Tue
Jan 17 2017 4:00pm

Charley Davidson’s Crime-Solving Tips (Supernatural Abilities Required)

In celebration of Darynda Jones's newest Charley Davidson mystery, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (available January 24, 2017), we sat down with Charley herself and asked her for some crime-solving advice. Fair warning: some supernatural abilities are required. 

A lot of people think that because I’m a private investigator who also happens to be the grim reaper, solving cases must be insanely easy. They could not be more wrong. It’s one thing to know whodunit. It’s another to prove it.

But I thought, for the sake of education, I’d break down my normal procedure when solving a crime. Some of my resources might not be as easily accessible to you as they are to me, but hopefully this will help in a general grand-scheme kind of way.

1. First, I drink coffee. A lot of coffee. Then, I get all the info I can from the person/people who hired me. I ask them everything I can think of. Sometimes people have more information than they think they do, and ferreting out that info is part of the job. (Also, as the grim reaper, I can tell when someone is lying or if they feel guilty. This lets me assess their part, if any, in the crime. It’s amazing how many people will hire a PI when they are guilty just to make it look like they are concerned and willing to do whatever it takes to solve said crime.)

2. Next, I drink more coffee. Then, I talk to witnesses, friends, and family of those involved. (Again, human lie detector. I often find the guilty party before the investigation has really begun.)

3. If I still haven’t shaken anything loose, I drink more coffee and talk to dead people. If the case is about a murder or a missing person believed dead, I can sometimes summon the victim and just politely ask him or her who had a hand in their demise. But the departed usually move on to the next plane, a plane to which I have no access. Thus, even for me, solving cases involves good old-fashioned investigative work. And luck.

4. So, my next step (besides drinking more coffee) is to call in my crack team, which consists of my fashion-challenged assistant Cookie, my skip tracer friend Swopes, my departed thirteen-year-old investigator Angel—Angel can go places no living person can and he will often get clues from overheard conversations, etc.—and another friend who can do things others can’t, a former slave demon named Osh’ekiel. Osh for short.

5. By this point, I’ve had a crap ton of coffee, but some salient clue has usually surfaced and we can work off that. This is often the part where my surly husband, one Mr. Reyes Alexander Farrow, insists that what I’m doing is too dangerous and asks me why I’m risking life and limb for a perfect stranger. I remind him nobody is perfect. Gawd, I love clichés. And coffee. Mostly coffee.

6. So, by now I am super caffeinated and fairly confident I know all the most important aspects of the case, aka the whos and whys and wheres. Next, I have to prove them. This is where I drink more coffee and call in my curmudgeonly uncle Bob, a detective for the Albuquerque Police Department. We set up some kind of sting to get the guilty party to cop to his or her actions. The whole production involves a concentrated effort of my entire team and a lot of luck. No, seriously, luck plays a HUGE role in my life.

7. The guilty party is caught, and I can go on to my next important life decision. Like Mexican or Italian. Being the only grim reaper this side of eternity takes a lot out of a girl. Sustenance is key.

Okay, if you are a PI or thinking about becoming a PI, this how-to might not be the perfect match, but if there's one thing we can agree on it's this: coffee is always an idea!
 

Comment below for a chance to win a copy of Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones!

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TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2017/01/charley-davidson-crime-solving-tips beginning at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 17, 2017. Sweepstakes ends 2:59 p.m. ET January 24, 2017. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

 

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Darynda JonesNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author, won a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. A born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

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124 comments
Deborah Colgrove
3. dcolgrove1969
I can't wait to read the results of all that hard labor and coffee.
bill norris
4. bnchile
Sounds awesome, I'd love to check into it more.
Juanita Foster
6. J.R.
I love all of Charley's adventures and would proudly wear the t-shirts.
Juanita Foster
6. J.R.
I love all of Charley's adventures and would proudly wear the t-shirts.
9. Shirla
The way Charlie spells out her detection methods is what I have observed in listening to her books on tape. She should be floating away with the amount of coffee she inhales. Love the stories.
Misch Brannock
10. Mishmash
Love love her books...how neat to have the chance to win one
Susanne Troop
11. mrstrooper
I think I have read one of her books before! Love to read!
Susanne Troop
11. mrstrooper
I think I have read one of her books before! Love to read!
Tamra Phelps
12. TamraPhe
You know, I haven't read any Charley Davidson yet but it sounds good. I like a little humor in my death books!
Agnes Marshall
13. AgnesM
Love to read/start reading her books.
Pat Murphy
14. murphyp2011
Coffee and a mystery. What could be better.
Jana
16. Jana
I love Charley. And Reyes, Cookie, & the whole team - just not coffee.
zarah
17. zarahf
I passed this cover the other day on Goodreads and it got my attention. Glad for the extra info.
Russ Cross
18. Inertia-Lad
Sounds very interesting. I would love to read this!
Vernon Luckert
19. vl4095
Looks like a good read. I like to have a cup of hot black coffee when I read!
Patrick Murphy
20. Ditch
I am not a coffee drinker, but would still like to read this.
T Alexander
22. Talex
Sounds like an interesting read, though I am not a coffee drinker ;)
Diane Chenier
23. slcrose
Coffee and shower no morning is complete without either
Susan Wilkinson
24. srw59
Thanks so much, my sister and I enjoy the series. She can drink the coffee, I'm a tea person.
Joanne Mielczarski
26. jtmswim
Thanks - I can use some crime-solving tips!
Margot Core
27. AnnaZed
Before today I have never heard of this series, but now I'm interested! I agree; coffee is always an idea!
30. MaryDeb
I am up to 4th Grave Beneath My Feet! Great escape books!
Tricha Leary
31. trichie
I have read 2 books in this series and they are fantastic
Gayle Jackobs
32. gaylej
I have read only one of this series and love it, would love to read this one, thanks.
33. Kim Fox
These are very valuable tips, especially about the need for coffee! Can't wait to read the next book! Wonderful series!
36. Nellbell
Love, love, love this series
Janelle Harold
37. Nellbell
Love this series and highly recommend to all my friends
John Smith
38. jsmith2jsmith
I've been looking for some shiny silver boots like those on the cover, but where can I buy a gold lame jumpsuit???
40. Norma Ferrari
Such a great series. The Chaper headings always make me laugh. I even write them down in my notebook so I can read them aloud to others and laugh some more. Currently reading number eight. Looking forward to reading the newest "Eleventh Grave in Moonlight".
Norma
41. normajean
Such a great series. The Chaper headings always make me laugh. I even write them down in my notebook so I can read them aloud to others and laugh some more. Currently reading number eight. Looking forward to reading the newest "Eleventh Grave in Moonlight".
Jennifer VonBartheld
44. JenV
So excited. Definitely one of my favorite series!!
45. denise smart
Love the fact she lives on coffee ... as i do, love this character and have been a fan since you began...
Pat Dupuy
46. Pat D
I love these books! And I do love an entertaining smartass.
Ellen
47. Neroon
This sounds different and I like different.
Deb Philippon
50. DebP
I haven't read these books yet, but they sound like a very entertaining read. Count me in and wish me luck!
Debra Schwartz
51. DebraSauriol
With enough coffee and Reyes I don't think I'd even worry about solving any crimes.
54. librarypops
I love coffee, but I am not sure anyone could survive that much on a regular basis, but solve on!
Jim Belcher
55. librarypops
I love coffee, but I am not sure anyone could survive that much on a regular basis, but solve on!
56. elainehroberson
A great series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.
57. Tanya Jenkins
I LOVE every one of these books!
Karen Terry
58. bblol65
I am begining to love supernatural thrillers.
Kinsey White
59. kinseywhite06
I stumbled upon the Charley Davidson series one day while I was at the library. I checked out 1 and 2 and kept going back until one day when I went back for number 5, someone had checked it out 6 months before and never returned it. I almost died. So naturally, that same day, I went online and bought all the books, ten had not been released yet. So I preordered number ten and finished reading what books I did have of the series until my newest book arrived. Now, I have been waiting since June of 2016 for number Eleven. If there is one thing I have learned reading this series, I cannot get enough. I have even read the in between books (Glow, Shimmer, For I have Sinned). I have read the entire series (1-10) twice since 10 came out waiting for Eleven to come out haha! I LOVE Darynda. She is an excellent author and I'm positive that Charley was based off of Darynda's own personality because if you have ever talked to her, you'd think you were talking to Charley herself haha
Mark Bailey
60. stromboli
I love a book that keeps you reading. This sounds like a great read.
Jean Dickinson
61. justjean
I'd love to be "introduced" to Darynda Jones' supernatural crime solving tips in latest "Eleventh Grave in Moonlight".
Jean Dickinson
62. justjean
I'd love to be "introduced" to Darynda Jones' supernatural crime solving tips in latest "Eleventh Grave in Moonlight".
Saundra K. Warren
63. shortiew
I have the first ten so I need this one too!!!
Michele Beyke
64. beykemic
I have loved Charley from the first snark! Can't wait to see what she's up to next.
Michele Beyke
65. beykemic
I have loved Charley from the first snark! Can't wait to see what she's up to next.
Victoria Sloboda
66. jovial_1
I'm a mocha lover just like Charley. Love her :)!
Jane Schwarz
67. Janeschwarz
I have enjoyed your series very much and am still working my way up the number count. Love your take on coffee but I would never be able to handle the urn full she drinks. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of ELEVENTH GRAVE IN MOONLIGHT.
Christiana Newton
68. crnewton93
It would be an amazing birthday gift to receive a copy of Eleventh Grave in Moonlight. (My birthday is January 25th.) However; either way, I am very excited to have my favorite coffee-loving grim reaper back in action.
Carl
69. Carl Scott
This is definitely right up my alley. Bring on the coffee and thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Heather Brown
70. jewlyrose
I can't wait for this next installment!! My favorite series!!
74. Linda A
More than figuring out a mystery, I wish I had the mind to be able to write a mystery.
Carolyn Bybee
75. CSB
I love the Charley Davidson series, well written and often hilarious. I am always on the lookout for the next book in the series.
76. M L
Coffee, more coffee and a great book. What else could an avid reader of Darynda Jones ask for
M Lee
77. Emell
Coffee, more coffee and a great book. What else could an avid reader of Darynda Jones ask for
79. Genre Minx Book Reviews
I am soooo looking forward to this book! A fantastic series!
Minx Genre Minx Book Reviews
80. Minx
I am soooo looking forward to this book!
JAMES LYNAM
82. jpl123456
Love to read with a good cup of coffee.
alyce poalillo
84. alycep
I love the supernatural component here.
Sandra Slack
85. mz.pembroke
I would love this book, I like the paranormal angle.
Paula Strickland
87. theamira
I can still remember reading the first book in this series.
susan beamon
89. susanbeamon
While I don't drink coffee, I still can get overcaffeinated too. I do enjoy the series and sure would love a copy of the new book.
johnna smith
96. johnnabooks@hotmail.com
I have never read this author or series. Have been seeing a lot of promos on her lately and I must say, I HAVE to try her out!! Thank you for the chance to win a print copy of her newest title
Kayce Crews
98. yadgirl
The author and I both share a love for coffee.
Amanda Dean
100. eyreamos
I love this series. I'ts my favorite. I want my very own Reyes
103. dalep
I enjoy both the books and the tv series, though the tv character is not sytled in keeping with my idea of Agatha Raisin.
Carl White
105. CarlWhiteEntry
Hhmmm, coffee, I find that crack works much better for solving crimes.
Annette Estell
106. AEKZ2
I love coffee, too! I drink it right up until I go to bed.
Annette Estell
106. AEKZ2
I love coffee, too! I drink it right up until I go to bed.
109. Roger Deming
great stuff
Philip Lawrence
110. Pooch
Coffee addiction makes for a great book!
Heather Cowley
112. choochoo
Steps 1 through 3 covered. Need crack team!
Jerry Marquardt
115. versatileer
Thanks for trowing the Charley Davidson’s Crime-Solving Tips (Supernatural Abilities Required) Sweepstakes.
Darlene Goodman
116. darlenesbooknook
Charley makes me laugh! Thanks for the chance to win.
Linda Peters
117. linnett
sounds like a good winter read, thanks
Linda Peters
117. linnett
sounds like a good winter read, thanks
JAMES LYNAM
118. jpl123456
A good mystery & an Irish Coffee is all I need to be HAPPY.
Rita Anderson
119. tefenut
How did Darynda Jones escape my radar? Funny, witty and paranormal. OK, now I'm hooked. I'll be ordering the first book in the series and play catch-up.
Mark Bailey
120. stromboli
A quiet place with a coffee and a great book. What could be better
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