Today Saralyn Richard is here to talk about her debut mystery novel. MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, ©2018 Black Opal Books, pulls back the curtain on the privileged and powerful rich. Set on a gentleman’s farm in Pennsylvania and in the tony areas of New York, the book shows what happens when someone comes to a party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.
Preston Phillips, former Treasury Secretary, financial wizard, and charismatic playboy, is invited to a weekend party of mostly college friends. Unfortunately, almost everyone detests him, so when he arrives with his new young wife, the dynamics of the group crackle with drama.
Throughout the Friday night dinner, Preston’s eyes are glued to the exquisite Margo Rinaldi, whom he jilted at the altar years ago. When Margo excuses herself from the table, Preston also leaves. Away from the eyes and ears of his wife and others, he makes a play for Margo.
That sets off a chain of events leading to murder and the case that will make–or break–Detective Oliver Parrott’s career.
RONNIE: Why did you choose to write about the ultra-wealthy?
SARALYN: I’ve been fascinated for a long time with how different people view money and material things. There’s been a lot of attention, some of it negative, on issues related to America’s wealthy—Occupy Wall Street, income inequality, generational wealth—and I thought it would be interesting to explore how the one percent feels in this particular limelight. Playing the rich characters against the regular people who work to solve the crime was a fun aspect of writing the book.
RONNIE: Some scenes in the book take place on a horse farm in Pennsylvania, while others take place in New York City. Did you have a preference for one setting over the other?
SARALYN: I enjoyed writing about both settings, as there are benefits and drawbacks for each of them. The country mansion in Brandywine Valley is a peaceful place, full of natural beauty and lovely restaurants and shops. It is a perfect place to have a party, away from the public eye, and secluded from the lights and noise of the city. On the other hand, there is noplace brighter, louder, or more energizing than Manhattan, the heart of America’s finances and the center of high society. It’s marvelous to observe the way the party guests glide so effortlessly between these two worlds.
RONNIE: What do you hope readers will take away from MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT?
SARALYN: Like all murder mysteries, MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT presents readers with an intellectual and emotional puzzle. Along the way, there are some quirky characters, some naughty behavior, and some humorous dialogue. What I hope is that readers will connect with all of the book’s elements. Once it is in their hands, it is all about the readers’ thoughts and feelings, their responses and their enjoyment.
Praise for MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT
The twists unravel, then turn around and bite you. Saralyn Richard’s take on the classic murder mystery is fresh, fun, and deadly. –Bob Bickford, Deadly Kiss, ITW Best First Novel Award winner
The festering secrets and grievances of the idle rich make for a combustible combination during a weekend birthday gathering in bucolic Pennsylvania horse country… With a crisp, felicitous prose style, and a vivid eye for the kind of detail that conjures a world and characters of dimension, Saralyn Richard stakes claim to territory pioneered by P.D. James and Agatha Christie… An impressive, page-turning debut… The perfect beach read. –Mark Valadez, Executive Story Editor, USA Network’s “Queen of the South” Crackle’s “The Oath”
Some might call Murder in the One Percent an American cozy with nods to contemporary social issues. I call it a page-turner packed with humorous lines that made me laugh out loud. Or maybe it’s best to call this delightful mystery a satire about the upper class. However you describe it, Saralyn Richard successfully delivers a rollicking whodunit that will make you stay up late at night and leave you guessing until the very end. Move over, Dame Agatha Christie. There’s a new kid on the block. – Ann Weisgarber, The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel DuPree
In this Detective Parrot mystery, Author Saralyn Richard gives the reader convincing insight into the lives of 21st century party-going one-percenters, many with a motive for murder, and a puzzle worthy of Dame Agatha. –Susan P. Baker, Author of Unaware, A Suspense Novel
Newcomer Saralyn Richard rolls out a swanky Rolls Royce of a novel in her debut mystery, Murder in the One Percent. It’s no simple task to clothe a troupe of shallow, upper-crust characters in true-to-life garments, but with this one, you can smell the over-priced cologne and catch the atomic blast blinding glare of perfect teeth while you settle in for the slow burn—there’s as much intrigue here and build-up as the best the genre has to offer. Ms. Richard has a modern winner in Detective Oliver Parrott, a real cop’s cop. If there’s a sequel coming, I’ll want first dibs. –George Wier, author of the Bill Travis Mysteries and co-author of Long Fall From Heaven.
“An Everyman detective is asked to solve a murder in a wealthy community in which ample motives and abundant resources make everyone a suspect. Detective Oliver Parrott, who takes charge of the case, is so struck by the partygoers’ consensual impressions of the selfish businessman that he realizes the case may be more about who didn’t kill Preston than who did.” –Kirkus Reviews
Mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a writer who teaches on the side. Some of her poems and essays have won awards and contests from the time she was in high school. Her children’s picture book, Naughty Nana, has reached thousands of children worldwide.
A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn is revising her second mystery. Saralyn loves to visit with readers and meet with book clubs and organizations. Her website is www.saralynrichard.com.
Her social media links are: https://www.facebook.com/saralyn.richard,
Purchase Murder in the One Percent at https://www.amazon.com/Murder-One-Percent-Saralyn-Richard/dp/1626947716/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1517072668&sr=8-2&keywords=murder+in+the+one+percent
Please feel free to leave comments and questions for Saralyn.
The Sign Behind The Crime,
Sounds like a winner, Saralyn. It always adds interest to a mystery when it explores unconventional settings and characters. (Unconventional to the “other 99%,” at least.)
Thanks, Mark. I appreciate your encouraging comment! 🙂
What a great post Saralyn, and I adore the book cover. Good luck – I’m off to order my copy now 🙂 Mollie xx
Thank you, Mollie! Your encouragement means a lot to me! 😉
Great interview. I can’t wait to read it.
Thank you, Katie. I’m eager to hear how you like it! 🙂
A wonderful interview. Your novel sounds intriguing. In the times we live in, the “one percent” is a ripped-from-the-headlines topic of conversation. How do the other half live and die?
I wish you success with your book.
Thank you, Daniella. Your good wishes mean the world to me! 🙂
Thank you, Zari. I can’t wait to introduce you to Preston Phillips. He’s quite a charmer, if I say so, myself. Except when he’s not. I hope you find him as fascinating as I do.
“The perfect beach read,” That’s what Mark Valadez says. I say, “The perfect cabin fever read!” It’s time to escape. Go live with the rich for a while.
Thanks, June. It certainly is the season for cabin fever’ perfect for this locked room mystery. I’m grateful for your comment.
Many thanks to you, Ronnie Allen, for hosting me on this awesome blog! It’s wonderful to share my writing journey with you.
Hi Saralyn, You’re very welcome. My pleasure. Glad we’re friends. Best, Ronnie
Great post! Looking forward to reading this murder mystery. Sounds intriguing and like most everyone, who isn’t curious about the Uber wealthy🥂