I’ve never been to New York, though it’s high on my list of ‘places to go’ – someday. So I was delighted to see that Death Unscripted, Marni Graff’s latest novel, was set in Manhattan. Here’s Marni to tell us something about it:
‘Readers of my Nora Tierney Mysteries, set in England, were surprised when I came out with a new book to see it is the first in a new series, this one set in Manhattan. Death Unscripted is based on my favorite nursing job in a varied thirty-year career, working for Cinema World Studios, still in operation in Greenpoint, NY, which supplies authentic medical equipment and nurse consultants for medical scenes on any show filmed in the Manhattan area. This could be a series, a soap opera, or a made-for-television movie. Most days I was sent to the set of the popular soap, One Life to Live, where I came to know the cast and crew. I also did the show Law and Order, where I’d work with the director and actor to help them create as realistic a scene as could be within the confines of what the directors would call “artistic license” when they deviated from reality.
Years ago when I first met the Queen of British Crime, P. D. James, she’d elicited a promise from me to write a mystery revolving around a character who was a nurse consultant and could give readers a behind-the-scenes look at television. We stayed friends until her death last year but I’ve kept my promise with this second series.
Trudy Genova, RN, is the nurse I’ve created who works on set doing medical consulting for a soap opera filmed for the internet. During taping, a womanizing actor she’s been working with dies suddenly, but not before pointing his finger accusingly at Trudy, bringing her under suspicion for his death. She sets out to clear her name, and when a second death occurs, Trudy realizes she’s put herself in jeopardy. It’s a mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural, as it’s written not only from Trudy’s point of view, but from that of NYPD Detective Ned O’Malley, senior detective on the case. There’s humor, despite the gloomy deaths, and I hope the vibe of New York City in all its glory comes through.
The job is just as Trudy describes it. Some days I worked on faxed script pages from Hollywood movies and shows at home. On set days were for medical scenes filming in New York City. The OLTL studio was a lovely old armory building directly across from the ABC Broadcast studios and headquarters that still take up an entire city block and contain the attractive cafeteria where Trudy dumps pie on Griff Kennedy’s head before his early demise. The interiors and functioning of each place were as I’ve described them. The major difference is that the cast and crew I worked with were hard-working professionals; my characters are all from my imagination and get up to some shady actions.
Being a native New Yorker, I hope readers will enjoy seeing how these shows work and how a nurse can contribute, but also how the vibe of Manhattan is present as a backdrop. The heartbeat of an international city, with its noise and glory, is ever present, whether Trudy is escaping from being followed by hiding out in Zabar’s deli or discussing the case with Ned O’Malley at Lincoln Center’s fountain.’
Marni Graff is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney Mysteries, set in England, and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. The Blue Virgin introduces Nora, an American writer living in Oxford. The Green Remains and The Scarlet Wench trace Nora’s move to the Lake District where murder follows her. The first two won First Place as Best British Cozy from Chanticleer Media. In process is The Golden Hour, set in Bath. Premiering in August 2015 is Graff’s new Manhattan series, Death Unscripted, featuring nurse Trudy Genova, a medical consultant for a New York movie studio, based on Graff’s real-life position. Graff is also co-author of Writing in a Changing World, a primer on writing groups and critique techniques. She writes crime book reviews at www.auntiemwrites.com and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press. A member of Sisters in Crime, Graff runs the NC Writers Read program in Belhaven. All of Graff’s books can be bought at your local Amazon store or at www.bridlepathpress.com and are available as eBooks. Twitter: @GraffMarni