A Fatal Fruitcake reintroduces readers to Mary Kay Andrews’ alter ego


For the first time in 12 years, longtime Atlanta readers were greeted by an old friend at the Atlanta Press Club Holiday Author Party at 200 Peachtree  Street downtown Tuesday night — Atlanta writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck. OK, so technically, Trocheck  is an annual attendee at the event, signing her yearly novel under her New York Times best-selling pen name Mary Kay Andrews (her latest release in hardback is “Spring Fever”). But before achieving fame with her Southern-accented fiction, Trocheck wrote 10 mysteries under her own name, most of them starring Callahan Garrity, a former Atlanta Police Department cop turned private eye and The House Mouse house cleaning business owner.

As an early present to fans, Trocheck has self-published a brand-new Callahan Garrity short story titled “Fatal Fruitcake” in a signed, limited edition press run of 500 copies. Locally, Eagle Eye Books in Decatur is selling the slim tome. “I originally wrote this story 15 years ago for an airline magazine and the airline promptly merged with another airline,” Trocheck explains. “But I decided to self-publish this now because Harper Collins is going to re-release all those Callahan books beginning in March as trade paperbacks as ‘Mary Kay Andrews Writing as Kathy Hogan Trocheck.’ Turns out, many of Mary Kay Andrews’ readers don’t know about the mysteries. The plan is to reintroduce them, readers will sink a lot of money into buying them and make me rich so I can buy some real estate and some more junk!”

The reissue of Trocheck’s 1992 literary debut “Every Crooked Nanny” is due out in March with a few titles following at a time throughout 2013. The former AJC reporter will also self-publish additional Callahan short stories next year with the next one “Killer Fudge” in January and “The Family Jewels” due in February.

In her latest outing, Callahan is untangling her holiday lights when one of her House Mouse cleaners calls to inform her she’s stumbled across a corpse in the conference room at a Colony Square advertising firm. Spoiler Alert: The murder weapon is a liquor drenched, dried fruit and flour concoction.

Trocheck says the reaction from longtime readers to Callahan’s return has been gratifying: “They’re thrilled to have her back but they’re pissed that it’s not a full length novel.” The writer says she has a new short story idea in mind that would merge the worlds of her mysteries and her MKA-era work but a deadline looms for her next MKA novel due out in Summer 2013. The title? “Ladies Night” and the plot revolves around a group of people who meet in a “divorce recovery group.” The book is set on Florida’s Anna Maria Island. “Basically,” Trocheck explains with a smile, “because I wanted to write a book and go down to Florida in January!”

For more information on where you can find print or eBook editions of “Fatal Fruitcake,” visit the official Mary Kay Andrews website.