Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spotlight: Enescu Fleet Mystery Trilogy by Sherban Young

Fleeting Memory
(An Enescu Fleet Mystery)

The answer lies with Keats... With these cryptic last words, the man sprawled out on the floor of the rustic cabin expires—murdered. What could he have meant? Why Keats? Which answer? (For that matter, what was the question?) All this and more passes through the mind of the young householder who discovers the body. If only he knew the guy’s name. Or anybody’s name. Including his own...
The first in the Enescu Fleet series. The murder revolves a Deadly Allusions style puzzle. See if you can solve it before Fleet does!
Read a free sample with Amazon’s LOOK INSIDE

June 2011
228 pp.  6 x 9 paper.  $14.95.
MysteryCaper PressAmazon
e-book.  $5.99.

Fleeting Glance
(An Enescu Fleet Mystery)

John Hathaway just wanted a quiet weekend alone with his fiancĂ©e. Instead, he receives a cryptic postcard from a man he’s never met, gets wrapped up in an elaborate art heist and finds himself framed for murder. And what’s worse, his future in-laws are in town! The palette is certainly thickening here, and there might be only one person who can rally the muses in time to string it all together: the Master himself, Enescu Fleet, retired private eye.
Murder, art and nudity. Have a gander at Glance: the exciting follow-up to Fleeting Memory.
Read a free sample with Amazon’s LOOK INSIDE

November 2012
283 pp.  6 x 9 paper.  $15.95.
MysteryCaper Press, Amazon
e-book.  $5.99.
Kindle, iBook, Nook

Fleeting Note - New!
(An Enescu Fleet Mystery)
The puzzling last words of a murdered music critic, the score of the missing third Romanian Rhapsody and a band of high-profile suspects. Fleet and the gang are back! Can they unravel the clue before a most unharmonious killer claims another victim?
The third in the Enescu Fleet series.
Read a free sample with Amazon’s LOOK INSIDE

July 2013
205 pp.  6 x 9 paper.  $14.95.
MysteryCaper PressAmazon
e-book.  $5.99.

Author Interview

I’d like to welcome author Sherban Young to Socrates’ Book Review Blog and Socrates’ Cozy Cafe. He is the author of several mystery books that have a touch of humor too.

Welcome to our blog, Sherban!

Thanks for having me!

1) To start off, what influenced you to become a writer?

I love words: constructing the turn of a phrase, structuring a narrative, all of it. I wrote my first novel when I was ten—a spy thriller. It was only eight pages, but I’m quite sure it was a novel. It said so at the top of the page.

2) Why mysteries?

I’ve always been drawn to mysteries. I like the structure most of all. As the audience, first we wonder, then we take some guesses, and finally we get a little wisdom. Sort of like life.

3) Is it difficult to mix mystery and humor together?

It depends which side is calling the shots. I tend to give the humor side star-billing, with the mystery side playing more of a strong supporting role. They’re both a driving force in my stories, but if I let the mystery throw its weight around too much the humor would seem out of place. I want the humor to permeate all the way through, even when the characters stumble on the occasional dead body.

4) Did you read mysteries growing up? Any favorite authors or books?

I loved Agatha Christie when I was young—still do. Later I enjoyed Rex Stout quite a bit. They took two very different approaches to the mystery genre. Christie was all about the supporting characters and their motivations, and of course the excellent mystery puzzle. Stout was more about the lifestyle of his detectives and their associates, with the secondary characters and mystery playing a pretty small role. Both approaches are a pleasure to read.

5) Do you do any research for your writing? What is involved in the process?

For my Enescu Fleet detective series, I do a little, yes. The process really started with my mystery puzzle e-book, Deadly Allusions (also published in paper as Dead Men Do Tell Tales). All the Allusion puzzles feature, well, an allusion to something: literature, art, music, sports, etc. The victim has left behind a clue containing a cultural reference and the reader tries to figure out how that relates to the possible suspects. The Fleet books employ the same style of puzzle, only it’s spread out over the entire novel. For that, I have to research the details of the riddle ahead of time. In essence, I work backwards. I find a good tidbit and then I try to figure out a clue that would have the right kind of double meaning.

The Fleet books are also thematic—literature, art and music, respectively—and each one has a brief “literary cameo” from a celebrity in that field. I have to research who I would like to have in the book, and then persuade that person to appear in it. So I suppose I do quite a bit of research, actually.

6) Where do you come up with your ideas?

For the most part, stories can either be character-driven or plot-driven. I prefer character-driven. For the Fleet books, I start with the puzzle, some cultural/scholarly tidbit I’ve come across. The puzzle indicates the theme of the book, and the theme creates the setting. From there, the characters take over. That way, we’re all experiencing the adventure together. I make a few notes ahead of time, but I try not to be too rigid adhering to them. It’s a little like swinging a baseball bat. You don’t want to keep a stranglehold on it. You want to stay loose.

7) Tell us about the setting of your mysteries and why you chose them.

The setting really depends on the theme of the book. The art-themed book is set around a museum, the music book at a music college, and the literature-themed book is set, obviously, at a casino.

8) Do you write any other genres?

I have tried other genres, namely sci-fi. I wrote a couple of screenplays for computer adventure games in college, and that was a lot of fun (mostly because I could approach the stories as mysteries of a sort). That worked because I treated them as sci-fi first and mysteries second. I’ve dabbled in sci-fi a few times since, in book form, and it didn’t work. I think my mistake was, I tried to start with the mystery first and toss in the sci-fi later. It didn’t come off. Now I just stick with my humorous mysteries. When in doubt, you can always depend on a cheerful corpse or two.

9) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

People say write what you know. I would alter that slightly and say write what you love. Do it for yourself, not for someone else. Writing is a struggle, requiring a ton of perseverance, and if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’re not going to stick with it.

10) Can you give us a sneak peek at your future books?

I have some ideas for a fourth Enescu Fleet mystery. I’m also toying with doing another Warren Kingsley book (Double Cover, Five Star Detour). We’ll have to see who wins out!

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us!

My pleasure!

About the Author

 Who exactly is Sherban Young?

Sherban (rhymes with bourbon) splits his time between Maryland and Maine, and has often been called the next P. G. Wodehouse, or at the very least the current Sherban Young. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of literature, classical music, baseball and film (although, it should be noted that this encyclopedia is a single volume, pop-up book edition). When he isn’t working on a new novel, or an incredibly clever mystery game, he enjoys single malt, poker, billiards and listing things he enjoys.


  1. Love the puzzle 'angle'. Added "Deadly Allusions" to my wishlist and will work up from there. :O)

  2. Hi Sherban and Yvonne! Great post and interview. I like the writing advice "write what you love".


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