Today, Hartford Books Examiner welcomes Mark Bego.
The prolific author of fifty-nine works of non-fiction, celebrity biographer Mark Bego has been publishing’s “go to” guy for predicting trends in the music business since the 1970s. He has two New York Times bestsellers and one Chicago Tribune bestseller to his credit, and was the first writer to pen books about Thriller-era Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Whitney Houston. In 2012, he released Whitney Houston! The Spectacular Rise and the Tragic Fall of the Woman Whose Voice Inspired a Generation and the updated Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul for Skyhorse Books. The elaborately illustrated magazine 50th Anniversary Celebration/My Supremes (Event Bookazines/Hudson Publications), for which he collaborated with Mary Wilson, is also currently available.
To commemorate his 60th published book, Bego decided to tackle fiction. Murder at Motor City Records (PublishAmerica, $29.95) was released in November and draws on the author’s familiarity with the music industry while also celebrating his love of classic whodunits. Times Square Gossip noted, “It is an exciting homage to Agatha Christie mysteries, Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain crime novels, and the music of his hometown of Detroit.”
From the publisher:
Detective Marcus Rusk grew up in Detroit loving the wonderful '60s and '70s sounds of the music that came from Motor City Records. However, the evening after the label's 35th Anniversary reunion show, someone wants the president of the record company dead. Who killed Harry Stone? It seems that everyone on the label has a motive for wanting him erased, including: Cheryl Stone-the star of the singing trio The Elations, bitchy diva Roxanne Wills, icy songstress Vicki Vance, bisexual crooner Jamison Burke, Harry's ex-wife Laura, sexually confused Roger Washington, and Harry's business partners-Sammy Solar and William Blue. Rusk faces his most challenging case-the murder of Harry Stone-which takes him on a trail of interviewing all of his favorite Motor City music stars. Author Mark Bego takes the reader on an entertaining and cocktail-filled ride through the streets of Detroit to solve Detective Rusk's most fascinating case.
Now, Mark Bego takes readers between the lines of his new book…
After 59 non-fiction biographies, including three huge best-sellers, this is your 60th book. Why did it take you so long to turn to fiction?
Writing fiction is something that I have always wanted to do, but the timing was never quite right. About 15 years ago a book editor suggested to Mary Wilson of The Supremes that she and I should write a murder mystery. We talked about the idea, but then Mary got busy, so I took the baton and came up with the idea of “Murder at Motor City Records” as an homage to my love of the music business and its dramatic characters.
You have had recent publications on Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and The Supremes. Are any of your characters in “Murder at Motor City Records” based on real show business figures?
Oh yes! For over 40 years I have made a career out of writing books about international stars in the music business. In this book I undeniably used dozens of celebrities as inspirations and / or prototypes for my fictional characters. I purposely want to keep everyone guessing “who’s who” in this book like Jacqueline Susann did in “Valley of the Dolls!”
The cover illustration is eye-catching and colorful. What is the significance and meaning of it?
It is actually one of my paintings, and all of the images have to do with the plot and setting of the book. The three green towers represent Detroit’s iconic Renaissance Center, the three divas signify the plot’s prime “girl group,” and the orchids and the bees are actually clues that challenge my detective.
What mystery writers influenced you when you were writing this book?
The first books that I found myself totally absorbed in were the ones written by Agatha Christie like “And Then There Were None.” I also admire Dashiell Hammett and his cocktail-loving detectives Nick and Nora Charles in “The Thin Man.” And, I love James M. Cain and his stories like “Double Indemnity.” I tried to infuse this book with Christie’s breezy-but-deadly storytelling, Hammett’s martini-drinking sleuths, and Cain’s dark and murderous characters. This book blends all of these influences.
Were any of your personal experiences used in “Murder at Motor City Records?”
When I created my detective, Marcus Rusk, I gave him my love of music and my passion for singing stars. I also made him a bit of a “Peter Pan” style adult, which is totally true to me. I am a product of my love of Motown Records, and Detective Marcus Rusk is a product of his love of fictional Motor City Records
What is next for your “Murder at Motor City Records” detective, Marcus Rusk?
I already have outlines for his next two crime-solving adventures. The next one involves Marcus following one of my other characters to Paris for a big gala rock & roll show that takes place there. The third one involves him solving a murder at a huge music industry awards show that becomes something like: “‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Meets ‘The Grammy Awards!’”
With thanks to Mark Bego for cluing us in to some of the mysteries behind Murder at Motor City Records.