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By Josh Perry
Hometown Weekly Staff
Medfield resident and author Neal Sanders has announced that his latest mystery novel, “How to Murder Your Contractor,” is now available at local outlets and as an e-book through Amazon. Sanders will also be speaking about the novel on Tuesday, March 1 at the Fiske Library in Wrentham.
In “How to Murder Your Contractor,” Sanders makes a return to Hardington, the fictional town he created as a setting for five of his mysteries dating back to 2010. Hardington is a familiar locale for Medfield residents with its location to the southwest of Boston, bordered by the Charles River and with two, state highways intersecting in its downtown.
The scene is reminiscent of Medfield, even down to an “old state sanitarium on the north side of town.” Thankfully unlike the real Medfield, its fictional counterpart has a lot of murders and Sanders has fun telling the intriguing back stories behind each one - from a town official to garden club members to, now, a local contractor.
According to a press release from the publisher, the story revolves around a couple, Anne and Matt Carlton, looking to downsize to a “dream retirement home,” but struggling to find the right person to built it. The release added, “Local builders are reluctant to tie up crews to construct a modest 2,100 square foot Cape when there are million-dollar McMansions to be erected.”
In steps Joey McCoy, who promises to have the home built by Thanksgiving, but once the contract is signed McCoy disappears for long stretches. Sanders injects humor into the “battle of wits” between Anne Carlton (the narrator of the story) and McCoy. The press release noted that the phrase “hot compost” comes up more than once.
As he did when creating Hardington, Sanders takes aspects of real life and turns them into potential plot lines for his stories. He and his wife Betty recently moved into a smaller Medfield home and he came up with the title for his new novel, which then led to friends and neighbors sharing “horror stories” about contractors that he could include snippets of in the mystery.
“I came up with the title before I started writing the book,” Sanders said. “The wonderful part is that, as soon as I mentioned the title to friends, everyone wanted to tell me their contractor horror story. I incorporated many of those tales into my manuscript.”
Sanders is coy about how much of Hardington is based on Medfield. He explained, “The two towns have a lot in common.”
“The DNA of ‘Hardington’ is a mixture of many towns. There’s a Congregational Church on the town green and a Roche Bros. Hardington has commuter rail service. But if a reader concludes that Hardington is essentially Medfield, they’re on the right track.”
“How to Murder Your Contractor” is available at retail outlets in the area. For more information about Neal Sanders and all of his novels, visit www.thehardingtonpress.com.
Josh Perry is an Editor at Hometown Weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @Josh_Perry10.