My brother’s fame is the family curse. We’re a well-respected, talented family and never suffered any bad publicity until Ernest went his own way.
Opal Farmington, our mother, sang with a number of renown big bands before she married. Stanford Farmington, our father, is the founder, conductor and artistic director for the Golden Wing Philharmonic, a small but distinguished orchestra in Southern California. Our sister, Celeste, wrote and recorded two critically acclaimed albums in the 1960s.
As for myself, Warren Farmington, after I earned my doctorate, I took a position at Oak Crest College, a small, liberal arts school. As a tenured professor I carry a full teaching load, serve on several committees, oversee the senior recitals for the keyboard majors, and will probably eventually chair the music department.
I also serve as the house organist for the Terpsichore Theatre in Van Nuys, where I play the Wurlitzer for the Saturday matinee film series and other occasions. I married my college sweetheart and we have three beautiful children. We Farmingtons work hard, stay out of trouble, and enjoy a quiet life.
And then there’s my brother, Ernest.
We all expected Ernest to follow in father’s footsteps and eventually take over the philharmonic. I should have seen the early signs that he’d become the prodigal son. As kids, we were naturally competitive. However, Ernest never seemed to make the mark. His failures shamed him and my successes irked him. As a kid he had a wild side, taking risks and doing dangerous stunts like riding his bike in busy traffic with his eyes closed just for a thrill.
After his freshman year in college, Ernest dropped out of school and joined a rock and roll band. Father was appalled. Next thing I know, I’m in the supermarket and every magazine on the rack had my brother’s mug plastered on the cover—but not his name. No, the big teen idol changed his name to Sandy Fairfax. He was too important to be a Farmington anymore.
I was still in school at the time and the kids teased me endlessly about my brother and the stupid TV show he appeared in. The girls cozied up to me in hopes I’d get them a date with him (didn’t work). By then my brother was too busy living the high life to spend time with his family, so I rarely saw him.
It didn’t stop when I began teaching. On the first day of class, when I wanted to review the syllabus, the students peppered me with questions about the great Sandy Fairfax. I never mentioned our relationship but somehow the kids always found out.
And if you’re followed the news or read the tabloids, you know the rest of the story, how Ernest became a drunk, divorced, ended up in jail, and slept with more women than I’ve had hot meals. With his bad press, it’s a wonder my parents could hold their heads up in public.
Now Ernest has decided he wants to be part of the family again, just when we’d adapted to him being away. He claims he’s clean and sober, and I haven’t seen him take a drink lately, at least when I’ve been with him. He had a new girlfriend too. She seems nice enough but we’ll see how long that lasts.
I have to admit Ernest helped me in a huge way. Someone framed me for the murder of one of my college students. The police picked me as their prime suspect but Ernest found the clues that identified the killer, and he almost lost his life in clearing my name. You can read about this in the new cozy mystery, “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.”
So I suppose Ernest isn’t such a bad guy after all. After all, he’s my brother.
The Quirky Quiz Show Caper is the fourth book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol mystery series, published by Cozy Cat Press, March 2016.
Former teen idol Sandy Fairfax is a guest panelist on a TV game show—and the first category is murder! When his kid brother, Warren, is framed for killing a college student, Sandy makes it his duty to track down the thug before the police move in. After all, Sandy did play a detective once on a hit TV show. Sandy will get right on the case—right after he visits his kids; fights with his ex; woos his hoped-to-be girlfriend, Cinnamon; and convinces his parents he should be the special entertainment at a black tie gala designed to raise funds for his father’s faltering orchestra. All this while he and his biggest fan attempt to “Raise The Stakes” on a rigged quiz show where––wonder of wonders––the murder victim had recently been a contestant. Sandy’s ready to pull out some of his long blond hair as the game points and the suspects pile up.
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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. 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.
In the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol cozy series are: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper (2012 Eureka! Award finalist), 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.” She penned chapter three of “Chasing the Codex,” a group mystery written by 34 authors with Cozy Cat Press.” She blogs at sandyfairfaxauthor.com and Ladies of Mystery. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles. Reach her at Facebook or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Quirky Quiz Show Caper. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 19, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.