Mystery Trivia Tuesday: Who IS This Guy?

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. 
Robbie Cutler’s Personnel Interview 
            Robbie 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.
            Each 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.
            “Hi 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 Afghanistan.
            She 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 a reputation!”
            He smiled. “Well, crimes are everywhere. I’m glad to help the local police and Diplomatic Security.”
            She 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?”
            “Well, 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.
            She frowned. So, he was just going to maneuver himself into another cushy job!
            “Between 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 Embassy.”
            Point, 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
 Now 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 rescued cats.  

            Prize 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.

            His 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 by murders.

            The 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.

            And after that, as an interview with his State Department Personnel Officer has shown, Robbie should be headed to Kabul, Afghanistan!
Vintage Murder (Robbie Cutler diplomatic mysteries): William S. Shepard: Kindle Store
Murder On The Danube (Robbie Cutler Diplomatic Mysteries): William S. Shepard: Kindle Store
Murder In Dordogne (Robbie Cutler Diplomatic Mysteries): William S. Shepard: Kindle Store

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