by Leopold Longshanks
I'm honored to be your guest blogger today. I understand that this would usually be Robert Lopresti's turn, but he is apparently too busy to write something.
Don't ask me what he's filling his hours with. He somehow managed to write while carrying on a day job, but now that he's retired he seems to be too busy to do his duty.
But enough about him. As I said, I am happy to talk to you about my latest adventure, which appears in Low Down Dirty Vote 2, a new anthology of crime stories. It will be published this Saturday, the Fourth of July.
Of course, the date is no coincidence. Voting is basic to what this country is supposed to be about, part of what we celebrate with dangerous fireworks, rowdy parades, and suspiciously undercooked hamburgers every Independence Day.
Each story in this book involves a violation of that most precious right. And Mysti Berry, who conceived and edited this book, is putting her money where her mouth is. The first volume raised more than five thousand dollars to help the American Civil Liberties Union fight voter fraud. Funds from the second book go to the Southern Poverty Law Center for the same purpose. I am proud to be involved in such a good cause.
You may notice I am not on the author's list. Make no mistake: I am a distinguished author of crime fiction, in my world. But in your universe I exist only through the work of that other guy, lazy Lopresti. My story in the book is his 17th effort at recording my adventures, and I admit he got the details right this time. Most of them, anyway. That makes a nice change.
"Shanks Gets Out The Vote" concerns an election for the board of the nonprofit that runs the World Theatre, a beautiful depression-era opera house in my New Jersey town. My wife, Cora Neal (award-winning author of women's fiction), ran for president and, as you no doubt guessed, dastardly deeds were afoot.
This may seem like small potatoes compared to other crimes in the book. I haven't read all the stories yet, but I assume some are about elections to government offices. I am perfectly okay with being on the trivial end of the scale.
First of all, the subtitle of this book is "Every stolen vote is a crime," so my story fits in beautifully. Second, I firmly believe that amateur sleuths should stick to the small stuff. I can modestly admit to helping the police with a couple of murders, but I much prefer the tales in which I solve puzzles too minor for our noble law officers to deal with. I have explained my preferences to Lopresti, but does he listen to me?
Well, I need to get back to my own work. I am told writers at SleuthSayers are not supposed to give the hard sell, so I will merely say that if the second volume of Low Down Dirty Vote is as good as the first you will enjoy it a lot. And it's for a good cause.
If you see Lopresti before I do, tell him to put his butt down and write me something to do.
LEOPOLD LONGSHANKS is the award-winning author of the Inspector Cadogan series, as well as standalone novels such as A MAN OF YOUR AGE. His books are available in the imagination of Robert Lopresti.