This sounds like an author who is on my wavelength, when it comes to slightly tongue-in-cheek, humorous mysteries.
I have only recently discovered that I actually enjoy reading these quirky, ‘off-beat’ mysteries, with their generally equally creative cover art. Personally, I really like the description afforded to this style of writing, which author Sherban Young, an established exponent of the genre, gives to his work, he tags it as a ‘mystery caper’.
I first came across Lenhardt’s name, when Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader’, posted a review of ‘The Haplesss Valet’, which left me smiling as I read it and sometime beyond!
I am instantly drawn towards an author who shows a genuine interest in not only articles which are published about their work, but also the comments and feedback which readers leave. I left a comment, following Gilion’s excellent review and Lenhardt sent me mail within hours, offering me a copy of ‘The Hapless Valet’, for review. I have only just had the opportunity to schedule the book into my reading planner, so I am looking forward to meeting ‘Draper Burns’ very soon!
So … who is Lenhardt Stevens?
When I asked Lenhardt for a short biography to introduce himself to a wider audience, this is what he had to say:
I wish I could report to you that I won a gold medal in London for saber fencing; however, I live a more pedantic life in Portland, Oregon, USA, as a lawyer, formerly, and property manager and business investor, currently. I’ve written several novels, all with the Pacific Northwest as the actual or spiritual setting, before my debut publishing of ‘The Hapless Valet’. Although I’ve had sojourns in the Far East, Micronesia and east coast U.S., Oregon is where I grew up, work, snow ride, sail, beach comb, went to school and raised my family. Portland makes an excellent setting to energize the detective genre. It’s a city of recent transplants from all over the world looking for adventure, an indie lifestyle and intrigue; kind of a Casablanca with inclement weather and microbrews.
Lenhardt uses his writing, as a time to relax and be creative, as a catharsis to his ‘day job’, which is administrative and devoid of artistic creativity. As such, he does not put himself under time constraints to write a certain number of words at a time, or rush manically to complete a story.
Although Lenhardt already has an idea for another book on the drawing board, it is not a follow-up to ‘The Hapless Valet’. However, with his desire to create interesting characters and situations, to set his work apart in the already saturated mystery marketplace, I think that some more ‘Draper Burns’, is just what we need.
You can read the full transcript of Lenhardt’s interview with Gilion@ Rose City Reader, here.
Talking of which …
In this offbeat mystery, Draper Burns, the titular valet and, chiefly, troubleshooter for a global media mogul is dispatched to Portland, Oregon where the movie–The Vengeful Forest–is being filmed by a studio recently acquired by his boss. After the screenwriter’s apparent suicide, Burns, sometimes artfully, often clumsily and neurotically, delves into the on-location movie world and underbelly of Portland where intrigues overlap, frustrate his assignment and put his and others’ lives in danger. Movie people, hoodlums, federal agents and Portland characters combine with clever plot twists in a Pacific Northwest setting to make The Hapless Valet a most entertaining read.