Dear readers, tonight we host LAPD’s best detective, or at least she was until transported to the magical world of Andeluvia. She is here to tell us of applying modern forensics to crime scenes involving centaurs, dragons, and other creatures.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in Pike County, Illinois. Pike County is known for deer hunting, farming, and apple cider, in that order. The kind of place where people say ‘gosh’, ‘darn’ and ‘shucks’. Very wholesome. I couldn’t wait to up stakes for UChicago as soon as I was accepted there as an undergrad.
You didn’t like where you grew up? Surely you have some cherished memories of the place?
It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just didn’t fit in. I took a lot after Wednesday Addams. Moody, dressed in more black than my Mom would’ve liked. Put it this way, I was the only kid who looked forward to dissecting frogs in biology class.
As far as memories…one winter when I was seven years old, I found a trail of blood spatters leading from the woods towards my family’s garage. I found my father inside, crying over our open chest freezer. In it was a doe he’d shot. He was a hunter, taking game that was in season, but what shook him to the core was that this doe had spoken to him right before she died.
I don’t know if I’d call that a ‘cherished’ memory…but it was my first encounter with the magical land of Andeluvia.
It wouldn’t be my last.
What do you do now?
Officially? I’ve been working as a Crime Scene Investigator for the Los Angeles Police Department for the past few years. I’m the one who the cops call in after they find the body, and I also perform the follow-up in the lab.
Un-officially, I’m part of the Andeluvian Royal Court. I do my best to solve mysteries in a land of magic using good old fashioned forensic techniques. I also try to help out whenever a magical creature’s in trouble.
You know, that is kind of wild now that I said that out loud…
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
Anything happening with me is like C.S. Lewis meeting modern CSI!
Right now, I’m busy solving a murder case. The Andeluvians believe the Good King Benedict was killed by the ruler of the Centaur Realm, King Angbor Skullsplitter.
I’ve got about three days, max, to solve the case before the two kingdoms go to war. Hey, no pressure, right?
What did you first think when you first arrived in the magical land of Andeluvia?
Arrived? I didn’t ‘arrive’, I regained consciousness after being kidnapped! I woke up in a four-poster bed inside a room done up with tapestries and painted fleur-de-lis. Let’s just say that Louis XIV would’ve found it homey.
In desperation, the Andeluvians had ‘summoned’ me from our world, thanks to Galen the Court Wizard. Once I got over the shock, I realized that Galen’s all right. He’s a gentle soul, and the human part of him has this brooding, darkly handsome Byronic look. Wild locks of dark hair and a sangria-colored jacket.
I’m sorry, his ‘human’ part?
I should’ve mentioned that he’s a centaur. From the waist down, he’s got the body of a well-built chestnut draft horse.
Magic’s currently frowned upon by King Angbor, so he’s an outcast working with me instead of being next in line for his people’s throne. All my close friends are outcasts, now that I think about it.
That sounds interesting, can you tell us a little about these friends?
Aside from Galen, the two people I’ve gotten close to in this world are a griffin and a deer princeling. They’re not human, but I think that makes me care about them even more.
Shaw the griffin was the first to join me in helping to solve this royal murder. As a reward, he was thrown out of the Andeluvian Air Cavalry after a lifetime of loyal service. He’s my big guy. Half cat, half eagle, all awesome. You just need to get used to his style of speech, which is full of ‘thees’ and ‘thou arts’.
Liam’s a princeling of the fayleene, a race of magical deer. The fayleene are the ultimate good luck charm…save for Liam. Since he’s supposed to lack any luck at all, they banished him from the herd. It’s ridiculous, he’s as charming and cute as any young stag might be.
What was the scariest incident that’s happened in your adventures?
Getting attacked by a pair of dragons unleashed from the Royal Stables! These guys are six different kinds of bad news. Think of the velociraptors you’ve seen on the science channel’s ‘Dinosaur Week’. Double the size, buff ‘em out. Give each of them wings, necks like snakes, and backwards-facing horns that jut like spears from their skulls. Dip their scales in paint the color of drying blood.
Oh, and did I mention they breathe fire?
What is the worst thing about visiting Andeluvia?
Well, there’s no indoor plumbing. No heat on cold mornings unless you start a fire. And no coffee. Need I go on?
Seriously, even with magic to soften the edges, Andeluvia’s a medieval place. And the worst thing about visiting here…is that the closer I get to solving anything, the more they want me dead.
How’s this as a follow-up: What’s the strangest thing you’ve encountered in Andeluvia?
That’s easy: the Andeluvian parliament. The ones who write the laws and the tax code, those folks. In this land, they’re all super-sized great horned owls! Their leader, Albess Thea, is a sort of holy woman in this world. She’s three feet tall, has feathers colored like a Dreamsickle, and her gentle voice sounds like the woman who voiced the teapot in ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
What is the best thing about it?
The magical creatures that populate this land are unlike anything I’ve ever known. They’re people, no different than you or me, whether they’ve got hooves or horns or feathers. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the ability to talk with griffins, fayleene, centaurs, owls, even the odd magical artifact. It’s simply mindblowing.
Any romantic involvement?
Ah…there’s this guy I like on the force. His name’s Esteban, and he’s part of the homicide detective team. Hazel eyes, close-cropped hair, and a friendly face that shines through a perpetual haze of beard stubble. The feeling’s mutual, so I’m hoping that he asks me out on a date sometime. You know, between the whole ‘imminent magical war’ thing.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
I’m big on bringing criminals to justice. Kind of obvious when you look at my resume. Aside from that…Deputy Chief Robert McClatchy of the LAPD really has it in for me. As in, the man’s got issues in his tissues. He’s been the biggest thorn in my side, especially when I have to vanish for a while to Andeluvia to solve a case.
What’s your favorite way to relaxing after a tough day bringing criminals to justice, or dealing with McClatchy?
Sigh. I know that I should say something like yoga, or eating kale. But to be honest, my favorite way to relax starts with taking a shower that’s hot enough to turn my skin bright pink. Then, after I’ve dried off and gotten into my favorite bathrobe, I’ll pull out a pint-size container of my favorite ice cream – a milkfat-laced smart bomb of a dessert called Chunky Chocolate Coma.
I’ll curled up on the couch and do the windmill thing with my spoon until I scrape the bottom of the carton. That’s a primo evening after a hard day of dealing with the LAPD and the odd dragon.
What does the future hold for you?
I hear rumors that the court’s impressed with my work. It’s hard to tell with all the bickering. But if I bring Good King Benedict’s killer to justice, then they’re talking about making me the female equivalent of a knight. And hey, ‘Dame Chrissie’ doesn’t sound all that bad, so wish me luck!
Michael Angel is the author of the Forensics & Fantasy series, where C.S. Lewis meets CSI. He also writes the Plague Walker medical thriller series. His many books populate shelves in languages from Russian to Portuguese. He currently resides in Southern California. Alas, despite keeping a keen eye out for globe-trotting epidemiologists, unicorns, or griffins, none have yet put in an appearance on Hollywood Boulevard.
Join us next week to meet a magician, out for adventure. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.