I’ve been a doctor in Cabot Cove, Maine, for too many years to admit to. It sometimes seems that I’ve delivered half the babies in town, and have helped countless family members deal with the loss of a loved one. My name is Seth Hazlitt, but most people in town call me “Doc.” They also affectionately refer to me a “chicken soup” doctor, and I proudly accept that moniker. While I keep up with advances in medicine, sometimes a bowl of chicken soup and some TLC is all an ailing patient needs.
Cabot Cove is a good place to live. Although it’s grown over the years it still retains that small town feel. That’s because it’s populated by wonderful people, including one of my very dearest friends, Jessica Fletcher.
Jessica, as millions of people know, is a mystery novelist who also has the unfortunate habit of personally becomin’ involved in real-life murders. I’ve heard it said that Cabot Cove must have the highest murder rate in the country. Well, it’s true that Jessica seems to trip over dead bodies wherever she goes. Folks call her “today’s Miss Marple.” That’s an apt description.
Some people think I’m a bit of a curmudgeon. Mebbe so. Jessica and I have had our differences over the years. I’ve had the misfortune of becoming involved in some of her forays into the messy business of murder. She rarely takes my advice to curb her penchant for pokin’ her lovely, aquiline nose into homicide. She may nod and agree but her actions show otherwise. In a few cases I have consented to play Dr. Watson to her Sherlock Holmes, providing advice as she ferrets out the murderers. But recently our roles were reversed. This is how it happened.
Several years ago I traveled to Cuba with a group of physicians to be introduced to that Communist island’s surprisingly sophisticated health care system. While there I became acquainted with a fine physician, Dr. Alvaro Vasquez, whose research into discovering a cure for Alzheimer’s disease showed great potential. He and his family eventually defected from Cuba and settled in Tampa, Florida, where, with financial backing, he continued his medical investigations. Comes to pass, he invites me to spend a week with him in Tampa just when Jessica winds up her tour there promotin’ her latest book. Madame Fletcher decides to extend her stay so we can enjoy some leisurely time together in sunny Florida.
Our visit started off positively. Al hosted a party at his lovely waterfront home and Jessica and I got to mingle with those near and dear to him. Naturally (and I’m not blaming it on Jessica being there), things went awry at that social occasion. Tragedy struck literally and figuratively. A massive lightning bolt hit the deck and Al collapsed and died. (Tampa is, unfortunately, the lightning capital of the nation). You can imagine the chaos it caused for everyone, both those personally close to Al, and to his professional colleagues. It was tough on me, too. I lost a fellow I considered a good friend.
Although it appeared to everyone that Al was a victim of Mother Nature, it eventually emerged that it wasn’t lightning that killed him after all. Alvaro Vasquez had been murdered, and Jessica and I found ourselves knee-deep in trying to identify his killer. As we dug into Al Vasquez’s life, we discovered that there was a dark side to him. The men who financed his research were not what they appeared to be, and there were family members who didn’t have the same reverence for him as I did. Our questions seemed to provoke certain people and we soon learned that unless we found the answers we could end up sufferin’ a fate similar to that of Dr. Vasquez.
Solving murders isn’t part of my curriculum vitae, but I threw myself into this case and attempted to get to the bottom of Al’s death. Jessica was right there by my side, which I certainly appreciated. She has a way of gettin’ to the nitty-gritty of events and the people behind them, and her insight was invaluable. Nevertheless we found ourselves in danger. We became not only the targets of those who’d been behind Al Vasquez’s murder, we ended up embroiled in the politics of Castro’s Cuba and its anger at seeing one of its leading medical researchers sell what promised to be a major breakthrough to its enemy, the United States of America. We wondered whether we’d ever see our beloved Cabot Cove again.
As has happened numerous times in the past, Jessica’s friend, Donald Bain, who has chronicled her many adventures and misadventures in his books in the “Murder, She Wrote” series, did the same with our hair-raising experience. His book, Prescription for Murder captures what we went through as I abandoned my usual white clinical smock and put on my Sherlock deer-stalker cap, with the inimitable Jessica willingly functioning as my trusty sidekick and conscience, my Dr. Watson.
Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of PRESCRIPTION FOR MURDER to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. Contest ends April 6; US entries only per publisher’s request.
You can read more about Seth in Prescription for Murder, the 39th book in the “Murder She Wrote” mystery series. The first book in the series is Gin & Daggers.
Meet the Author
Donald Bain is the author/ghostwriter of over 115 books, including the best-selling “Murder, She Wrote” series of 39 mysteries, and the latest edition in Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series, Experiment in Murder. His 1960’s airline romp, Coffee, Tea or Me? sold more 5-million copies worldwide, and was reissued by Penguin as a “comedy classic.” His autobiography, Murder HE Wrote: A Successful Writer’s Life, was published in 2006 (Purdue University Press). Don is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, the National Academy of Television Arts & Science, and the Authors Guild. His wife, Renee Paley-Bain, collaborates with him on the “Murder, She Wrote” books.