As a kid, I loved nothing more than hanging out with my father, James Percy. We lived on a ranch in Wyoming, and for a young girl growing up in a house of ornery sisters, all that open sky, the horses, and my father’s slow-blossoming smile were symbols of fun and freedom. My dad died when I was thirteen, and my life since then has been a patchwork of change and loss, but I’ve tried to recreate that early peace right here in my own home, a renovated farmhouse outside of Philadelphia.
I guess you could call me the Goldilocks of the legal world. I have a law degree, but I found the practice of law too sedentary. I went to the police academy–too many rules. Private investigating suits me, though. After tracking down my sister’s cheating husband (we’ll save that story for another day), I realized that I wasn’t half bad at following a trail, so now I do it every day, alongside a team of women I trust: Margot, a former nun, Barb, a sort of militant homemaker (when she’s not following bad guys), and Natasha, who spent most of her teen years on the streets. Natasha is a work-in-progress–but then, aren’t we all?
But you want to know about a typical day.
On a typical day, I wake up early. My two horses–Millie, an old rescue brood mare and Spur, my childhood horse–are the first to demand my attention. I spend an hour or two riding and working in the barn. I used to be joined by my dogs, Sampson and Goliath, and a homeless kitten who has adopted the horses. I call her Mittens, but she only answers to the sound of Millie’s neigh and the rattle of the cat food bag. I generally fit in a run after that, if I can. Otherwise, it’s off to the office, where my team and I hunt for missing children, follow straying or bullying spouses and do our part to see that Philly’s abused and betrayed find justice.
You never know when a particular day will mark a shift in your world, though. On the day I received the fateful phone call from Lucinda Mills, maybe, despite an otherwise typical morning, I did have an inkling that somehow my life would take a turn. First, I got a surprise visit from someone in my past. A woman named Katrina Straub came waltzing into Percy Powers, Inc., nose as high in the air as it had been in high school. I told her I was sorry she drove all the way from Virginia for nothing and sent her packing. But she talked about my Mama and my former fiancé, and that alone stirred up all sorts of unwanted emotions. And then Margot, who is in her seventies and about the wisest person I know, started in on me about how we need more help at the office. She wanted to add a guy to the mix. Sheesh. As though I needed more complications in my life.
So that night as I headed home, Margot’s words kept playing back in my head. “Delilah, in life there is no bigger thief than fear,” she’d said, along with a little nagging about letting the world in.
Was she right? Was I afraid of change?
As always, the animals distracted me and I was finally able to retire that evening to a glass of Pinot Grigio, cotton pajamas and a fat ham and cheese sandwich. But the events of the day still reverberated in my mind, leaving an unsettled feeling that I tried unsuccessfully to shoo away like you would a buzzing horse fly.
And then the phone rang.
It was Lucinda Mills, former client and formerly-abused wife. She had a new case. Would I please, please, please meet her the next day? She wouldn’t say more over the phone.
I agreed. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a sob story, and Lucinda’s had been a doozy. Little did I know that this time she’d want me to investigate the murder of her aunt. Little did I know that her aunt was the famous literary author, Miriam Cross. Little did I know that my small group of detectives and I were about to uncover something foul, something that spanned several continents and would see a few more lives lost before all was said and done.
Little did I know that our fight for justice would take on a whole new meaning.
So, a typical day? Well, that sure wasn’t one. But then, you never know when a normal morning will lead to a new adventure.
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Meet the author
W. A. Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. The Seduction of Miriam Cross, published by E-Lit Books, is the first in the “Delilah Percy Powers” mystery series. She has also authored Killer Image (Henery Press), the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series. Find her at www.WATyson.com and on Twitter and Facebook.