Mystery Trivia Tuesday: Who ARE These Guys?

Jeff Cody/Sebastian McCabe Interview 

Today I have the pleasure of visiting with two distinguished gentlemen from St. Benignus College in Erin, Ohio, Jeff Cody and Professor Sebastian McCabe. My friend and fellow mystery writer, Dan Andriacco, introduced me to his two amateur sleuths. Mr. Cody is public relations director at St. Benignus and Professor McCabe is the head of the college’s popular culture program.
1.            I’d like to start the interview with you, Mr. Cody. Tell us a little about St. Benignus College and the quaint town on Erin. I don’t know how quaint it is. The homicide rate seems rather high! Erin has about 30,000 residents, not all of them Irish. Sitting on the Ohio River in the southeast part of the state, it was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Other than that, it’s a lot like any small town you’ve ever visited. But it’s also a college town. St. Benignus has about 2,000 students. If you think that’s not enough to keep a public relations director hopping, you’ve got another thing coming.
2.            Besides being friends, you two have a few things in common. Would you like to share those with us, Mr. Cody? First of all, Mac is married to my sister, Kathleen Cody McCabe, which makes Kate the most long-suffering of mortals. We also share an employer, St. Benignus, and a boss, the insufferable Ralph Pendergast. Mac is the Lorenzo Smythe Professor of English Literature and head of the popular culture department, while I run the two-person public relations office. This often means that I have to try to put out fires that Mac started.
3.            I’m eager to hear about both of your mysteries. Tell us about your series, Professor McCabe. As Jefferson frequently notes in his accounts of our adventures, I am the author of the best-selling Damon Devlin mystery novels. Damon is my alter-ego – slimmer, handsomer, and smarter than I. He is a professional magician, a vocation that I myself once pursued as a young man in Europe before settling down to more academic pursuits. I am not ashamed to say that the Damon Devlin novels hearken back to the Golden Age of detective fiction, such as the works of Ellery Queen and John Dickson Carr.     
4.            What do you find so fascinating about Sherlock Holmes, Professor? You are obviously a wordsmith, Ms. Kaska, because you have hit upon exactly the right word. Holmes is indeed fascinating, as I am sure Mr. Spock would say. Perhaps part of his allure is that he is himself a mystery, both in his personality and in his origins. That has given many non-canonical authors free range to imagine that which we do not know about him. For example, the biographical details provided by Dr. Watson are sparse. We have met the great detective’s older and smarter brother, but Mycroft Holmes is even more mysterious and therefore more fascinating than Sherlock! The psychological profile of Sherlock Holmes is also a puzzler. He claims to find emotions abhorrent, and yet he displays curiosity, anger, sympathy, regret, despair, desire for vengeance, frustration, and even fraternal love. So he is a complex character, a conundrum. Another great mystery about Sherlock Holmes is that he manages to retain our utter confidence in his supreme abilities despite the fact that a several of his clients died because of his human failures!  
5.            Last I heard, Mr. Cody, you were working on number six in your Max Cutter detective series. How is that going? The number is seven, all unpublished, and why did you have to remind me? Ouch! I still can’t figure out why no publisher wants them. Max Cutter is a hard-boiled private eye, not some namby-pamby amateur sleuth like Mac’s fairy tale heroes. There is no justice. But I can’t complain. I’ve been so busy writing up our real life adventures that I haven’t had time for fiction in the last couple of years. And the McCabe – Cody books have actually been published! 
6.            You’ve also had some major changes in your life lately, Mr. Cody, involving a rather smart, attractive journalist. Is it too early to let the cat out of the bag? What do you mean “rather smart”? Lynda Teal’s IQ is higher than my bowling score! And she’s almost as beautiful as her mother and built like a brick pizza parlor to boot. At the beginning of No Police Like Holmes, we’d broken up. There was some silly business about me being too controlling. But by the end of the book, we were on speaking terms again. We weren’t exactly dating, but we weren’t not dating. I changed my Facebook status to “It’s Complicated.” In the final chapters of Holmes Sweet Holmes, it got less a lot less complicated and I got a lot happier. I’m still amazed. In the new book, The 1895 Murder, you’ll find out the secret that Lynda had been hiding about her parents – and be as shocked as I was.  
7.            I’ve read about your exploits in solving murders in Holmes Sweet Holmes and No Police Like Holmes. Both of you are storytellers, but Dr. Andriacco allowed you, Mr. Cody, to narrate the cases. How do you feel about this, Professor? It would be churlish of me to complain. After all, I have achieved my own success as an author and amateur detective. I am also happily married, a status shared by very few fictional sleuths. Jefferson deserves to have his chance at publication and romantic happiness. Naturally, he records our cases in a style that is much different from mine. I do not, for example, pepper my prose with sarcastic comments in italics that I am too prudent to utter aloud.
8.            I’m not sure that Dr. Andriacco will approve of this next question, but I have to ask it. What advice, would you give to him the next time he sits down at his computer and decides to deposit you on another murder trail? Keep us in Erin, please! The next case, The Disappearance of Mr. James Phillimore, takes place in London. I’ve already finished the first draft. Mac and Lynda loved Baker Street and all the rest of that Sherlock Holmes stuff, but I got homesick for our little town on the river and the other characters who live there.

Dan Andriacco is a former newspaper journalist and mystery book reviewer who has been a member of the Tankerville Club, a scion society of The Baker Street Irregulars, since 1981. He is the author of Baker Street Beat: An Eclectic Collection of Sherlockian Scribblings, and two Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody mysteries, No Police Like Holmes and the upcoming Holmes Sweet Holmes. Follow his popular blog at and his tweets @DanAndriacco.

Dr. Dan and his wife, Ann, have three grown 
children and four grandchildren. They live in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. 

Holmes Sweet Holmes
“I loved Dan Andriacco’s first novel about Sebastian McCabe and Jeff Cody, and I’m delighted to recommend the second, which has a curiously topical touch. Holmes Sweet Holmes concerns the murder of Peter Gerard, writer, director and star of 221B Bourbon Street, which re-imagines Sherlock Holmes as a jazz-playing American in 1920s New Orleans. The characters are engaging, the plot is cunning, and the writing is literate and witty. This is classy stuff!” – Roger Johnson, The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
No Police Like Homes
It’s a satirical look at Holmes and the industry he’s spawned, but it’s affectionate and neatly constructed  . . . There are plenty of twists, a good few red herrings and an ending which surprised me as I had someone entirely different chalked in as the murderer.” – The Bookbag
“Andriacco’s characters and their lives are so very normal and untormented, his writing style so light, and his observations so witty that No Police Like Holmes is an enjoyable, palate-cleansing romp of a mystery with a little Sherlockian education thrown in.” – Well-Read Sherlockian
“Cody is engaging enough to make further books in the series welcome.” – Publishers Weekly
Baker Street Beat
Baker Street Beat is an entertaining collection of short essays, stories and screenplays by Dan Andriacco, a self confessed Sherlock Holmes aficionado, and covering the author’s own experiences and knowledge of the world of Holmes . . . In all, I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who has a love of Holmes and wants to learn more about him.” – Cult Britannia
The 1895 Murder
Popular mystery writer Sebastian McCabe is about to conquer a new world with his Sherlock Holmes play 1895. On opening night, however, his Erin, Ohio theatrical debut as both playwright and actor is upstaged by a murder in back of the newly renovated theater.
 “Reading The 1895 Murder, the third mystery in Dan Andriacco’s Sebastian McCabe/Jeff Cody series was like visiting a group of friends who, yet again, find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation. Andriacco’s masterful plotting had me stumped. When book four comes out, I will be one of the first to crack the cover.” Kathleen Kaska, author of the Sydney Lockhart mystery series and the Classic Triviography books.
“Dan Andriacco has a writing style I would love to have. Dan has characters that have real lives and who you can identify with. His Jeff Cody character has great wit and McCabe great intelligence. His books are just fun to read." –Kieren McMullen, author of Watson’s Afghan Adventure and Sherlock Holmes and the Irish Rebels
TWITTER: @Dan Andriacco