Posted in mystery, Spotlight on October 21, 2015



By M.E. May

ISBN-10: 1494461919
ISBN-13: 978-1494461911
M&B Literary Creations
Paperback: 238 pages
February 2014, $13.95
Harlequin July 2015


Perfidy – noun
Deliberate breach of faith or trust; faithlessness; treachery

Mandy Stevenson left home for college even as her family was being torn apart by the loss of her brother, an Indianapolis police officer. But now, four years later, it’s time to return and face the grief and hardships she left behind.

As summer fades, Mandy finds herself in a nightmare when her mother vanishes without a trace. Faced with her father’s skepticism, Mandy turns to her godfather, head of the police department’s Missing Persons Unit, for help. The police investigation quickly uncovers her mother’s secret, nefarious lifestyle – a lifestyle that may have cost her mother everything – including her life.

Just as these secrets begin to unfold, Mandy’s world is again turned upside down by the murder of a dear friend. She soon realizes that his murder may be connected to her mother’s disappearance.

How much grief from personal loss and duplicity can she bear? Will uncovering the most perfidious betrayal of all turn Mandy’s life to bitterness – or end it?


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Mandy Stevenson leaned back, her auburn curls spilling over the back of the chair. Her gaze was fixed on an intricate spider web in the corner of the ceiling. It appeared to have a morsel of last night’s dinner still hanging from it. “Circle of life,” she said aloud, closing her pale green eyes. Mandy couldn’t stop herself from thinking the worst. She shuddered as her thoughts were compounded by the fear she felt for her mother. Studying the room to distract herself from her feelings of foreboding wasn’t working.

She stood and walked to the window. His office was devoid of decoration except for a few plaques and citations. However, the view from the north window of the City-County Building was a picturesque Indianapolis skyline.

Mandy took a deep breath and turned, nearly running into his metal frame desk. Or at least she assumed there was a desk under all of those papers and files. She could not imagine how he kept anything straight. The nameplate sitting on the desk which read “Lieutenant Thomas Melrose” was barely visible.

Lieutenant Melrose had been in Mandy’s life since the day she was born. She and her brother, Charlie, had always called him Uncle Mel. He started his career as a rookie patrol officer with the Indianapolis Police Department as her dad’s partner and eventually became her dad’s best friend. It was natural for her dad to think of Mel when it was time to choose Mandy’s godfather. Mel and his ex-wife had never had any children so he was thrilled to take on the responsibility.

Five years ago, her dad was promoted to Captain and Commander of the Homicide and Robbery Branch, and Uncle Mel accepted an investigating position in Missing Persons. Now he was the head of the department and the perfect person to help her.

Feeling anxious, she paced, peering out into the department. Amidst a sea of metal desks, she spotted her Uncle Mel, tall and muscular with bright red hair and freckles. He looked up from his conversation and held up his index finger.

Nodding and feeling a little embarrassed, she turned and sat down in a chair trying her best to wait patiently. She couldn’t understand why he would take so long. Didn’t he realize she wouldn’t be here unless it was very important?

A few minutes later Mandy heard the click of the door handle. She rose to see him standing there with his most welcoming smile. Facing her, Uncle Mel put his hands on her shoulders. “Mandy, I haven’t seen you in ages,” he said. “What was so urgent you felt you had to come all the way downtown to see me?”

Mandy blinked a few times, then took in a deep breath determined to get through the next few moments without crying. Looking straight into his eyes, she said as calmly as she could, “Mom has disappeared. She hasn’t been home for two days now. She didn’t call; leave a note, or anything. I know she’s gone on last minute trips before, but something’s not right. Please, Uncle Mel, you have to help me.”

Lieutenant Melrose’s face went from pleasant smile to concerned frown. “Okay, Mandy, hang on a minute.” He walked to his door and opened it. “Jacobs, Mayhew, in my office!” Mel stepped aside as two men entered the office. “Mandy, I’m going to assign this case to two of my best investigating officers, Detective Tyrone Mayhew and Detective Benjamin Jacobs. Gentlemen, this is Mandy Stevenson. She’s Captain Robert Stevenson’s daughter. It appears her mother, Cassandra Stevenson, is missing.”

Detective Jacobs sat in the chair beside her while Detective Mayhew scooted some papers over and sat on the edge of the desk. Both Jacobs and Mayhew appeared to be in their mid-thirties, but were polar opposites in looks. Detective Mayhew was dark skinned, about six foot-two and muscular with a shaved head. He might have been very intimidating except for his friendly, dark smiling eyes. Detective Jacobs was shorter, about five-eleven, with sandy blond hair and serious slate blue eyes.

Mandy glanced at Uncle Mel as he took his seat behind his desk. “I thought you would be the investigator,” she said, disconcerted by this assignment.

“Basically, Mandy, I’m in the position of an administrator now. These very talented detectives will do most of the legwork. But don’t worry. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this investigation.”

Afraid she had insulted them, she said, “No offense.”

“None taken,” said Detective Jacobs, opening his notepad.

“Now, Mandy, give us the whole story beginning with the last time you saw Cassandra,” Uncle Mel said, looking serious and official.

Mandy adjusted herself nervously in her chair. “Tuesday morning,” she began. “It must have been around 10:00. I had an interview for a part-time job at Le Françoise Boutique. Mom was giving me a few pointers on salesmanship. Tuesday being her day off, I asked her if she had plans for the day. She said no and told me she’d be there when I got home.”

“Do you remember what she was wearing?” asked Jacobs.

“Yes. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans and a mint green pullover tee shirt.”

“So what time did you get home after your interview?” asked Uncle Mel.

“It must have been close to 1:00 in the afternoon because I’d stopped for lunch. Mom’s car wasn’t there, so I assumed she was running an errand. When she wasn’t home by late afternoon, I thought maybe she’d received a call from the real estate office and was showing a house.”

Although Mandy was trying her best to appear cool under stress, she couldn’t control those facial expressions her godfather knew so well.

“I can see you’re very upset over all of this, Mandy,” said Uncle Mel. “Take a moment if you need it, and then tell us what happened next.”

Mandy nodded, collecting her thoughts and continued. “By about 7:00 that evening, I was beginning to worry. I decided to call Dad to see if he’d talked to her. He was at a seminar in Detroit.”

“Yeah,” Uncle Mel confirmed. “He told me he was going up there. What did he advise you to do?”

“You know Dad,” she said rolling her eyes. “He never gets excited about anything. He told me not to worry because Mom has done this so many times before. I tried not to let his lack of concern bother me. Actually, I was hoping he was right, that she’d just gone off to be alone for a few days, because she did do that sometimes…,” Mandy paused gulping back a sob, “…after Charlie….”

“I know, sweetie.”

The urgency to find her mom began to swell inside her. “But this time it’s different, Uncle Mel. Mom always leaves us a note or a voicemail letting us know she needed some time away, but she didn’t do it this time. I went to bed that night and didn’t sleep well. I kept waking up thinking I had heard her. I got out of bed around 7:00 the following morning hoping I’d find her in her room. She wasn’t there.

“That’s when I really started to panic. While I was in her room, I looked around. I noticed her makeup pouch on the vanity. She would never leave it behind. I looked in her closet. The overnight bag she normally uses was still there. Even her toothbrush was in the bathroom. She would have taken all of these things with her.”

“That is very strange,” Jacobs said, frowning.

“I called Dad to tell him and he told me we’d discuss it when he got home.”

“Did you?” asked Uncle Mel.

“Yeah, but I got the same old reaction. I also spoke with Michelle, the receptionist at Mom’s office, on Wednesday. She said Mom came to the office on Tuesday to get her laptop. She assured me Mom didn’t have any scheduled appointments on Tuesday.”

Mandy felt the tears coming. She couldn’t hold back any longer. “I’m sorry, Uncle Mel. I’m trying not to think the worst. It doesn’t help when Dad acts like it’s no big deal.”

Uncle Mel got up and went to Mandy placing his hand on her shoulder. “There’s no need for you to apologize, Mandy. I don’t think your dad means to be hurtful; he’s just not very diplomatic.”

“You can say that again,” she laughed nervously.

“So he got back from Detroit last night?” asked Jacobs.

“Yes. He’s in his office this morning,” she said, feeling a twinge of anxiety. “I know he won’t like it when he finds out I’m filing this report.”

“You have every right to be concerned about your mother and to file this report,” said Uncle Mel.

“Something which will help us get started is a list of all of your mother’s contacts; family, friends, people at work,” said Jacobs. “We’ll need their names, addresses, and phone numbers if you have them. You can do this from home and either send them to me by email or give us a call with the information.”

“I don’t want to put any undue pressure on you, Miss,” said Mayhew, “but the sooner we get those the better. When a person goes missin’ it’s important to get started before the trail runs cold.”

“I’ll start collecting the information as soon as I get home,” she said, stung by the fact she hadn’t filed the report sooner. “Thank you.”

“Here is my business card with my contact information,” Jacobs said, rising from his chair. “You can call me anytime.”

“Here’s mine, too. We’d better get out there and start callin’ the folks we know about,” said Mayhew. “It was a pleasure meetin’ you, Miss Mandy.”

“Same here, Detectives,” she said, standing and offering to shake their hands. Both detectives nodded and smiled on their way out.

“I know it will be hard to talk to your father, so if you want me to tell him, I will,” said Uncle Mel.

“Thanks, but no. I’d better do it myself,” she said.

“If he gives you a hard time, let me know. Okay?” He lifted her chin peering into her eyes. “I’m as convinced as you are that we need to pursue this.”

“Deep down in my gut I know something is terribly wrong. No matter how Mom and Dad feel about each other, she wouldn’t intentionally hurt me like this.”

She looked at him with deep affection. He was the father she wished she had. Squelching a burning desire to hug him, she simply said, “Thanks, Uncle Mel. I knew I could count on you.”

“Just stand your ground with him. He may not like it, but he’ll respect you for it.” Uncle Mel gave her his best toothy smile, but she knew beneath the surface, he was just as worried as she was.

“I know.” She laughed nervously. “I’ll go talk to him right now. Thanks for your help.”

“Shall I walk you to the elevator?”

“Thanks, but I’m a big girl. I’ll manage.”

As she headed for the elevator, Mandy felt the dread of having to face her father. Inside the elevator car, she turned to press the button and saw Uncle Mel watching her. Forcing one more smile and a little wave, she saw him disappear as the door slid shut.

About the Author

ME MayMichele (M.E.) May attended Indiana University in Kokomo, Indiana, studying Social and Behavioral Sciences. Her interest in the psychology of humans sparked the curiosity to ask why they commit such heinous acts upon one another. Other interests in such areas as criminology and forensics have moved her to put her vast imagination to work writing crime fiction that is as accurate as possible. In doing so, she depicts societal struggles that pit those who understand humanity with those who are lost in a strange and dangerous world of their own making.

In creating the Circle City Mystery Series, she brings to life fictional characters who work diligently to bring justice to victims of crime in the city of Indianapolis. Michele also hopes her readers will witness through her eyes, the wonderful city she calls her hometown. Learn more about Michele at .

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Other titles by M.E. May:

Inconspicuous (Circle City Mystery, Book 2) – nominee for the 2014 Lovey award for Best Suspense novel

Ensconced (Circle City Mystery, Book 3)

Purged (Circle City Mystery, Book 4)