looked at her hands. "Emma's was short."
"Both with high heels, I assume?" His light eyes seemed to pierce her.
"Yes." Carlina glared at him. "Want to know our hairdos as well? If you wish, I can send you a picture."
"That would be helpful," he said. "Wasn't it difficult to carry a dead man in that outfit?"
"Anything unusual strike you?"
Carlina wanted to hit his immobile face. "I don't do this kind of thing every day, if that's what you mean!"
"I meant with the body."
Carlina crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I've never seen a body before. Ever. I wouldn't know if anything was unusual, even if it came up and bit me in the face." Her hand flew to her mouth. "Ugh. Didn't want to say that."
Her gaze flew to his face. He knew how to laugh? The laughter transformed his lean face, made his eyes sparkle. He looked like a different man. Carlina bit back an answering grin.
He looked at her, his head placed to one side, as if he was considering something. "Would you describe how you carried the body?"
Carlina's face twisted.
Her mouth dropped. He could be polite? She took a deep breath. "Grandpa was sitting at the kitchen table. His eyes were open. Emma nudged him, and he fell to the side. I - I managed to catch him before he fell. He was heavy - and warm."
"Warm?" His sharp voice interrupted her.
"Yes." Carlina swallowed. "I said to Emma he must have died a short time ago."
"But you were sure he was dead?"
Carlina's mouth dropped open. "Oh, Madonna, yes, of course. If you had seen him . . . there was no doubt."
"Was it cold in the apartment?"
"No. It was stifling. I remember thinking so when I came through the door. It smelled of peppermint." Her throat hurt at the memory. "Grandpa used to eat peppermint drops all the time." Don't cry, Carlina.
"What happened then?"
"I couldn't make him sit up again." Her throat tightened. "Emma said I should place his head on the table, but it felt so . . . irreverent." Damn. She shouldn't have used that word. Nothing in her behavior had led him to believe that she gave a damn about reverence for the dead. She cringed and waited for a scathing comment from Garini. When nothing came, she looked up at him.
His light eyes searched her face. "Go on." It didn't sound quite as commanding as before.
"I made Emma take his feet. We carried him to his bed. It felt . . . indecent, and there was that smell."
His eyebrows pulled together. "What smell?"
"I . . I don't know. I've never smelled it before. Sort of sweet, but in a cloying way."
"And then I was sick." She felt sick now.
"What did his face look like?"
Carlina's mouth was dry. "I tried not to look. I wanted to remember him the way he had been."
"So you didn't see anything? Not a glimpse?"
Carlina swallowed. "It was . . . bluish."
He gave a sharp, short nod. "Did Emma say it had been difficult to undress him?"
"No." Carlina shook her head. "She was real quick. But then, she was in a hurry."
"I see." The ironic note was back in his voice.
Carlina pulled herself together. "I thought it wouldn't make a difference. I only wanted to help Emma." She sounded pleading now. "I also planned to get up early the next morning, to find him. Then nobody else would have suffered the same shock."
"But you didn't?"
"No." Carlina could feel herself blushing. "I overslept." He'll think I'm a total loser.
"Uncle Teo found him."
"Yes." Carlina sighed. "I was so glad that he didn't have a heart attack right there and then. However, later, just as Marco wanted to sign the death certificate, he . . ."
Garini held up one hand. "Hold on. Your mother told me Marco was called because your family doctor was ill."
"What's the name of your family doctor?" Garini was back to his true form. He shot his questions like bullets at her.
"Is Marco the official stand-in for Signor Catalini?"
"I don't know." Carlina frowned. "But my mother wanted to have Marco because he's a family member. He married my cousin Angela some months ago."
Garini's light eyes narrowed in thought.
Carlina was glad she had chosen to sit. The shelf in her back gave her a bit of much needed stability to face those x-ray eyes of his.
"What happened next?"
"Uncle Teo exploded into the kitchen and made a big scene because Grandpa still had his socks on." She sighed. "I didn't know he always took off his socks first when he undressed. I never even thought about his socks."
The Commissario didn't comment.
Carlina threw him a glance. No sympathy there. "Next thing I knew, Uncle Teo called the police." Something scratched her ear. Carlina reached up and blushed. Damn. She still had the bra and slip from the mannequin over her shoulder. What a sight she was! She pulled them off with a quick move and stuffed them behind her back. If only he didn't start laughing.
His light eyes never wavered. "Why didn't you stop your Uncle Teo?"
Carlina bristled. "How could I? Wrestle the phone from his hands?"
"For example." His voice was mild. "I'd have thought you're a woman with enough resources." For some reason, it didn't sound like a compliment.
"Uncle Teo turned beetroot-red." Carlina didn't look at Garini. She didn't want to see the disbelief in his eyes. "I was afraid he would have a heart attack if I stopped him. Besides, all the family was listening in.”
"Fine." His voice sounded hard. "And can you explain why you didn't tell me the truth when I came?"
She looked at her hands. They had clenched themselves into a tight knot. "I wanted to, but you came early. When I came downstairs, the gang, I mean my family, had told you everything."
"Everything but the truth."
"Well." Carlina's felt short of breath, as if something strangled her. "I wanted to speak to you alone." She lifted her gaze and frowned at him. "You remember that, don't you?"
He lifted his eyebrows. "You didn't try very hard."
Carlina closed her eyes for an instant. "I didn't want to shake my mother. She was so upset."
How she hated his snarky questions. "Yes, she was!" She balled her fists. "I don't know if you saw her cushion?"
"Well, she usually carries that cushion around with her when she's on the road, but in the house, she doesn't take it. When she came up to me and had that cushion in her arms, I knew she was shaken to the core."
He blinked. "Are you telling me your mother never leaves the house without a cushion?"
Oh, God. She shouldn't have mentioned it. "Yes." She hoped her voice conveyed dignity.
"It's a little idiosyncrasy."
"Did she take it to the wedding?" He sounded intrigued.
"And did she use it?"
"I don't know why you need to know that! It doesn't have anything to do with my grandfather." Carlina pressed her lips together.
His mouth twitched. "Humor me."
"Oh, all right." Carlina sighed. "She used it to sleep in Church."
"I take it the service wasn't fascinating?"
Carlina suppressed a giggle. "It was the sixth family wedding this year."
"In that case, I understand completely."
Carlina smiled. "Later, Mama used the cushion to sleep on the table."
"She slept on the table?" Now he sounded scandalized.
"Just with her head." Carlina hastened to add. "It doesn't matter; everybody is used to it. In fact, I think it's very considerate of her."
He blinked. "In what way?"
"Well, we always share a taxi back, and when she's tired, she simply goes to sleep. Other mothers would start to nag until the party is broken up."
"I see." His tone spoke volumes.
He thinks we're a bunch of idiots. Carlina stared at her hands and concentrated on relaxing them. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw that he still leaned against the door frame as if he belonged there, a relaxed panther.
From the street, she heard the faint noise of people walking by, talking, laughing. Inside, it was so quiet, her own breathing seemed too loud.
"To sum up, Signorina Ashley. You moved your dead grandfather because you didn't want to upset your cousin Emma. You allowed your great uncle Teo to call the police with a crazy tale because you didn't want him to have a heart attack. You lied to the police because you didn't want to upset your mother Fabbiola. I'm impressed. You're quite the philanthropist."
Beate is a marketing manager by day and a writer by night. She has a degree in International Business Administration and her daily experience in marketing continuously provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.
Widely traveled, she speaks German (her mother language), English, French and Italian fluently and lives in the North of Germany together with her husband and daughter.
While 'Boeker' means 'books' in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books,’ what else could she do but write novels with a happy end?
Although being German, she has chosen to write in English because she appreciates the professional support and training opportunities a writer can find in the US.
Connect with Beate:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon author page | Book trailer
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