We care what happens to people only in proportion as we know what people are.
— Henry James
A couple of weeks ago, my guest blogger Rosemary McCracken interviewed her novels’ main character, Pat Tierney. In today’s post, Great Aunt Doris, the eccentric old family busybody from two of the linked stories – “Saving Grace” and “Digging Up the Dirt” in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point is interviewed by crime reporter turned private investigator, Bast Overture – one of the fraternal twins in the linked stories. A word of note – Great Aunt Doris doesn’t like Bast so she is totally unpredictable.
Bast: Now Aunt Doris, you have been a sort of patriarch of the Bowman family and so have a –
Aunt Doris: I am not your aunt. I’m not even your sister Dana’s aunt. Her husband, Ron Bowman whom she had the stupidity to divorce, is my family and so is his son, David.
Bast: Yes, well, it is your family and its roots I want to talk to you about, especially in relation to this house. How did the Bowman family obtain this house?
Aunt Doris: You got that right. My late father, bless his soul (she crosses herself) bought this house when I was only five and my older brother George and I lived in it even after Dad died. George got it in his will and he and his wife Ellen lived in it and so did their son, Ronald Bowman who got the house when my brother died. So this house is really his, not yours and Dana’s. Ron should be living here with David, not you and Dana. It…
Bast: Yes, thank you Aunt Doris for this background. I’d like to talk a little bit about your involvement in two of our stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. First, “Digging up the Dirt” where I understand you helped with the investigation. Could you tell us why, especially when you are so against Dana being a PI?
Aunt Doris: Well Dana is the mother of David –
Bast: So you are acknowledging Dana Bowman as the mother of your nephew’s son.
Aunt Doris: Don’t interrupt me young man. Yes, Dana is David’s mother but she sure doesn’t act like one, chasing all over for criminals. But it should be Ron living here to help raise David and keep Dana in line not somebody like you, a queer.
Bast: Ah yes, well I am gay but lots of gay men raise children.
Aunt Doris: But David is not your son.
Bast: True. Now back to my original question – why did you help with the investigation in Digging Up the Dirt?”
Aunt Doris: Because a childhood friend, Douglas Crandock and his mother were murdered during his mother’s 100th birthday celebration and I had to do something. So, I donned my PI gear (Note: slacks, sweater, cap, large magnifying glass and even bigger mouth) and went out and asked questions.
Bast: But my sis…Dana was with you and…?
Aunt Doris: I let her come along but I took a lot of control of the interviews.
Bast: Why is that?
Aunt Doris: Someone had to be blunt and ask the important questions, not skirt around it as Dana does.
Bast: But it was both of you who figured out who and why?
Aunt Doris: Hm…I suppose. But it was my knowledge of my childhood and early adult life and friends that was crucial.
Bast: Very well. Now let’s switch to “Saving Grace” where you, Dana and David went on a holiday to Goderich, Ontario. You also became involved in…
Aunt Doris: It would have been a good holiday if Dana hadn’t meddled in finding that missing girl, Grace what’s her name.
Bast: Milhop, Grace Milhop. But wasn’t it David who drew Dana into looking for Grace?
Aunt Doris: Young man, don’t you point the finger at David – he’s family, blood family.
Bast: True. But David’s situation (Note: mute from the trauma of his own kidnapping the previous year – in the prequel novel) was instrumental in getting him involved and therefore Dana and you, of course. Would you say you were instrumental in getting this case solved well, safely – for Dana and David?
Aunt Doris: I guess so. I suppose if I hadn’t been there things could have gone much differently. But that doesn’t make it right that Dana is always meddling in these cases, as you call them. She’s a mother first and she should be acting like one. What is David going to grow up as with his mother and you (She glares) raising him?
Bast: Perhaps a private investigator.
Aunt Doris: Not as long as I’m around. I may be 71 but I plan to be around for another 20 years at least.
End of interview:
You can read more about Great Aunt Doris, Bast, Dana, David and the others in the four linked stories which are part of my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point. Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including books reviews – at www.amazon.com
Next week: Bast interviews Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding.
Sharon A. Crawford