Published: March 26, 2016
Number of pages: 242
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery #4
Synopsis:38-year-old formal teen idol Sandy Fairfax is a guest panelist on a TV game show–and the first category is murder! When his brother, a college professor is framed for the murder of one of his student, Sandy investigates, in between fighting with his ex, visiting his kids, wooing his new girlfriend, and presenting a concert at a black tie gala to save his father’s orchestra. Sandy’s ready to tear out his long blond hair as the game points and suspects pile up.
About the author:Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.
Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
The Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series is comprised of: “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper” (2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel), “The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper” and “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.”
She has short stories in two anthologies: “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in” in “Last Exit to Murder” and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in “Plan B: Omnibus.”
Carpenter penned chapter three of the Cozy Cat Press group mystery “Chasing the Codex.”
To atone for her sins of killing fictional people, she also writes the monthly Roots of Faith column for the Acorn Newspapers.
She blogs at http://sandyfairfaxauthor.com and ladiesofmystery.com.
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles.
Find her on Facebook too! https://www.facebook.com/sally.carpenter.54
Character InterviewWhat was it like being a guest panelist on a game show?
TV is old hat for me. I was on “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth” for four years and I’ve done guest spots on other shows. And I’m no stranger to game shows; I appeared on “Hollywood Squares” for a week in the 1970s. I’m an entertainer by trade and nature and I love performing. I’m very comfortable in front of a camera. But I have to admit my stint on the game show “Raise the Stakes” was nerve wracking. First all, the show goes out live with no retakes. I’m used to working off a script or set list. Thinking off the top of my head is hard work. Also, “RTS: is rigged. If the producer doesn’t like a particular contestant, he’ll manipulate the game so he loses. My partner on the show was one of my biggest fans, so I wanted her to do well. But the producer asked me to take a dive to bump her off the show. That galled me. And the worst part of “RTS”? The chairs. The celebrity panelists sat in these ghastly hydraulic chairs that went up or down depending if we were winning or losing. I’ve ridden a ton of roller coasters but that chair was more frightening than anything else I’ve been on.
Did you feel you acting as a detective on a TV show helped you to solve this mystery?
“Buddy Brave” is fiction and here we’re talking about real life crimes. There’s a difference. I suppose my alter ego has helped me in a way. Buddy’s shown me how to be more observant, to see the details that most people miss. I’ve learned how to take all the scattered pieces and clues and to put them together to solve the puzzle. Most of all Buddy’s helped me survive the various attempts the killers have made on my life. It seems that the deathtraps I’ve found myself in were similar to something from one of my TV episodes. These murderers must have been watching my show.
Do you have any regrets in trying to solve the murder on your own?
I would have liked a little more help from my brother in my last case, especially since he was the one being framed for murder. In my other cases, I’ve managed to find a friend or two to assist. No, I don’t regret it at all. I’m proud to help put criminals behind bars. It gives me a good feeling of being needed. However, I never set out to be an amateur sleuth; that job description was forced upon me. Either the police are eyeing the wrong suspect (like me, in my first case), or the cops were simply not doing their job. My only regret is that the killers always try to do me in as well and I’ve had some pretty narrow escapes. In my last case I ruined a perfectly good tuxedo but to say more would be a spoiler.
What was it like playing a detective on TV?
Loads of fun. I was 18 years old when we started shooting “Buddy Brave.” At that age I was gung ho and ready to try anything. I had loads of youthful energy to burn off. I insisted on doing my own stunts, so I got a real workout and learned all about stage fighting. I got to fly down zip lines, climb walls, hang from rooftops, and jump onto moving cars. Great stuff. Of course I loved the fame and adulation (more on that later). Buddy was an undercover spy who went to exotic locations, so each week I got to play around in the fantastic sets or travel to neat places to shoot. I was living every kid’s fantasy. Buddy disguised himself a lot, so the makeup people let me experiment with the paints and prosthetics. I had a terrific supporting cast, older actors who helped me learn the ropes of filming. Oh yes, each episode had a pretty young girl guest star for me to rescue. At the time my hormones were raging out of control and let’s just say when it came to the girl guest star, we had as much fun in my dressing room as we did on the set.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to get into acting?
Go into acting only because you want to be an actor, not a celebrity. If your goal is stardom, you’ll either be very discouraged if you never get on the A-list, or if you do make it, you’ll find noteriety is not all it’s cracked up to be. I became famous at a young age when I was not mentally ready to handle it. I was a millionaire by age 19 and I spent money like it was it was never going to stop pouring in, which eventually it did. My family didn’t know what to do with me, and I didn’t want their advice anyway. If you want an acting career, go slow and steady and keep your feet grounded so that if your big break comes, you don’t fall apart. Surround yourself with good, honest people for support; avoid the leeches.
Truth is, I never set out to be an actor; I was a musician. At the time I sang and played guitar in a rock band. I tumbled into acting by default; every teen idol had his own TV show in the 1970s. I hadn’t even performed in a high school play. So I encourage young actors to learn the craft so they don’t watch their shows year later and cringe at a bad line reading.
Who is your favorite celebrity detective?
Charlie’s Angels. They sure were cute (laughs). Seriously, my favorite TV detective is Jim Rockford. Great stories, plenty of action, a down to earth guy with a sharp sense of humor.
Do you have a favorite mystery series you like to read?
I hate to admit it, but I’m not a reader. Maybe that’s because during my heyday I was just too busy to sit down with a book. And in my drinking years that followed, I couldn’t keep my eyes focused on the page. When I relax I swim in my pool or listen to music or play my guitar or go to a movie or eat out. But I’m trying to read more. I like the Sherlock Holmes short stories; perfect length for my short attention span. I started some Agatha Christie novels but ended up watching the movies instead. I’m reading some cold war thrillers and, of course, you can’t beat James Bond. That’s a classic.
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