The Skeleton Takes a Bow
By Leigh Perry
After years of hiding in the Thackery family house, Sid the skeleton is delighted to finally have his moment in the spotlight. He’s starring in a high school production of Hamlet. Well, not so much starring in as being a prop. At least part of him has a part—he’s using his head to play Yorick of “Alas, poor Yorick” fame. Every day, Georgia Thackery’s daughter, Madison, who’s also in the play, brings in his skull, and every night, she takes him home...
Until one night when he’s accidentally left at school—and hears the sounds of someone being murdered. But the next day, there’s no body and no one seems to be missing.
Sid is not a numbskull—he knows what he heard. Georgia thinks he imagined it—until a week later when a body is found. Now Georgia and Sid will both need to keep their heads as they stick their necks out and play sleuth to catch the conscience of a killer.
I was recently asked why I'd chosen to write a mystery about an ambulatory skeleton. I replied that it was because of the old adage: Write what you know. After all, we're all skeletons under the skin. And flesh, and tendons, and all that other messy stuff. After that, the woman decided not to ask me any more questions.
Seriously, I'm not sure why I decided to write about a walking, talking skeleton named Sid. All I remember for sure is that I can track the idea back to May of 2004. I told my husband about Sid-he was always named Sid-then wrote a few pages and sent to my beta-reading pals to see if they thought there was a book in it. All three of them seemed to think it would work, and I did some initial research and planning, but other projects intervened and I didn't pick it up again until 2011. That's when I was pitching ideas for a new series to my agent and editor, and I put together a packet of eight. Both the agent and editor them zoomed in on Sid's story. I guess they're skeletons under the skin, too.
As you might guess from the idea of a walking, talking skeleton, A Skeleton in the Family is a paranormal mystery. I was inspired by old TV shows like Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir to write about a world that's pretty much like the real one, with one key difference. In this case: Sid.
This is my first mystery, sort of. Under the name Toni L.P. Kelner I've published eleven novels and twenty-somthing short stories, and have co-edited five urban fantasy anthologies with New York Times best seller Charlaine Harris. I've adopted a pen name because this is a new series, and because paranormal novels are a departure for me. But it's still me! So if you like Toni L.P. Kelner's books, you might like the Family Skeleton series, too. If you don't like Kelner's books, forget I said anything-I never even heard of that Kelner woman.
Though I was born in Pensacola, FL and raised in Charlotte, NC, I've been living north of Boston, MA for 26 years or so. I share the house with my husband, two daughters, two guinea pigs, and a ludicrous selection of books. While the population of people and guinea pigs remains constant, the number of books is on an ever-rising curve.