Buck Baxter was gracious enough to talk to us here at It’s About The Book.
Hello, Buck! Thanks so much for agreeing to answer some questions.
It’s my pleasure, although you may have to explain to me again later what a blog is. Here in Wilde City, you get the news from Skip the news-kid on the corner, or else one of your more reliable sources, preferably in some out-of-the-way gin joint where the lights are low and everybody is good at mindin’ their own business. This town is full of respectable dives where everyone knows that keeping to yourself is the best way to keep alive. But this blog business is a little beyond me. And what the hell is the internet? Some sort of equipment the cops use to drag bodies out of the river? There’s a lotta loose-lipped schmucks at the bottom of Wilde City harbour comparin’ concrete shoe sizes these days, thanks to the gangster war between Mama Marlow and Bugsy Brown. Talk about a marriage gone wrong. I tell ya, I see plenty of those in my line of work. Boy meets girl. Boy cheats on girl. Girl pops boy in the head with a pistol. It’s the kinda thing that keeps me in business. Just look at my latest case—Miss Winnipeg Whitmore wants proof that her husband ain’t nothin’ but a lyin, cheatin’, two-timin’, yella-bellied alligator. But is she after the truth… or hidin’ secrets of her own?
What’s your best memory of time spent with one the rent boys from The Velvet Viper?
Memories are for people in love. They’re for schmucks who tuck keepsakes inside books and stick photographs in albums. I ain’t got nothin’ but bad memories of growin’ up, of being trapped in that orphanage at Hell’s Bells convent as a boy. Since leavin’ there, I’ve tried my best not to be the kinda guy to collect fond memories. Visits to the Velvet Viper are about gettin’ some ass, I go there for a good time, not a long time. Sure the boys are handsome as hell, and a couple of them—like Naughty Nick who used to work there, and the new kid Clarrie and that tight ass of his—some of them have whet my whistle… and I ain’t talkin’ about offerin’ me a drink. But now that Holden Hart is on the scene, I ain’t sure I’ll ever go back to that sexy, sinful snakepit… unless of course I need some information for a case.
If Mama couldn’t get gin into Wilde City what would be your second choice of beverage?
My second choice would be to move to another town, I hear the bootleggin’ is reliable down in Atlantic City. But since I’m kinda partial to Wilde City, I guess I could stay and switch to something else. Madame Chang has more than just pot in her floating opium den The Peking Empress. I’m sure she could fix me up a potion or two that’d satisfy my needs.
We were going to ask you a question about your cannabis smoking, but we can’t remember what it was. Do you have any snacks?
I ain’t much for snacks, I’ll admit that. Perhaps I’ll chew on some beef jerky from time to time, and there’s always some ice in the bottom of a glass of gin to crunch on, if that counts. The gin never lasts long enough for the ice to melt… funny that.
Do think Holden’s family will accept you given your very different upbringings and stations in life?
My jury’s still out on Holden’s parents, Howard and Crystal Hart. I’m gettin’ the picture that Holden and his dad may not see eye to eye, and I got a feeling in my gut that Howard Hart has some secrets of his own. Stay tuned, I’ll be sure to dig for more.
Have you thought about how having a celebrity boyfriend will affect your life now?
I’ve always been one to lay low and stay outta the limelight, so I’m thinkin’ me and Holden may have some rocky times ahead. This town thinks he’s the cat’s meow, and so do I to be honest. But with his bein’ the popular party-boy and wealthy socialite that he is, I’m sure there’s gonna be moments when I step back into the shadows and let him take the stage alone. Whether or not that causes some friction, time will tell. But I’m a private detective, not a celebrity or a star. Fame is somethin’ I’ve never wanted. Avoidin’ it, however, may be a different ballgame altogether.
Considering you are a detective, why did you never think to look for your childhood friend?
I didn’t get outta Hell’s Bells till I was thrown out at the age of sixteen. I had no money, nowhere to live, no food to eat. I had to get a job to survive. I sold papers to start with… I’m the guy who got Skip the news-kid his job… the little wise-ass is yet to thank me. After that I tended bars, worked as a waiter, shined shoes, anything I could to make ends meet. All the while I kept my ear to the ground, making connections, figuring out the clockwork of Wilde City, and what—or rather who—makes it tick… which is when I fell into the job of private detective. Sure I thought of Harry a lot, but in the struggle to survive I didn’t have the time to look for him. It’s something I’ll always regret.
Do you think your kind of friending of Mama put you on her side of the break up?
I don’t like to take anyone’s side in a feud, but if I had to have an ally in either Mama or Bugsy, I’d choose Mama any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Bugsy’s the kinda guy who’ll smile at ya face then pop you in the back as soon as you turn around. At least Mama’s willing to do business. Having said that, I’d never wanna cross her. That Mama Marlow is one tough dame.
We’d really like to thank you for answering our questions, Buck. Even if this whole blog thing is a bit confusing and you didn’t bring any snacks.
Thanks again for having me. I gotta get back to my latest case now. The divas who are starring in the new production of The Snake Charmer’s Slave down at the Maharaja Majestic Theatre keep disappearin’. Nobody’s sure if there’s a killer on the loose… or a phantom at the opera. Sounds like a mystery for Buck Baxter to solve!
Buck Baxter, Love Detective is available for purchase at Wilde City Press and Amazon as well as other retailers.