About My Rose Beecham Mysteries
I’ve always loved reading mysteries and published my first series in 1992, featuring a transplanted American detective, Amanda Valentine. The series caused unexpected ripples in my home country, New Zealand. Not only was Amanda the first senior female detective to take center stage in a New Zealand crime series (women being discouraged from such heady aspirations), but Book One featured a transsexual police informant, Jezebel, who was sympathetically written. Jezebel’s story shone a light on the plight of sex workers in Wellington, the nation’s capital. I duly scandalized my family by writing a feature article on this topic for the country’s largest newspaper, lobbying for the decriminalization of sex workers (a goal finally achieved by Catherine Healy and the NZPC in 2003). My notoriety seemed complete when Book Three in the Amanda Valentine series – Fair Play – was banned in Canada and became part of the Little Sisters legal battle.
Despite the “taint of scandal” surrounding the series, the stories were lightweight. My then-publisher, Naiad Press, preferred mysteries to be romances with investigative window-dressing, a formula that sells as intrigue romance these days. Amanda was a fun character to write and opened doors for me. Research is one of my passions, and as far as possible, I conduct mine first-hand. Thanks to Amanda Valentine, I was invited to attend crime scenes and autopsies, go out on patrol, and to interview remarkable detectives and some convicted felons serving life sentences.
I got bored with writing less-than-mysterious mysteries and sent Amanda riding off into the sunset with her love interest, Debby Daley in Fair Play, ending the series. Ten years later I returned to mystery writing with years of research and a very different kind of book and detective. My Jude Devine series is set in the Four Corners area of Colorado, a location I frquently visit. The first book in the series, Grave Silence, deals with a murder that leads Jude to the FLDS, a polygamist Utah cult that became national news in the USA a couple of years after the book came out. A subplot features a young girl trying to escape that community.
Another ongoing subplot features a risky undercover investigation by Jude into a neo-Nazi cell based in the Four Corners. Jude is also on a personal quest to solve the mystery of her brother Ben’s abduction as a child. Book Four in the series, Ghost Canyon, is a work in progress, one of several I hope to complete over the coming year.
Archive: Amanda Valentine Series
Naiad Press 1992
Introducing Amanda Valentine – Amanda Valentine Series / Book One
Published in the United Kingdom as The Garbage Dump Murders
Amanda Valentine is the pride of the Wellington CIB, and the highest ranked female cop in sleepy New Zealand. Originally from New York City, Amanda moved to the other side of the planet to escape memories of her lover’s brutal death in the precinct house where Amanda worked as a homicide detective.
In Wellington, a monster the press has dubbed the Garbage Dump Killer is on the loose, his victims a grisly jigsaw puzzle of body parts found at the local garbage dump. Dogged by an impatient press, Detective Inspector Amanda Valentine and her task force have been resoundingly unsuccessful in finding the killer – and a police colleague seems hell bent on undermining her every move.
To make matters worse, Jezebel, an informer Amanda cares about, has been savagely beaten and her apartment ransacked for reasons she is too terrified to divulge.
All this, and glamorous blond reporter, Debbie Daley, just won’t leave Amanda alone.
“Introducing Amanda Valentine is an intriguing mystery which introduces a competent and complex cop to the ever growing Lesbian detective genre. And, Beecham has given readers a taste of what her potential is as a writer.” The Washington Blade
Naiad Press 1994
Second Guess – Amanda Valentine Series / Book Two
After a year’s leave of absence in New York City, Detective Inspector Amanda Valentine is looking forward to life in the slow lane in sleepy New Zealand. Instead she returns just in time for the most sensational homicide of the year. The body of Sybil Knight, daughter of a former Ambassador to the United States, has been found trussed and battered in a private room in a lesbian sex club.
Amanda soon finds herself caught between a voracious media and a powerful family determined to cover up the facts. Sybil had many secrets, and as many enemies. Alistair Gray, who believed that Sybil stole a prestigious job rightfully his. Notorious sex club owner Casey Randall. Sybil’s homophobic brother, David Jordan, who would not accept Sybil’s indifference toward him. And even partner Kim, who suspected an affair between Sybil and her therapist. And as for the therapist… Dr. Marlene Friedman is in far more danger than she dreams, for she holds the key to Sybil’s secrets.
“Beecham is a fine writer.” Lambda Book Report
Naiad Press 1995
Place of Exile – Jude Devine Series / Book Three
The son of a Baptist preacher, Bryce Petty looked like a choir boy. But when he was found murdered in Wellington, New Zealand, his less-than-angelic past became front-page news. Bryce, president of the Melbourne-based gay and lesbian broadcasting firm Spectrum Television, had vanished a few months previously, leaving behind him a trail of bad publicity, debts, and a slew of enemies.
New Zealand top cop, Detective Inspector Amanda Valentine, follows the trail to Melbourne, where she and her Australian colleagues join forces to track down the killer. Complicating matters, Amanda’s personal life is in turmoil. Unable to balance careers and commitment, she and her on-again/off-again girlfriend Debby Daley have decided to try an “open” relationship. With Debby away on special assignment to Rwanda, Amanda finds herself increasingly attracted to Detective Sergeant Mary Devine, who is working with her on the Australian end of the investigation.
“An entertaining mystery that leaves the reader with a sense that Beecham’s talent far exceeds the requirements of her publisher.” The Lesbian Review of Books