Creativity, Flirtation & Greed Set the Tone in Latest St. Michaels Mystery: “Painted Silver”

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 8.47.21 AMAuthor Susan Reiss uses the Plein Air Easton Art Festival as a backdrop for her new book. It’s a charming summer event… until somebody screams and it all becomes deadly serious. Painted Silver brings together gifted artists who compete for big prizes and fame, elite art collectors searching for their next acquisitions and local characters. For Abby Strickland, the amateur sleuth, love is in the air.

Third in the series that includes “Tarnished Silver” and “Sacred Silver,” the action and the mystery take place on the Eastern Shore with St. Michaels at the center. As a series of cozy mysteries, the emphasis is on the characters, actions and secrets. The theme of the series is sterling silver.

“I started collecting sterling as a young bride. I’ve always enjoyed the elegance and uniqueness of the pieces,” said Susan Reiss, author. “When I discovered there is a long history of silver and silversmiths here on the Shore, I suspected the stories about this beautiful place plus the character ideas triggered by people who live and visit here would make a great combination for a mystery series.”

There is a special element to Painted Silver. An area-wide raffle was held in the spring to benefit the scholarship fund at Chesapeake College and Dr. Eleanor Welsh, a dean at Chesapeake College, won the chance to work with the author to craft a character in the “Name the Character” Raffle.

“I thought it would a fun way to benefit the students at Chesapeake College, which does so much for people on the Shore, and to celebrate a great local event, Plein Air-Easton while having a little fun,” said Reiss.

Welsh’s character is not just a bystander. Her unusual name, Sara-V Gordon, makes her stand out in her appearances throughout the story. The character is a retired banker and Plein Air volunteer with a quirky taste in jewelry. Her take-charge personality heightens the stakes when she chases a mysterious man into the woods with a golf cart with Abby hanging on in the passenger seat.

“Eleanor and I had a great time developing the personality of Sara-V,” said Reiss, “but I must admit we had a little help. Vivienne, her 10-year-old granddaughter, sat with us and added her own ideas about the character. We used many of them.”

Now, the author says, it’s time for reader to enjoy Painted Silver while she starts on the fourth book in the series.

Trained as a concert pianist, Reiss made a drastic career shift after college and spent many years as a television writer/producer. Her work in news as well as entertainment and sports programming gives her a broad background now that she is writing mystery stories set in St. Michaels where she lives with Cody, a black Labrador. The personality and antics of Simon, the puppy who appears in the Silver Mystery series, is based on the of her longtime companion.

Painted Silver is available in local bookstores and shops as well as at as an eBook.