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Richard J. Cass Books In Order

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Publication Order of Elder Darrow Mystery Books

In Solo Time (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Solo Act (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Burton's Solo (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Last Call at the Esposito (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Nuns Day Hit (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sweetie Bogan's Sorrow (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Richard Cass is a mystery author from Maine best known for the “Elder Darrow Mystery” series. He wrote “Solo Act” the debut novel of the series in 2016 and the novel was a 2017 Maine Literary Award Finalist in the Crime Fiction category. Cass went to the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his master’s in creative writing alongside Joseph Monninger and Thomas Williams, Jr. He has also studied creative writing with some of the best authors out there including Molly Gloss, Ursula K. Leguin, and Ernest Hebert. For several years, he ran a consulting and technical writing business and also taught creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He is also a member of the Crime Writers of America Maine chapter and is a regular contributor on their blog. Dick is also a member of the Mystery Writers of America New England chapter and is a Member Outreach representative. He has been a contributor to several projects with the Independent Publishers of New England, and the Maine Publishers and Writers Alliance. Richard Cass currently lives with his wife and Tinker their Main Coon cat in Cape Elizabeth, Maine from where he writes his fiction.

Cass has always been interested in writing and wrote his first short story as a sixth-grader. It was a made-up story of a valuable stamp that somebody had taken the effort to hide in the handle of a magnifying glass. He always loved the thrillers and mysteries from the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling, and the more modern authors such as Ian Rankin and Robert Crais. He started writing because he wanted to produce something similar to the works of these authors. As for thematic influences, he cites crime fiction authors George V. Higgins, Dennis Lehane, and Robert Parker. He loves the working-class themes of Lehane, the smart ass voice of Spenser in the Parker novels and the ear for dialogue that Higgins has. Even though it seems logical that he would start writing prose, his first venture into writing was with poetry. After doing poems for a few years, he decided to pivot to short stories given his frustration over a lack of interest in the narrative format he adopted for his poetry. Once he published “In Solo Time,” the debut of the “Elder Darrow Mystery” and had a lot of success, he decided to focus on long-form fiction. He currently has more than five titles in the series.

Richard J. Cass’s debut novel “In Solo Time” was initially pitched as an alcoholic walks into a bar and thinks he should buy it. The inspiration came from Cass’s checkered past, where he spent a lot of time in both seedy and classy places. Cass had at some point in his life worked as a bartender and during his time had realized that there was a lot of story to the faces of his clients. As a bartender, he became a voyeur for stories of the people who came into the bar. He also spent a lot of time frequenting jazz clubs and wanted to distill his experiences for readers in his novel. As a man born and bred in Boston, Cass also wanted to capture the city with its people and institutions like had never been done before. The lead in his series is Elder Darrow, the son of a Brahmin family that has been bankers in Boston since the Revolutionary War era. He went to Exeter and then Harvard but had fallen into alcoholism before he established himself. His father wanted him to get into banking but since he cannot stay sober that path is not open to him for the moment. Apart from his novels, Richard Cass has also published articles, essays, and a collection of short stories in the collection “Gleam of Bone.” He also writes nonfiction on diverse topics such as rivers and oceans, fishing, and environmental topics.

Richard Cass’s “In Solo Time” opens with an alcoholic walking into a bar and then making an offer for it. Elder Darrow was persuaded by Jacquie Robillard his sometimes drinking partner and sometimes lover to use the last of his trust fund to purchase the Boston bar that he intends to make into a jazz nightclub. But before he can make the place profitable, a jazz guitar player named Timmy McGuire turns up dead at his bar. Boston Homicide detective Dan Burton fingers Jacquie for the murder since she had a few run-ins with the artist among several other people. She is also involved with the son of a wealthy landlord in the city who intends to vie for governor of the commonwealth. Burton arrests Jacquie for the homicide but Darrow believes there is something darker to the murder of the guitar player. Jacquie manages to get bail only to end up dead and Elder now has to investigate a conspiracy that goes as far back as Timmy’s childhood. There had been arson in the suburb he lived in as a child which also has something to do with a political conspiracy. Things get very interesting when Alison Somer who had been friends with the murdered guitarist is kidnapped. It is up to Elder to solve the murder and rescue Alison before things get out of hand.

“Solo Act” by Richard J. Cass follows the life and times of Elder Darrow, the new owner of the Esposito bar. He is trying to rebuild the reputation of the once bleak nightspot by managing the soundtrack. He intends to upgrade the club and its clientele the same way he is working on his reputation. His changes start with the management where he swaps in Bill Evans for Paquito Rivero. He then redecorates the interior of the club and hopes to revamp everything in a few weeks. As for his personal life, he has been sober for more than eighteen months even though he has been working as a bartender where the real temptation to drink is. Ever since he bought the bar, his life had been looking up and he had been promised a job at his father’s bank if he managed to stay sober for two years and make a profit at the bar. But when his father dies, he starts to wonder why he still wants to work in banking. One of the regulars at his bar is Dan Burton, a jazz-loving police officer who is investigating the supposed suicide of Alison Somers. He had known Somers and had some kind of relationship with her and he does not think for one moment that she would be the type of person to take her own life.

“Burton’s Solo” by Richard J. Cass opens with Dan Burton in a lot of trouble after he beat up clothing designer Antoine Bousquet, the suspect in the homicide of two seamstresses. His life and job as a homicide detective are in jeopardy even as the man is released from jail without bail because of a mistake the detective made. Things get complicated when Bosquet ends up tortured, beaten, and murdered, and Burton is the prime suspect. He is now the target for the kingpin of the city’s underworld, several Russian gangsters, the dead man’s live-in lover, and the Department of Internal Affairs. His best friend Elder Burrow is also dealing with his own problems as he started dating only to learn that his girlfriend is a big-time burglar. Burton is hiding in an old family home in New Hampshire that his friend Elder organizes for him. Elder thinks his friend may have murdered Bousquet but is willing to give him a chance to explain himself and prove his innocence. He saves him from a murder plot hatched by one of the relatives of the murdered seamstresses and helps save his job at the BPD. Their investigations soon uncover an evil plot to enslave illegal immigrants and using that information they may just prove Burton innocent.

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