My private detective skills tell me that if you are seeing these words, you have probably read one or more of my adventures – or maybe you heard about me from a friend.
But more than likely my author friend – Gerald Darnell, tricked you into reading this. He does stuff like that. However, I’’m glad you’re here, regardless of the reason. Please allow me to introduce myself and my mystery novels – the ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series’.
All adventures and stories occur in the early 1960’s. The geography is mostly southern (Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi), but I do occasionally venture into other parts of the world. At the center of all novels you’ll find Memphis, TN and a small West Tennessee town called Humboldt.
The early 60’s represent some different and difficult times in our history and culture. Manned space flight was already happening. John Glenn circled the earth three times in Friendship Seven, and trips to the moon were on the drawing board. However, nuclear testing was also underway and rockets were being built and aimed at other countries. The Cuban Missile Crisis was front-page news. And if that wasn’t enough, segregation was coming to an end, creating a new world trying to learn how to deal with integration– on a large scale. Our National Guard escorted James Meredith to classes at the University of Mississippi, and President Kennedy forced George Wallace to admit two black students at the University of Alabama. A small ‘police action’ by our military, (in a place call Vietnam), was taking many young men by surprise with a letter from the draft board. “Greetings from the President” is the way I remember it beginning.
Gasoline was $0.31 cents a gallon, eggs were $0.54 cents a dozen, a gallon of milk was $0.49 cents and a first class postage stamp was $0.04 cents. The average cost of a new home was $18,200, the US population was 186 million and the Dow-Jones high was 767. 90% of Americans owned a television set, Polaroid introduced color film that developed in 60 seconds and the 1962 World’s Fair was in Seattle.
The New York Yankees won a seven-game World Series over San Francisco, Green Bay beat the New York Giants in the NFL Title Game and Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson to win the world heavyweight championship.
Interesting stuff, even if you weren’t around in the 1960’s or old enough to remember.
All ‘Carson Reno Mystery Series’ adventures are set during these times, and I suspect you’ll find yourself traveling back to a world of the early 1960’s as you help Carson solve the crime. Real locations are used to tell each story and actual photographs/illustrations (where possible) are scattered throughout each novel.
My adventure novels include:
Murder in Humboldt – The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land – Killer Among Us – Horse Tales – the Crossing – SUnset 4 – the Everglades – the Illegals – Dead Men Don’t Remember -the Fingerprint Murders – Reelfoot – Justifiable Homicide – Dead End and my latest release – Murder and More.
Meet Carson Reno
My office address is officially listed as 149 Union Avenue – L6, which means I occupy office 6, located just off the lobby of The Peabody Hotel – Memphis, Tennessee. I actually would consider my address to be 3rd Avenue – not Union, but the address has its perks.
The location itself is also handy. All my phone calls come through the hotel operator, which is also my answering service. I eat lunch and breakfast in the employee dining room at a great price. I have a beautiful lobby to greet potential clients – and please don’t forget the duck show, it happens twice a day. Aside from the perverts who hang out in the lobby restrooms, I can’t find a lot of fault with my office arrangements.
Besides, this is 1962 and people are accustomed to the modern ways of doing business. Appearance is everything, or at least a close second to whatever is first. The new real estate buzz is ‘location, location, location’ – I think I have one of the best.
The hotel directory and telephone yellow pages show L6 occupied by ‘The Drake Detective Agency’. That can be confusing, because the name on my office door reads:
Carson Reno – Private and Confidential Investigatons
I am Carson Reno and always have been. There has never been a Drake working from this office, or any other in Memphis, that I am aware of. However, when I opened the agency I just could not find any rhyme or rhythm in ‘The Reno Detective Agency’. Besides, everybody who has watched Perry Mason knows Paul Drake, and who knows, people may think this is a branch office or something! A little free publicity and promotion never hurt any business, just as long as they call or show-up with money.