Sunday, August 27, 2017

Character Profile: Pappy Cantrell



There's been some grumbling in the squad room. Apparently not everyone is pleased with the attention Jefferson Chene has been receiving.  So it seemed only appropriate that another primary character from "Why 319?" get his turn.   Here's your chance to learn about Captain Prescott "Pappy" Cantrell, the man in charge of Squad Six.





Tell us a little about yourself.

 (takes a drag on his ever present cigarette) Ah’m from the deep south of Tennessee.  After my hitch in the army, Ah moved to Michigan. Ah met a girl from Detroit when on leave. So Ah came here and started workin’ as a policeman for the state.  Ain’t never been married.  Ah’m too restless for it.

How did your background get you involved in this novel?  

More than twenty-five years chasin’ crooks mayhap somethin’ to do with it.  Me and my squad close cases. Keeps da Governor happy.

Who came first, you or the author?

(chuckles loudly) Well, he is ol’ as dirt, so probably was him.  Seems to me he was buyin’ drinks one night and we got to talkin’.  He liked hearin’ bout sum of our cases. He’s awright … for a Yankee.

What’s your greatest strength?   And of course, we want to know the opposite, your greatest weakness.  

(another puff on the cigarette) Ah’m good at pickin’ the best cops for my squad. They all different. But they git it done.  And it bothers me to admit, but Ah’m good at politics. Ah know how the systems works.  My biggest weakness?  Southern cookin’ and pretty women. Though not always in that order.

What is it about this mystery that sets it apart from the others?

Damn killings don’t make no sense. Ain’t no connection ‘tween the three girls. There’s more’n 2,000 square miles in them three counties we cover. And the killer leaves that message on the mirror ‘Why 319?’ The hell is that supposed ta mean?  But don’t y’all worry. We gonna find that sumbitch!

Tell us something about your background that may or may not be revealed in the book?

(chuckles) Y'all sure Chene ain’t gonna see this?  Ah read a lot of legal stuff. Court cases, lawsuits, government shit, stuff y’all might find borin’. And Ah won a boxin’ tourney back in the Army. It weren’t pretty, but it was a win. Ah’m also a pretty good dancer, if it’s real music.

Are you the type of person who always seeks out the company of others?

Ah do enjoy bein’ around a pretty woman or two. It’s hard work bein’ in charge of the squad. We works together to close them cases. But when the day’s over, y’all need some distance.

What do you do to relax after a day of fighting crime?

A thick steak, cooked rare, some fine Tennessee whiskey and… (chuckles) well, y’all figger out the rest.

What’s it like working with Jefferson Chene?

(hesitates and exhales a plume of cigarette smoke, watching it drift toward the ceiling) Chene’s awright. He’s stubborn.  But my daddy learned me long ago, y’all do better havin’ good people doin’ the heavy liftin’.  Chene’s smart. He kinda sees around the corners, diggin’ out the answers. He’s awright…for a Yankee.

Which do you prefer, music or television?
Ah don’t even own a television.  Music works just fine.   Like this one.

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