My first words must be to my loyal readers, many of whom e-mailed to inquire when they could look for the next book in the series. To all, I apologize for the long delay. It was not for lack of interest in my protagonists, Ben and Rebecca: They resonate in my brain every day. The delay was not for lack of inspiration: Memories of an extensive visit to Yucatán were resonating, too. The research file for the book was bulging. I had compiled a long list of challenges for Ben and Rebecca to face. My daydreams had congealed into pieces that could be snapped into a story. No, I’m sorry to say, the rest of my life simply overtook me. A long list of deferred-maintenance projects demanded my attention and denied me another 18-month block of uninterrupted time. That is the minimum needed to produce a finished Ben Candidi story that is as good as or better than the ones I have written before.
While putting my final affairs in order, I received an offer from a biotech startup on the other side of the country to work as a consultant on retainer. This served as a clarion call to reawaken the old scientific warhorse. The work claimed a few hours every day or so. I filled the remnants of those broken days reading novels, biographies and histories in Spanish. (For having lived in Miami so long, my level of proficiency in that language had become a secret embarrassment — something like a semi-inflated basketball sitting in the corner of the garage.) Intensification in Spanish, along with a couple of extended stays in Spain, did enhance the authenticity of Yucatán Is Murder. The experience also provided material for a new adventure set in the Pyrenees.
Curiously, the event most responsible for delaying this book was an unexpected telephone call that was worthy of a Ben Candidi story! A partner of a law firm wanted to know if I would be interested in rendering expert opinions on certain patents and technologies. I gave him an hour of free time on the phone. He called back a week later. It turned into a project that engulfed the next two years of my life. I served as the lead expert witness in the defense of a large pharmaceutical company against a claim of patent infringement by another large pharmaceutical firm. Confidentiality does not allow me to say more, but it was extremely satisfying to help the good guys win. Also, this professional experience was further validation for the career path that I have been charting for Ben. (See Amazon Gold and the Chapter 10 to Chapter 11 transition in Yucatán Is Murder.) Working scientists are some of my best fans.
Finally, the 18-month block of time did open up and book number six has been written.
Rebecca’s public health project in Yucatán starts the story off, with Ben tagging along and soaking up local culture. I enjoy giving my two-career couple a chance to enjoy each other on a working vacation. Of course laws of symmetry governing the universe dictate that if you are having too much fun, something bad will happen. Rebecca and Ben can take that in stride. They are idealistic, optimistic and capable. But serendipity also comes drifting in every once in a while. During the time spent pumping up my semi-inflated Spanish basketball, I also started experimenting with graphic art. That resulted in the pencil-sketch illustrations included in this book.
I hope you enjoy my sketches from Yucatán. And I promise that more adventures will follow. The next one will be in Spain. After that comes Germany.
With best wishes,
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