New book launch (and sale!)by the hilarious Steve Higgs, author of the Blue Moon Investigations series!
Today Steve Higgs drops by to talk about the hero of his Blue Moon Investigations series. If you like your mysteries funny, irreverent, and paranormal, you should give this a try (especially since the first one is FREE tomorrow!)
And now, come meet Tempest!
My name is Tempest Danger Michaels. You are probably thinking that I have a ridiculous name. Most people do.
It was not of my choosing, of course, you understand how it works. As a child, I thought nothing of it until I started school and the reactions began. Of course, I introduce myself as Tempest, which raises an eyebrow occasionally but little more than that. It is not until my middle name is discovered that real comments begin.
My Father explained that he had wanted me to have a memorable name that would assist me in life. Personally, I think he watched too many adventure films and got carried away with romantic notions of heroes saving the day. I admit that I have used the line, "Danger really is my middle name" and proceeded to prove it a few times as an adult by producing my driving license and that once or twice it has resulted, part way at least, in getting me laid. So, I guess there are advantages and disadvantages to my name as much as there are to any other. The problem generally is that people assume I have changed my name, that I chose it myself because I wanted to say, "Danger is my middle name" before diving out of a window or something equally moronic.
Now that I have explained the name, I am still faced with the unfortunate task of telling you what I do for a living. I have my own business and that of course always sounds good, but when you are on the second date and the lady wants to hear more about you there is simply no good way of telling her that you are a paranormal investigator. The reactions have been entertaining I suppose. Some freeze and ask me to repeat myself, some laugh and ask me what I really do. One called me a total loser and walked straight out of the restaurant. However, not one lady has ever been impressed with my current job. Doubtless, you are on their side but let me explain how it came about and let me first reassure you that I in no way believe that the paranormal exists.
My two-room office sits above a cheap, and by all accounts crap, travel agent in Rochester High Street. The location is fantastic though, sitting in the shadow of the Cathedral and surrounded by amazing architecture. Outside my door are myriad public houses, restaurants, and shops selling baked wares, the smells from which combine to assail the nostrils and imbue hunger. The pavements are cobbled, the mere fact that it is a tourist location means it is always clean and litter free, and at different times of the year, such as Christmas, it is delightfully decorated and cheer-inducing.
The office is rented from the owner of the travel agent, a chap that appeared to have been boil washed. Tony Jarvis Travel was a sorry little place which might have been a booming business twenty years ago but had the appearance of a shop lost in time and purpose. The décor and displays were at least a decade old and poor Tony had the haunted look of a man that had already given up. Mousy, thinning ginger hair and a very pale complexion on a tiny frame led to my boil washed analogy. I had heard his wife, had to be a wife because no one else would speak so harshly to a person, berate him for not trying hard enough to bring in customers. Despite her feelings on the matter, a slow, but steady stream of pensionable age citizens shuffled in and out.
Anyway, I lost the point there. I joined the British Army as a young man and made a good career of it. However, they very generously offered me a substantial sum of money to leave during one of their drawdown periods and I took it. I was mid-thirties by then and was due to end my contracted twenty-two-year career at forty anyway. The pay-out from the voluntary redundancy combined with my gratuity and immediate pension benefits made my bank account look quite healthy, so I felt no desperate rush to move into my next career. I had no idea what I wanted to do after the Army anyway, so for a period I bummed around walking my dogs, visiting places I had only seen on TV and doing a bit of DIY to the house I had bought as an investment a few years ago. This went on for a few months until my Mother asked if I was ever planning to work again.
My Mother generally didn't leave much wriggle room, so I set about finding a job. Disinterested in virtually everything that was on offer to me, it was only when a friend enquired whether I had considered setting up my own business that I hit upon the idea of being a private investigator. I didn't come up with the idea all by myself, I happened to be leafing through a magazine designed for forces personnel leaving the services and looking for new careers. There, I found a half-page advert for starting your own investigation business. Curious, I grabbed the yellow pages and discovered that in my local area, which had several million people in it, there was not one private investigator advertised. This, I considered meant there was a niche market, a gap, an opportunity and thus I applied to take the course and buy the equipment.
I contacted the Yellow pages and they were jolly expensive, so I went with a local newspaper that advertised local businesses. Best to start out small and keep the overheads down was my thinking. Life likes to laugh at my plans though, so what happened was the paper ran my advert under the title Paranormal Investigation instead of Private Investigation.
In a loud and somewhat apoplectic voice, I asked them how this happened the day the paper came out. They explained that the girl writing the ad saw the Blue Moon name I had chosen for my business and wrote paranormal without even noticing she had got it wrong. They apologised and made some placating noises, offered to run my advert correctly for a month for free, that sort of thing. The paper was published and in circulation though, so whether I liked it or not, for the next two weeks I would be a paranormal investigator at the Blue Moon Investigation Agency.
I remember being distinctly irked about the advert and sitting in my office convinced that I could just shut up shop until the advert ran correctly again in two weeks’ time. Well, I was wrong. The morning the advert ran I received my first phone call at 0912hrs and had a further three enquiries the same day. I have enjoyed a steady stream of business clients ever since.
That was six months ago. I kept the business name, kept the advert running and keep wondering if maybe I need to take on additional staff. Mostly, I investigate strange events which turn out to be one too many vodkas but mixed in with the stupid ones are cases that take some effort to solve. Included in this list have been a man that was attacked by a werewolf, which turned out to be a drugged-up, hairy, homeless person with no shirt, a couple that had suffered a series of bad luck incidents and believed they have been cursed by their great Aunt Ida (who is definitely a witch, she has a black cat), but were just plain unlucky and an old lady who was being kept awake by ghostly noises but turned out to have a flatulent dog.
Knowing with utter conviction, like any sane person, that the whole paranormal world is a load of fantastic nonsense, meant that I could ignore exploring the possibility that a werewolf was genuinely running around Chatham or Aunt Ida was a witch throwing curses at her lesser relatives and thus find a solution to each case that generally presented itself as obvious once the paranormal had been discounted. The best bit was that people paid me to politely point out how daft they were.
This morning I received a tip-off about the third victim of a killer dubbed “The Vampire”. I am off to investigate it now actually, if you want to come with me…
Writer of ghosts and devils and all things of mythological genesis. And sometimes, those things have a sense of humor...