I first met Mr. Cutler when fellow mystery writer William Shepard introduce me to this suave, globetrotting diplomate. Before he sets out on his next adventure, I though you might like to find out what he's all about. Thanks, William, for providing us a peek at Robbie Cutler's personnel interview.
Cutler’s Personnel Interview
Cutler walked through the open door of the vast first floor, fifth corridor
office. As contrasted with most State Department offices, this one was full of
people, papers and clutter. There was a pervasive aroma of lukewarm coffee and
controlled tension. Several young Foreign Service Officers waited for
appointments with their personnel officers. Robbie took a magazine and a chair,
for he was ten minutes early.
FSO had a Personnel Officer, and since the open assignments policy had been
instituted several decades previously, now officers could actually have a hand
in choosing their next assignments. In theory, assignments were available in
listings, per function and grade. That meant that a Foreign Service Officer Class
Five (equivalent to an army captain), with the Economic Officer specialty,
would check the list of economic slots coming loose within the next year or so
for class five officers, and submit a bid list. Personnel officers would match
the bids with the jobs, and then an inter service panel would formally make the
assignments. Good officers, with good connections, got their choices routinely.
Those who were less popular or productive were harder to place. Robbie had
heard that beneath the politeness, the politics here would recall Chicago’s
South Side ward.
Robbie,” Kathryn Blake, his Personnel Officer, rose and greeted her advisee.
Robbie had known her briefly when she was the Consul at a post that Robbie had
visited with the Secretary of State. He hoped that it hadn’t been a rushed day,
and that he had been helpful and polite. “I’m glad to see you. It’s time for
your assignment bids, even for the Seventh Floor!” Her reference to the floor
where the principal officers of the State Department and their aides worked was
a reminder of assignment mortality, and that some would say it was time for him
to join the real Foreign Service, the one that got sent to Iraq and
took out his folder. “You know, Robbie, people are calling you the diplomatic
detective. Where you go there are usually crimes to solve. You’re getting quite
smiled. “Well, crimes are everywhere. I’m glad to help the local police and
continued. “So far, it’s been Singapore, then Bordeaux, Embassy Budapest, and
the Secretary’s office. You’re a Class Four (major), Political Officer. What do
you want to do now?”
we’re starting a family, so I’d rather stay here for another assignment. And
there is an opening about eight months from now in the Executive Secretary’s
office, a Deputy slot. It’s a stretch, but I know that office and I think they’d
support my bid.” That meant that he already had the approval of the Department’s
Executive Secretary even though it was a Class Three position, a “stretch” job one
grade higher than Robbie’s current rank.
frowned. So, he was just going to maneuver himself into another cushy job!
now and then, I’ll need a TDY. I hear Kabul is very scenic this time of year,
and there’s a six months TDY position in the Political-Military Section of the
set and match. She smiled. “That should be very doable, Robbie, both ends. Good
luck with your new assignment, and I’ll notify you when that is official.”
William is giving way E-book copies of Murder in Dordogne, Vintage Murder and Coffee Break Mysteries. Three winners will be selected; one for each book. Leave a comment to be eligible.
William S. Shepard’s
Series of Diplomatic Mysteries
residents of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Shepards enjoy visits from their
daughters and granddaughters, fine and moderate weather, ocean swims at
Assateague, Chesapeake Bay crabs, and the company of Rajah and Rani, their two
winning mystery writer William S. Shepard is the creator of a new genre, the
diplomatic mystery, whose plots are set in American Embassies overseas. That
mirrors Shepard’s own career in the Foreign Service of the United States,
during which he served in Singapore, Saigon, Budapest, Athens and Bordeaux, in
addition to five Washington tours of duty.
diplomatic mystery books explore this rich, insider background into the world
of high stakes diplomacy and government. His main character is a young career
diplomat, Robbie Cutler. The first three books in the series are available as
Ebooks. Shepard evokes his last Foreign Service post, Consul General in
Bordeaux, in Vintage Murder, the
first of the series of four “diplomatic mysteries.” The second, Murder On The Danube, mines his
knowledge of Hungary and the 1956 Revolution. In Murder In Dordogne Robbie Cutler and his bride Sylvie are just
married, but their honeymoon in the scenic southwest of France is interrupted
most recent of the series, The Saladin
Affair, will be released as an Ebook this fall. Robbie Cutler has been transferred
to work for the Secretary of State. Like the author once did, Cutler arranges
trips on Air Force Two – now enlivened by serial Al Qaeda attempts to
assassinate the Secretary of State.
after that, as an interview with his State Department Personnel Officer has
shown, Robbie should be headed to Kabul, Afghanistan!
Labels: cozies, giveaway, mystery, mysteryseries, williamshepard