Sharp, 59, is a South Florida native who spent two decades as a reporter for USA Today. Around her 50th birthday she decided to give up the news business and turn to fiction. Out of that decision has come the Mace Bauer mystery series, set in the fictional Florida town of Himmarshee. The newest installment, Mama Gets Trashed, just might be Sharp's most risque yet due to Mace's discovery of a dead body dressed in a leather getup at the local dump.
What's on your nightstand?
Books are always fighting for space on my nightstand. They tell a tale of an eclectic taste, or a sad addiction to the used book bargains offered by the Friends of the Library. I'm just finishing Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. The story is captivating, but the Holocaust theme is much darker than my usual escapist fare. I'm ready to dive into the pink-covered book on deck, which is Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: A Slightly Tarnished Southern Belle's Words of Wisdom by the hilarious Celia Rivenbark. After that, I'll breeze through a Dorothy Gilman title I somehow missed in my quest to read masters of the cozy mystery. I felt like a treasure hunter when I unearthed it from a 25-cent paperback bin. It's Mrs. Pollifax and the Whirling Dervish.
Besides Rivenbark, what authors do you read to keep your funny bone tickled?
I love almost anything by my fellow Florida native Carl Hiaasen, and not just for his wicked sense of humor but also for the comeuppance he hands out to evil developers, crooked politicians and entitled celebrities, among others. I haven't read his Bad Monkey yet, but I loved Star Island. I also like the Times' own Jeff Klinkenberg. Who else would convince a renowned tuba player to blow a B-flat to excite some randy alligators? And among my fellow funny mystery writers, I enjoy Janet Evanovich, Elaine Viets, Nancy Martin and the late Anne George, whose Southern Sisters mysteries were a huge influence on me.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer