I got my Ph.D. at U of T. I went to Toronto to get some perspective. Besides, no one in the U.S. was interested in my dissertation: “More than just one secret in the old clock: Female Rights and Rituals in Nancy Drew.” I’ve had some modest success since then. I came back across the Northern border and landed a job at one of those nameless liberal arts colleges that populate the very books that I wrote about. (The murder of a college coed mystery always sold well.) I tried to place my work in top-tier journals, but I just took what I could get. You know, places like Deconstruction and Detection Quarterly; Philology and Forensics Annual; and, once when I was desperate,Gumshoes and Garters Newsletter.
Though my teaching evals were pretty good, I knew I had to step up my game, or the Tenure jig would be up. Civic engagement had become all the rage, so I needed a new strategy. I liked the classroom, but I was a loner. I was neither civic nor engaged in the outside world except when I had to go out and buy cat food somewhere for my big Siberian named Ned. Other than that, I usually never spent much time out of my apartment, so I had to come up with a plan, and pronto.
One cold winter month, in the classified section of Gumshoe, I happened to see a tiny ad for an internship at an outfit called Steelskirt. Perfect, I thought; I could pose as an intern, get some shadow time, learn the real ropes of detection, and head back to campus a changed woman. I wrote “Confidential” across my mid-career sabbatical application, and started packing. I mean how hard could it be? After all, I didn’t consider myself a complete novice. Besides Ivy League campus settings, I knew that a lot of crime took place in villages. There was Cabot Cove, and St. Mary’s Mead, and lots of places where PBS filmed.
Steelskirt fell for it. Or at least that’s what I thought when they invited me to join them. For the first time in my life I was so excited about something, I ran around the outside of my apartment. Now, I’m afraid -- I’m running from them….