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Fugue in a Minor Key

Do Kids and espionage mix?

Fugue in a Minor Key is book four in the Operation Quickline series of romances with espionage intrusions. Or spy thrillers with lots of romance. You can buy your copy by clicking on any of the retailers below. The paperback is $12.99 and runs 184 pages. The ebook is $3.99.

Synopsis for Fugue in a Minor Key

After a hard afternoon waiting in the rain for a contact that doesn’t show, all spy and freelance writer Lisa Wycherly wants to do is go home and read a book by the fireplace. But family matters intervene. Lisa’s nephew Darby is having trouble at school. Lisa’s boss and housemate Sid Hackbirn agrees to let Darby come stay with him and Lisa, not realizing that his own life is about to be turned upside-down. An old friend comes by the house with a boy about Darby’s age who looks remarkably like Sid. Rachel never told Sid that she was pregnant, but now it’s time for Nick to know where he came from.

Lisa suddenly finds her hands full trying to get Sid to acknowledge Nick, figure out what Darby’s problem is, and working undercover to set up a sting on a group of defense plant employees who are selling secrets. It’s a case that gets messier by the minute, with British intelligence sticking their noses in for an unknown reason and the likelihood that there’s a leak connected to Sid and Lisa’s FBI supervisor and friend, Henry James. As usual, it’s hard for Lisa to say whether the greater danger is to her heart or to her life.

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The Story Behind the Story

But behind the wire-rimmed lenses blinked two very familiar piercing blue eyes. The hair had the same dark luster and waviness. And the chin was dimpled. It was impossible, but there he was. – Fugue in a Minor Key

What I’ve always liked about Sid Hackbirn is that he is responsible. He believes in birth control and used it almost religiously before he got his vasectomy. Still, condoms aren’t foolproof. Used perfectly every time, they are 98% effective (which still isn’t 100%). More realistically, it’s only 85%. With as much fooling around as Sid was doing, I find it hard to believe that something didn’t slip up somewhere. So, Nick Flaherty, Sid’s son, seemed pretty inevitable.

I also wanted it to be pretty hard for Sid to deny his role in Nick’s existence, which is why they have such similar features. I’d already set it up that Lisa couldn’t go by Sid’s features to find his father – Sid looks like his aunt and his mother. So, given that, if Nick looks like Sid it’s because he’s Sid’s kid.

What I did not expect was the way that Nick grew on me. Keep in mind, I know him as an adult and even wrote a short story about him set in present times. He grows up to be quite a guy, and that isn’t just Lisa’s opinion. Okay. Maybe I’m not the only one who fell in love with him.

The Title

Oddly enough, the Fugue in a Minor Key actually started with Darby, Lisa’s nephew. Not to drop any spoilers here, but I wanted to explore what happens when parents are doing the best they can and bad stuff still happens. So, Darby’s problem became the first theme (or melody) of the story.

A fugue is a piece of music with intertwining themes repeated, and in this one, the theme of “for the child’s sake” kept popping up, even with the bad guy. Sid plays classical piano. Darby has taken up the violin and gone gang-busters with it. Of course, Sid pulls out Johann Sebastian Bach’s Little Fugue in G Minor to play. Which just plays into the whole theme thing.

I don’t usually work so deliberately with the themes in my work. I prefer to let them just happen because the work usually gets a little labored if I don’t. Fugue in a Minor Key is a rare exception. The theme was conscious, but the story flowed. Better yet, I got to know two of my minor characters in ways I hadn’t planned on.

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