Red Hook Murder: A Daisy Muñiz Mystery
Growing up, I couldn't read enough Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie novels. As an author, I couldn't think of anything cooler than a Puerto Rican Brooklyn girl writing about a Latina sleuth. Enter Daisy Muñiz! Daisy's fresh perspective as an unlikely amateur detective comes by chance. She's just moved to Park Slope, is sobering up, and honing her intuitive skills as she learns about the Spiritist and Orisha traditions. Along with her posse and a simmering romance, Daisy learns how to crack those cases wide open.
Daisy is you and Daisy is me. She wants all those things we do. A comfy bed to sleep in, the moonlight lacing through shadows in the night, and a feeling of being loved and of loving. Daisy appeared on my pages in Nights of Indigo Blue a few years back. She immediately shared information with me about her progress that awakened me to realizing she was not a one book protagonist. A series was born with that first novel. Several years later, a Red Hook mystery featuring Daisy, the wharf, Rod, and her insecurities and growing intuition are back.
I had an early relationship with Red Hook in Brooklyn. As a child I sat in my dad's car reading Betty and Veronica comic books while my father tooled with the engine tucked under the hood. Those hot Saturdays were prized by me. My sister was probably in the hospital. I can't think of why she wouldn't be with me otherwise. I learned that reading was an escape from illness, from separation, and from loneliness. Reading was my friend and the characters, in whose lives I became entangled, became my friends too.
As an adult, I didn't go into Red Hook often. For a time, I only heard of it in the context of the dangers of the neighborhood. When I worked in community mental health, I began visiting clients there. The ones who had AIDS related illnesses and agreed that speaking to a professional might offer some help opened their doors to me. There were apartments in the projects I visited and frame houses that were half renovated with exposed brick walls. The people I sat with shared an intimacy that most of us will never experience. I was grateful and still am.
Red Hook has stayed in my soul. It seemed the perfect backdrop for the second installment in the Daisy Muñiz series. A vintage neighborhood, a water taxi that takes one into the big city of Manhattan, and businesses that merge the families that have lived there for generations with the new ones who have decided to make it their home. The rocks, the factories, restaurants, and the artistic flair make it perfect for us to become engrossed with our friends, Daisy and her posse. See you there.