We’re thrilled to have here today Frank Swiver from Harley Mazuk’s new mystery, White with Fish, Red with Murder. Frank Swiver is a 35-year-old shamus living in San Francisco, California.
It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so for this interview, Frank. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
It’s funny how things work out. The book is my story, in my words, but when I go back and read it now, I do seem a little slow on the uptake sometimes. And I make mistakes with the dames. But I was telling it the way it happened. You look at the big picture, I do all right with women. And I never claimed to be Sherlock Holmes, just a hard-working private eye.
Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
I don’t know about “colorizing my personality.” We were trying to write a page-turner here, and we told it the way it went down. That was fair enough to me.
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I’m not fearless, but I have the courage it takes to do the job. And I’m a hard worker. If I take your money, I’ll keep at it until I solve the case. Courage and perseverance . . . you can take your choice.
My loyalty to women is not always all it should be. I’m thinking here about Vera Peregrino, my secretary. I let her down. I look back on it and I don’t know how it happened. But at least I stuck with the case and sprung her from jail on that murder rap.
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
While I was on this case, a redhead I met in Chico told me I looked like that cat in Out of the Past, Robert Mitchum. I believe he’s a little younger than me, so I took that as a compliment. He’s a bit beefier than I am—I lost a lot of weight in Spain during the Civil War and never put it back on. And I don’t have a dimple in my chin. But I think she was getting at something about Mitchum’s eyes.
Do you have a love interest in the book?
Yeah, two. And that’s the problem.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
I questioned one of the suspects, Spitbucket McQuade, the wine critic, over lunch at the Black Lizard Lounge. Just my luck he picks that day to open a poisoned bottle of Burgundy. McQuade got me a little hot with his cracks about Cicilia, and I slapped him in front of witnesses before I left. Twenty minutes later, he drops dead on the steps of his apartment building, and the owner of the Black Lizard tells the cops my name. I had to do some fast talking to keep them from taking me in. That’s where I started to worry. If I’d ended up in jail on a murder rap, I wouldn’t have been able to solve the Thursby killing and save Vera.
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
I wouldn’t have wanted to be McQuade, because he died. And while he was alive, nobody liked him.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
The ending is not happy—I don’t get married and live happily ever after. At least it’s not a tragedy—I don’t die. But when the story ended, I felt I’d be better off dead. I guess that’s what they call noir.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
Next time, Mr. Mazuk, less wine, more sex. And give me a chance to make it up to Vera.
Thank you for this interview, Frank Swiver. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
Oh, yeah. There’s a short adventure I had in Utah, in 1950. I called the case, “Pearl’s Valley.” It should be coming out as a stand-alone novelette in April, from Dark Passages Publishing. And there will be more novels, too.
Harley Mazuk [http://www.harleymazuk.com/] is a mystery writer living in Maryland. His first novel, White with Fish, Red with Murder [http://www.drivenpress.net/white-with-fish-red-with-murder] is out now, from Driven Press. [http://www.drivenpress.net/]