A Chat and a Chai with … Eliza Gordon

When a radio shock jock is killed, it’s up to Eliza to make sure the murderer will face the music. 

It’s summertime, and in Goodship, New York, the living is anything but easy. Controversial radio shock jock Paul Hackett is found strangled to death with his headphone cord around his neck in the studio of local radio station WSHP. There’s little evidence beyond the initials V.O.S. scrawled across the studio window in red lipstick and a list of suspects that could easily fill the Goodship phone book.

And that’s not all. Eliza Gordon, former soap star turned local soup aficionado and amateur sleuth and her pal and unwitting snooping partner radio DJ Midge Sumner must contend with in Dead Silent the second in author Amy Beth Arkawy’s Eliza Gordon Mystery series. I sat down with Eliza to get the scoop on soup, soups and solving crime.

Chloe: What’s the soup de jour at Soup Opera today? I’ve been wanting to drop by for a bowl.

Eliza: Quiet as a Clam Chowder. But come in early. It’s a favorite and always sells out!

Chloe: As an ex-soap actress, do you find your acting skills help you in your investigating?

Eliza: Absolutely. I think I’ve learned a few things about turning on the charm at the right time. But then again, I never won an Oscar or, as Detective Duckheimer calls it, an ‘Emily.’

Chloe: Ha! When radio shock jock Paul Hackett is found strangled to death with his headphone cord, what prompted you and your friend Midge Sumner to investigate?

Eliza: Hackett was killed at Midge’s radio station so it really hit home. Of course, I don’t think we could resist sleuthing even if we tried. But don’t tell Tom. He knows, but don’t tell him anyway.

Chloe: You mean Tom Santini, Goodship’s dishy police chief. We’ll get to him soon. But first…at the scene of the crime, when you found VOS, scrawled in red lipstick, did you flash back to your old soap opera days? That’s pretty dramatic.

Eliza: Ah, you’re giving everything away. But, actually, Midge was the one who discovered the infamous calling card. So you’d have to ask her.

Chloe: Tell me about the Goodship Grapevine and how it was causing trouble in town?

Eliza: Oh, that gossip web site popped up in late May I think, scrolling all sorts of rumors about my fellow Goodshipians. Some hateful things about alleged tax cheats and adulterers.  It really got people fuming.

Chloe: Now for the fun stuff. How are things are going with Tom Santini? Don’t ask me why but I’m always interested to see if cops and amateur investigators can make a go of their relationships. I said don’t ask me why! 

Eliza: It’s not easy, that’s for sure. But there’s something special between the adorable police chief and me that is undeniable. Too soon to know if we can work through the tensions.

Chloe: How did having your late husband’s brother Jonas around complicate matters?

Eliza: Jonas‘s return to town definitely sparked a mélange of unexpected emotions. But he is such a wonderful guy. I wish Eddie had known his brother better. And I hope he sticks around a while so readers and other visitors will get to know him better, too.

Chloe: Your author Amy Beth Arkawy is a playwright as well as a novelist. Did she ever secretly want to write for soap operas – I mean daytime dramas – as well?

Eliza: You’d have to ask her. For some reason while she seems to know everything about me (well, when I’m ready to reveal myself) I know very little about her.  But I did hear a rumor about her teenage soap opera addiction.  Just a rumor, though, so it may be about as reliable as an item in the Goodship Grapevine.

Chloe: What does Amy Beth have planned for you next?

Eliza: I have no idea, but I’m sure it will involve murder and romance. Just another day in the sleepy hamlet of Goodship.

Chloe: Ha. Good luck with that!