This month, Fabulous Florida Writers is pleased to welcome guest blogger Diane Weiner. Weiner is a former teacher turned mystery writer who is the author of ten Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries and three Sugarberry Falls Mysteries. She was our featured author on March 2, 2018.
Murder is Medical, the tenth book in my Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries, begins with retired teacher turned sleuth Susan Wiles attending her son’s Match Day ceremony in St. Louis. Yes, this is based on real life experience. My husband and I flew to St. Louis last spring to attend our son’s ceremony at Washington University Medical School. It’s an exciting day for fourth year medical students and their families—in my opinion, even more so than graduation.
Let me explain Match Day. When you finish medical school you’re a doctor, but you’re not really a doctor. You have to do more training to become the specific type of doctor you want to be. This training is called residency. Senior year of medical school is spent applying and hopefully interviewing at hospitals where you wish to do your residency. Medical students rank their choices, and the residency programs rank their applicants.
If two students are a couple, and are graduating and heading to residency at the same time, they can ask for a “couples match” to end up in the same hospital or city. My son and his girlfriend did this and are doing their residencies together in St. Louis. She is specializing in emergency medicine, and my son is specializing in radiology. In Murder is Medical, Cara and Evan are based on my son and his hopefully one day, fiancée. Susan wants the engagement to happen as much as I do!
Medical schools download a top-secret, computer generated list matching the students to programs and print out a letter for each student. Each letter goes into a sealed envelope which cannot be opened until noon on Match Day. Students all over the U.S. open their envelopes at the same time, at noon, on a Friday in the middle of March. Some schools make this a public event (i.e.: Wash U), while others have students open their letters privately.
This event sparked an idea. In my book, a professor has a reception at his home following Match Day. When he dies right as he’s making a toast, Susan can’t help getting involved. Her detective daughter is there also, and before flying home, introduces Susan to Detective Jazmin Lowe, and her mother, Valerie.
Valerie and Susan are quite the dynamic duo and work together to “help” the police. A medical crisis involving Susan’s husband, Mike, keeps them in town longer than expected, and Susan is up for a distraction. My publisher and I liked the character of Valerie so much that she may be visiting Westbrook, New York to team up with Susan again in a future book.
Susan Wiles is a strong, smart, character who sometimes is too fearless for her own good. Her brave front disintegrates whenever her family is threatened, not just by the ‘bad guys,’ but by things that can happen to us all as we progress along life’s course. She battles Type 2 diabetes, and constantly struggles with her weight. In Murder is Medical, her husband has a major, life-threatening health crisis which brings forward Susan’s paralyzing fear of losing him as well as her financial concerns. If Mike can’t work, how will they pay the bills?
While this is book 10 in the series, this mystery happens away from the home setting of Westbrook, New York (a small town 90 miles or so north of NYC), so the reader won’t feel lost if it is read out of sequence. Throughout the series, Susan butts heads with her detective daughter, Lynette as she gets involved in school related crimes. After all, Susan was a teacher and offers unique insights as well as inside connections. Hopefully, once you meet Susan Wiles, you’ll want to spend more time with her!
For more information, visit the author's website at www.dianeweinerauthor.com.