Fictional financial advisor Pat Tierney is back in the middle of another murder mystery in Black Water, Rosemary McCracken’s sequel to her debut novel Safe Harbor.McCracken, a veteran journalist who particularly enjoys writing about financial planning topics, is a regular contributor to The Insurance and Investment Journal and other publications.
Black Water asks the question “How Strong is a mother’s love?” Pat Tierney’s is put to the test when her daughter Tracy asks her to help find Tracy’s partner, Jamie Collins. Pat heads out to Ontario’s cottage country where an elderly man, who killed Jamie’s sister in an impaired driving accident ten years before, has perished in a suspicious fire. Unfortunately, Jamie is the prime suspect. Pat’s search for Tracy’s missing sweetheart takes her through a maze of fraud, drugs, bikers and murder.
On Black Water’s acknowledgements page, McCracken mentions that her work as a journalist for financial services industry publications such as The Insurance and Investment Journal has enabled her to meet many advisors and understand the issues of concern to them. This work inspired her character Pat Tierney and many of the twists and turns in her novel.
“I’ve written about personal finance since the early 1990s. I interview financial advisors and investment managers. I know the issues they face and the concerns they have. They work in a challenging business – investment markets have been murder in recent years. And because the financial services industry revolves around money, it can attract people who are clever and greedy enough to challenge the system. There are some bad apples in circulation and there always will be – and they sparked some of the bad characters in the Pat Tierney books.”
On the other hand, she says, “There are also a lot of terrific financial professionals: committed, caring people who are comfortable at putting their clients at ease, and adept at learning everything about them that could affect their finances. These are the people behind the character of Pat Tierney.”
Is having a financial advisor as a main character an unusual choice in mystery writing? McCracken explains that as the population ages and becomes concerned with making their money grow for retirement, we’re seeing more central characters from the world of finance. “And with the high-profile financial scandals that have been in the news – involving people such as Bernie Madoff – there is an interest in white-collar crime. Canadian writer Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee series features a forensic accountant. And there are a number of U.S. thrillers set in the world of “high finance,” such as Michael Sears’ Black Fridays about corruption on Wall Street.
Pat Tierney fans will be happy to know that McCracken is already at work on her third novel in this series. “It will once again be set in the Glencoe Highlands, the fictitious Ontario cottage country setting of Black Water. And I hope there will be a fourth set in Toronto. After that...who knows?”