Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Straight Reading from the Library: The Temporary Detective by Joanne Lessner

Thanks to Goddess Fish Promotions for letting us be a part of this Virtual Book Tour. Joanne will be giving away the following prizes: At each stop, one ebook copy of her novel Pandora's Bottle, inspired by the world's most expensive bottle of wine. A grand prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  To see the other stops on the tour, click here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2013/04/virtual-tour-temporary-detective-and.html


Phones, light typing...and murder.

Think breaking into show business is hard? Try landing a temp job without office skills. That's the challenge facing aspiring actress Isobel Spice when she arrives in New York City, fresh out of college and deficient in PowerPoint. After being rejected by seven temp agencies for her lack of experience, Isobel sweet-talks recruiter James Cooke into letting her cover a last-minute vacancy at a bank. New to his own job, and recently sober, James takes a chance on Isobel, despite his suspicion that she's a trouble-magnet. His misgivings are borne out by lunchtime, when she stumbles across a dead secretary in a bathroom stall. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, Isobel sets out to prove her innocence by investigating the crime herself. While learning to juggle phone lines and auditions, she discovers an untapped talent for detective work--a qualification few other office temps, let alone actresses, can claim.


James Cooke returned to his desk and picked up the completed employment request form for InterBank Switzerland. He rattled the paper nervously.

Half-day, phones and light typing. How hard could it be?


He started guiltily. His boss, Ginger Wainwright, was leaning against the doorframe. An officious, brassy redhead of a certain age who dressed down in an effort to mask her obsessive personality, Ginger had a habit of sneaking up on her staff. She always claimed to be “just passing by,” but she passed by an awful lot. After a week, James still wasn’t used to it.

“How’s it going?” Ginger asked.

“Fine. It’s all good.”

“The young woman who was in here earlier. Potential employee?”

He blinked away an image of Isobel’s long ponytail smacking her in the face and nodded. “Could be.”

“Good. Okay. I was just passing by.”

“Uh, Ginger, just out of curiosity—I mean, for future reference—what do we do with candidates who are smart and well-educated, but have no practical experience?”

Ginger sniffed dismissively. “Send them to Temporama or Sally Nelson and let them get some training. Then if they’re any good, we’ll poach them.”

“We don’t ever take a chance and send them out? If they seem to have a lot on the ball, I mean.”

She gave him a stern look. “We don’t take chances at Temp Zone. That’s why we’re tops. Right?”

“Right,” James answered, forcing his mouth into a deferential smile. “That’s what I thought.”

He listened as Ginger’s heels clacked away down the hall, and her voice echoed into the office of another recruiter.

“Anna? How’s it going? I was just passing by.”

James got up and closed his door quietly. Then he returned to his desk and looked at the request form again.

He had a feeling he’d just made a big mistake.


Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of BloodWrites Award-Winner and Awesome Indies Mystery Pick The Temporary Detective, which introduces Isobel Spice, aspiring actress and resourceful office temp turned amateur sleuth. Isobel’s adventures continue in Bad Publicity. Joanne’s debut novel, Pandora's Bottle (Flint Mine Press), which was inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. No stranger to the theatrical world, Joanne enjoys an active performing career, and with her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, has co-authored several musicals, including the cult hit Fermat's Last Tango and Einstein's Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Her play, Critical Mass, received its Off Broadway premiere in October 2010 as the winner of the 2009 Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition.

The Temporary Detective


  1. Such a fun excerpt thank you. I'm looking forward to reading more.


  2. Thanks for hosting me today! I wonder how many readers have ever worked as an office temp? It has its own set of challenges--even if you don't find a dead secretary in the bathroom!

  3. Isobel Spice sounds like a fun character, I am glad you already have a follow up novel for her complete

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  4. Isobel does sound fun! How many books will she have? Do you know that in advnace or do you keep telling her stories as long as there are interesting tales to tell?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  5. Thanks, all! Catherine, at the moment I'm planning six books, but I wouldn't be surprised if I wind up with more. For one thing, I'm not likely to run out of humiliating audition stories anytime soon, between my and my friends' experiences. The second book, BAD PUBLICITY, is out already, and I'm working on the third. The fourth, which will be a theater mystery, is already percolating. I have a short story, too, that will be available soon for free on my website!

  6. I like the premise of the story.