Thursday, February 20, 2014

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for The Sinister Sitcom Caper

Join author Sally Carpenter on her Virtual Book Tour for The Sinister Sitcom Caper, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, from February 17 – March 3, 2014.  Please leave a comment or question for Sally to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter the giveaway on my blog, for one print copy of The Sinister Sitcom Caper (U.S. Only) by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. My review will post by the weekend. 

By Sally Carpenter

One of the challenges of writing a cozy is dreaming up the cast of secondary characters—people who are unique, quirky and fun. In “The Sinister Sitcom Caper,” I wanted to avoid the rut of all the characters looking the same. Since my hero, former ‘70s teen idol Sandy Fairfax, is six-foot-two-inches, why make another character considerably shorter—like a dwarf?

The book opens with Sandy, trying to revive his career at age 38, arriving at a movie studio for a guest spot on the sitcom “Off-Kelter.” Inside a dark soundstage with his motorcycle helmet on, Sandy stumbles into Joseph Graves, one of the actors on the sitcom. The little man is miffed, but eventually the two become unlikely partners as they investigate the suspicious death of a diva.

The character of Joseph was inspired by the various dwarf actors that I’ve seen on TV over the years.

One of my favorite actors is Michael Dunn, best known as the evil Dr. Loveless on “The Wild, Wild West.” Dunn appeared several times in the series. Despite his size, he still proved a worthy adversary of James West.

Dunn also appeared in “Get Smart,” “Start Trek” and “Bonanza” as well as movies and stage plays, earning a Tony Award nomination. He gained an Oscar nod for his performance in the film “Ship of Fools.” He died at age 38.

Another famous dwarf actor was David Rappaport. I remember him best as the defense attorney Hamilton Schuyler who appeared several times on TV’s “LA Law.” He earned the nickname “Mighty Mouse” for his reputation of winning his cases. In one episode, Schuyler defended the right of the contestants who chose to engage in the game of dwarf tossing (you’d have to see it to believe it).

Rappaport was also the bossy leader of a gang of dwarfs who travel through time to steal riches in Terry Gilliam’s film “Time Bandits.” During filming Gilliam often lowered the camera to shoot from the eye level of the dwarfs.

Rappaport, sadly, suffered from depression and died at age 38 from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Most people have never seen actor Kenny Baker because his most iconic role is that of Star War’s R2-D2. Baker was the person inside the droid that made it move.

“Da plane! Da plane, boss!” Nearly everyone of a certain age remembers Herve Villechaize opening “Fantasy Island” with these words. But Villechaize’s fantasy of getting a larger salary on the show was dashed when the producers fired him. His health deteriorated and he died from suicide.

Verne Troyer, who stands a mere 2-foot-8-inches, plays Mini-Me in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” His first acting role was a stunt double for a baby!

The champion of all dwarf actors was Billy Barty who began acting in vaudeville at age 5 and performed in more than 150 movies and TV shows. Not only did he inspired many other dwarf actors but he founded Little People of America, a support and informational organization for persons under 4-feet-6-inches.

Dwarfs face many challenges in a world of “average” people. Many do not live long due to the medical condition that caused their dwarfism. However, modern accommodations help them adapt, such as pedal extensions that allow them to drive cars and custom houses build to their size.

In the past, dwarfs were considered “freaks” and frequently worked in circuses and sideshows where audiences gawked and laughed at them. Today dwarfs act in TV, movies and the legitimate stage, proving that little people have great talent.

I had fun writing about Joseph Graves and hope readers will enjoy him, Sandy Fairfax and the other characters in “The Sinister Sitcom Caper.”

By the way, I stand 6 feet tall. I had to use my imagination to see the world from Joseph’s level.

The Sinister Sitcom Caper
By Sally Carpenter
Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mysteries

Publisher:  Cozy Cat Press
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 212 Pages
ISBN:  978-1939816238

Buy Links:  Amazon Barnes & Noble

About the book:

Sandy Fairfax, former teen idol and star of the ‘70s hit TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth,” is now a middle-aged recovering alcoholic who realizes that making a comeback can be murder. He’s the guest star on “Off-Kelter,” a corny family situation comedy, and the lowest rated TV show of the 1993 fall season.

Before rehearsals barely begin one of the actors drops dead at Sandy’s feet. He investigates, enlisting the aid of two of his new cast mates: a dwarf and an animal actor. During his snooping, we meet Sandy’s ex, his parents and his teenage son, all with their own “situations” going on. During rehearsals Sandy also encounters a beautiful choreographer—could this be love?

Will Sandy solve the murder before the Friday night taping of “Off-Kelter” or will the elusive killer cancel our hero before the final credits? This book was inspired by the author’s experience working as a tour guide/page at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. 

About The Author

Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.  She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award and “Star Collector” was produced in New York City.

Carpenter also has a master’s degree in Theology and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

She’s worked as an actress, freelance writer, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for a major movie studio. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

Her initial book in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series, “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper,” was a 2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel.

Her short story, “Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in,” appears in the anthology “Last Exit to Murder.”

“Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” was published in the “Plan B: Vol. 2” e-book anthology.

Her short story “The Pie-eyed Spy” appeared in the Nov. 23, 2013, issue of Kings River Life ezine.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles chapter. Contact her at Facebook

Tour Schedule
February 17 – Chloe Gets a Clue – Interview
February 17 - Christa Reads and Writes - Review
February 18 –StoreyBook Reviews - Review
February 19 – Kelly P's Blog - Interview
February 20 –Queen of All She Reads – Review – Guest Post - Giveaway
February 21 –rantin' ravin' and reading – Review – Guest Post
February 22 – off
February 23 – Cozy Up With Kathy - Interview
February 24 – Books-n-Kisses - Review
February 25 – Omnimystery News - Interview
February 26 – readalot blog - Review
February 27 – Community Bookstop – Review - Giveaway
February 28 – Read Your Writes - Spotlight
March 1 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book - Review
March 2 –off
March 3 –Brooke Blogs - Review


  1. What a fascinating novel. I am impressed with Sally's creativity and talent. Lovely to learn about her background and writing. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Thanks for your kind comment! I enjoy writing about Sandy and getting him into trouble LOL.

  2. I totally loved Joseph! He added some snarky humor to the dialogue. Thanks for all the information on dwarf actors. We have Little People in my husband's family.

    1. Hi Jackie, thanks for stopping by. That's cool about having little people among your kin. My parish has a little people couple. They were gracious enough to give me some information about themselves.

  3. The premise sounds interesting