Scene Stealer by Elise Warner
Scene Stealer, a new mystery by Elise Warner, stars Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher living in New York’s Greenwich Village. The determined Miss Weidenmaier wants to help the police find a missing nine-year-old boy. But when she finds that no one is taking her seriously, she takes matters into her own hands. Scene Stealer is Augusta’s story, but the minor characters have a lot to say. Here they literally steal the scene and fill us in on their thoughts.
“A group of us have gathered together and made a decision. It’s time for Scene Stealer’s secondary characters to offer their POV about the players in Elise Warner’s cozy mystery.
I’m Sergeant Marjorie Harris, with the NYPD, and for me the story begins when I step outside the stationhouse to sneak a cigarette—I’m down to three a day—and a formidable lady introduces herself as Miss Augusta Weidenmaier. Says she has information pertaining to the kidnapping of little Kevin Corcoran. Insists she’ll only talk to the person in charge of the case. That’s Lieutenant Timothy Brown, my boss, a damn good detective. Turns out the lady, a retired school teacher, does have information but she drives Tim crazy. Weidenmaier is determined to help the police find the nine-year old. Have to suppress a smile whenever she tangles with Tim; that tough cop is intimidated. Told me she’s the spitting image of his elementary school principal. Nothing will stop that woman.”
“My turn to speak, I’m Annalise Sheridan and you think I’m a minor character but if you read Scene Stealer you’ll know I’ll be a star someday. That’s why I work as Lawrence Dunn’s assistant. Larry is the producer/director of Saint Genesis Theatre and a great Shakespearean actor. America’s answer to Lawrence Olivier—only knows one knows that yet. In my opinion, Miss Weidenmaier is pretty with it; what I mean is if you count the wrinkles on her face you know she’s old but when we were locked in the basement of the theatre, she climbed on top of a table then managed to jimmy the lock on the trap door that leads to the stage.”
“Forget the stage, kid. The prize is television. You readers must have heard of me? Norman Bottoms? The host of Hitting Bottom? Hottest talk show to hit any network in years. Well, it will be the hottest. Kevin Corcoran’s kidnapper called a few days ago—the night of the riot—so I never got to interview the sleaze but he’ll call back and when he does, my ratings will climb sky high. I’ll be bigger than Letterman, bigger than Leno and Oprah? Oprah…Oprah is gonna eat her heart out.”
“Actors, talk show hosts. I could tell you about them. Most have egos bigger than their talent. I should know. Abner T. Bean is my name and I’m Kevin’s agent. He’s a sweet little kid; why would anybody kidnap him? You’ve seen the Cowboy Bob’s Big Bad Burger commercial? The one where he dances with animated cartoon characters? Really upped their sales. I represented Kevin on that one. I can’t believe the commercial’s sponsor is auditioning other kids. No loyalty. Kevin is talented and if we find him, and his friend Augusta Weidenmaier assures me we will, I’ve got an audition for him. Broadway—a part kids would give their wisdom teeth for. I plan on representing Gussie Weidenmaier too. Got her a job as an extra in a film being shot in Central Park. Betcha I could dig up a few commercials for her; school teacher types are in this year.”
“I’m back, Sergeant Marjorie Harris. If you’d like to know more about us and the major players in Scene Stealer, take a look at our book.”
Elise Warner has written for the Travel Section of The Washington Post and magazines such as Enchantment, American Spirit, Kaleidoscope, Mystery Time, In Buona Salute, The Gold Prospector and Historic Traveler and the e-zines, Literary Traveler, International Living, Time Travel-Britain, and Desert Rambler. Small Time, a play won Theatre Guinevere’s Guinny Award and was part of the Maxwell Anderson Playwright’s Series. A piece about Jackie, her theatrical poodle, was included in the anthology Good Dogs Doing Good. Scene Stealer is her debut mystery.
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