‘Someone’s going to get killed over this sewer location” was a comment overheard by Los Osos author Sue McGinty. It became the inspiration for her mystery series and debut novel “Murder in Los Lobos.”
For the past two years, Central Coast readers have anticipated when her next Bella Kowalski mystery would publish and if Los Lobos might have another sewer associated crime scene.
Mixing it up, McGinty has moved the crime scene in “Murder in Cuyamaca Beach” due north. She’ll testify that any resemblance to a real place is purely planned coincidence.
McGinty is definitely determined to keep Bella fighting crime somewhere on the Central Coast.
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“I’m deeply moved by a sense of place in stories, and since the Central Coast is so drop-dead gorgeous, I can’t think of a better place to set a mystery,” McGinty said. “If nothing else for the contrast between good and evil, beauty and ugliness.”
In “Murder in Cuyamaca Beach,” Bella, former Detroit nun and current obituary editor at the fictional Central Coast Chronicle, discovers exploitation and murder among the homeless and addicted when she accepts the position of coordinator of the homeless program at Saint Pat’s, her church in Los Lobos.
She has no doubt Cayucans will recognize the Cayucos Pier and “a certain New Year’s Day event, but they may be confused by a maverick rancher who drives local government berserk by taking in the homeless on an ad-hoc basis.”
When “Murder in Los Lobos” hit the shelves, she wasn’t sure how Los Osans would react.
“I was worried. But I think readers understand that I’m just trying to tell an entertaining story, not mount a soap box for one side or the other in the ongoing debacle.”
Her second book is available at local independent bookstores, including Coalesce in Morro Bay, Volumes of Pleasure and Los Osos Book Exchange — both in Los Osos — and Novel Experience in San Luis Obispo.
Before finding her mystery muse, McGinty convinced her employer, publishing house McGraw Hill, that she could write her technical computer manuals from Los Osos, where her son lived. Since relocating, McGinty has memorialized the family on the covers of her two books.
“San Luis Obispo graphic artist Terri Dunivant did a fabulous cover for ‘Murder in Los Lobos’ featuring my granddaughter Katy, then a student at Cal Poly. This time, Los Osos photographer Lynda Roeller featured my son Pat McGinty, a local builder and woodworker, and his wife, Diane, a personal trainer,” McGinty said.
Life is good since Aberdeen Bay agreed to publish “Murder in Cuyamaca Beach.” McGinty says, “I’m living a perfect Jessica Fletcher life. All I need is a basket for my bicycle.”
Reach Judy Salamacha at 801-1422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.