Guest Blogger ~ Saralyn Richard

The Origin of Detective Oliver Parrott

By Saralyn Richard

I hate to admit this, but the protagonist in my Detective Parrott Mystery Series began as an afterthought. Shameful, I know, but truthful, nonetheless. The first book in the series, MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, begins with an elegant party—a weekend retreat at a country mansion in Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, where some of America’s wealthiest and most powerful live.

I was so focused on the party—the guests, the invitation, the menu—I lost sight of the fact that the plot was barreling towards a mysterious death in the bedroom on the fourth floor. Once I had the body, and I’d carefully lined up the various suspects, I realized I needed a detective. Of course, I did. So, I fleshed out the details of the detective’s appearance, his background, his personality. Parrott was an outsider, having little in common with the people in Brandywine. He was young and African American, smart and well-organized, undaunted by the glamor or power, and able to see through the subterfuge and dissembling that was thrown at him.

I’d had students like Parrott. I knew him inside and out. I decided to name him Parrott after Agatha Christie’s detective, Hercule Poirot. (His name is pronounced like “parrot,” the bird.) Once I got further into writing the book, I realized that Parrott was the main character. With that in mind, I rewrote the first chapters of the book to shine the spotlight on him from the start.

The more scenes I wrote with Parrott in them, the more I admired and appreciated his qualities and the way he worked. I loved the way he treated others, too. I still didn’t fathom how much readers would root for him. It wasn’t until MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT was published, and a clamoring for more Parrott books started that I even considered writing a series.

Here we are, four years and three books later. A PALETTE FOR LOVE AND MURDER was published in 2019, and CRYSTAL BLUE MURDER was just released in September. The Detective Parrott Mystery Series continues to thrive, and so does Detective Parrott, the protagonist who was actually an afterthought.



In the heart of tranquil, lavish Brandywine Valley, Detective Parrott confronts a meth explosion, a dismembered corpse, and an intricate trail of deceitful secrets that shake up many lives — including his own. When celebrity hostess Claire Whitman’s renovated barn explodes into flames, Parrott delves into the privileged lives of all who are affected. Tension from Parrott’s personal life crosses over into the case, and secrets, deceptions, and crimes create an even bigger explosion. Third in the Detective Parrott Mystery Series, Crystal Blue Murder explores the complexities of life in an entitled world where many of America’s wealthiest and most powerful elite have their own definitions of right and wrong.

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Crystal Blue Murder by Saralyn Richard, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (

Saralyn Richard is the author of award-winning mysteries that pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. An active member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature. Her favorite thing about being an author is connecting with readers like you. Follow Saralyn and subscribe to her monthly newsletter at

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