Absence Is No Alibi
Ross Talbot was principal of Diaz Continuation School in the Central Coast town of Canon Perdido. Was, until the new superintendent, Jack Coley, came to town. The two tangled over pedagogical matters, but the dislike was visceral. Ross soon ended up back in the comprehensive high school, his former students at the mercy of a test-driven administrator. So when Jack Coley's battered body is discovered in a BBQ pit at a park adjacent to Diaz Continuation School, Ross is grateful for an iron-clad alibi.
His former student, Leroy Todwaller, is not so lucky. Witnesses put him near the scene, and his colorful and erratic history with school and local authorities doesn't help his case. Leroy has friends, though, among them Ross Talbot, who, despite being roundly admonished by local police and his wife Carole to stay out of the investigation, stays right in the middle of the action. Aided and impeded by an idiosyncratic cast of local characters, including his own family, Ross makes it his business to find out who really killed Jack Foley, along the way encountering some potentially fatal situations of his own. No one is quite what he or she seems, socially prominent families are revealed to have less than savory secrets, and the weak show up with hitherto unsuspected talents.
About Lani C Steele (San Luis Obispo, California Author)
The short mystery fiction of Lani Steele has been published in Red Herring Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, and in several volumes of Central Coast Sisters in Crime anthologies. Absence is No Alibi is written as the first in a proposed series featuring Ross Talbot, a school counselor / amateur detective, and his wife Carole, who writes mysteries and meddles in his investigations. The story is set in the early 1990’s in several towns along California’s scenic Central Coast, which was at that time far less developed than it is today.
Steele’s other publications include two stand-alone volumes of poetry, CROWDED WITH GHOSTS, about Native American themes and history, and A PLAGUE OF ANGELS, exploring some off-center angelic personas. Her work has been included in many poetry anthologies, and her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction features and travel articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has served as editor of several poetry collections, and was a founding member of the Central Coast Sisters in Crime Chapter.
Steele, recently retired, was an educator at elementary, secondary, and college level, serving for over 25 years as an instructor and teacher-trainer in the Education Department at Cal Poly. She was also the head of English Department at Brent International School, Manila, teaching higher level world literature in the International Baccalaureate program. She lives in Los Osos, California, with her husband Gary Mickle. They have four children who are far-flung around the globe, feeding the couple’s travel addiction nicely.