Thursday, January 20, 2022

Guest Author Day with HS Burney


Please give a warm welcome to Fati Rizvi from The Lake Templeton Murders by HS Burney today as we sit down and see what makes him/her tick.


What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not saving (the world, clients, your mate)?

Learning languages! I’m fluent in four right now. And scrabbling around trying to learn my fifth – Mandarin – right now. It’s got to be the hardest one I’ve ever worked on.


What is it about your love interest (can put name here) that makes you crazy in a good way?

I’m blissfully single. Relationships are a distraction from solving cases. Not that I don’t enjoy a good romp in the hay from time to time. There is a hazel-eyed, muscled detective that’s been keeping me at night, though…


Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? Thrash her/him to within an inch of their life? Make them do the stupid crap they makes you do?

All the time! I mean – she makes me break locks, trespass into places where I’m not welcome, stick my foot in my mouth with all kinds of dangerous people. Not to mention, I barely get any sleep, my diet is horrendous, and she keeps making me work with this dreamy detective who I know I can’t have but keep having dirty thoughts about. It’s inconvenient!


Do you have a favorite food?

Chocolate croissants! But I’m not averse to a good, juicy burger and fries from time to time. Especially when I’ve been living on baked goods for days.


Tell me a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges in that world?

I live in beautiful Vancouver BC. I live on my own in a twelfth-floor condo on a hill about five minutes away from downtown. We are not exactly crime capital but we do have lots of rich people that own big houses. And stew in their secrets. Things are rarely how they seem on the surface. We Canadians may be polite – but we can be just as devious as anyone else. We just hide it well!

Although I have to work with the police (they’re a necessary evil!), we don’t always see eye-to-eye. The police are handcuffed by procedure but I’m not afraid to sneak in through the back door. That’s landed me in hot water with the force in the past. Thankfully, having spent three years as a beat cop, I have some great relationships within the department too. You can call it a love-hate relationship.


Describe yourself in four words.


Relentless. Direct. Obsessive. Suspicious.

All in service of solving the case!


What do you do for a living?


I’m a Private Investigator for hire. Although I do pick up the odd case pro-bono, if it’s interesting enough and involves a dead body. And by pro-bono, I mean forcibly insert myself into a case that sparks my fancy!


What do you fear the most?


My mother – no, really, a phone call from her is enough to get me shuddering. She’s never approved of my life choices. And the fact that I’m unmarried and child-free at thirty-five is, to her, worse than being an axe murderer.

The Lake Templeton Murders, by HS Burney

Genre: Mystery / Crime  

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An edge-of-your seat murder mystery set in a forgotten, ocean-facing town on Vancouver Island! 


A body washes up on the shores of Lake Templeton, a small town on the coast of Vancouver Island. Sharon Reese, the victim, was a dedicated government employee. Everyone liked her, but no one knew much about her. Was she hiding something? Maybe a questionable past riddled with scandal. And did it lead to her plunge to death, in a drunken stupor, off the dock outside her secluded lakefront lodge?


Was it an accident? A suicide? Or cold-blooded murder? Private Investigator, Fati Rizvi, is determined to find out. 

Fati arrives in Lake Templeton to find secrets that run as deep as the City’s sewers. Everyone is hiding something and nothing is as it seems. A cult escapee. A corrupt politician. A struggling airline. A multi-million dollar public-private project to revitalize the Lake Templeton waterfront. How are they all connected? 


As Fati valiantly unravels the knots, another body is found on the shore. Is it the same killer? And can Fati stop them before they strike again?



Sharon’s body was half-reposed face-down on the wet sand, deposited on the shore like plastic waste. Clumps of hair were caught in the jagged rocks that edge the receding land, one bloated arm flung over a large boulder, as if trying to find a grip. Her legs floated behind her like windsocks. Silk shirt ballooned over the surface of the water like a parachute. 

The crime scene has been cleared up. Culver Beach sparkles in the vestiges of the sinking sunlight, sand glinting like diamond dust. The only remnants of the morning’s tragic discovery - dried boot prints in the grassy sand, left behind by the police. 

The nearest house is walled off by a thicket of trees and is currently empty, owned by a businessman who only spends a few months here in the summers. The beach is quiet, with not even a dog walker in sight. I walk on the sand for a few minutes, shoes in hand, reveling in the quietude. I breathe in the fresh air, slightly briny, and crisp enough to open up my nasal pathways. 

No answers will be found here. Not for me. I have limited experience analyzing crime scenes. Even though, as a beat cop, I elbowed my way to many sites above my pay grade, attaching myself to the most brilliant detectives like a barnacle. Thankfully, you don’t need to be an expert at crime scene analysis to catch a killer.

And catching a killer is what I do best. 

I will answer the plea in Sharon’s outstretched arms, still flailing in death as her body collided against the land, unmoored from its watery grave. I will unravel the secrets in the wide eyes and rote responses of Sharon’s colleagues, all identical, parroting one another. The combative non-responses of Mayor Alena Krutova. And the exaggerated sorrow of Sergio Alvarez, Marketing Manager at City Hall, who claims to only know Sharon as a dear colleague. 

I will piece together the puzzle of Sharon’s life. Who was she? What was she doing in Lake Templeton? Did she steal a half a million dollars from the City? And did it drag her to an early death, pitched off the deck outside her own home? 

What transpired on Sharon’s deck last night after the sun sank behind the heavy winter shadows? 


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