Jack Donegal is an engineer, toy inventor and the head of his own toy company but not a detective until he stumbles into a strange situation. While on a business trip, he stops to purchase a 1914 teddy bear at an estate auction. While still on the auction grounds, armed thugs, who mistake him for a Dalton Starks, seem to think he’s in possession of something they want. Although police rescue him from his first encounter with criminals, Jack and Andy Westin, his marketing manager, roommate and friend, begin to think there’s something special about this teddy bear to make it interesting to criminals. They engage in a cat and mouse hunt with various members of the criminal world, but who are the cats and who are the mice? With the help of their combined wits and various technical gadgetry including toy parts and prototypes, Jack and Andy help bring several criminals to justice. With two personalities like those of Jack and Andy, there is bound to be some silliness along the way in this comedy mystery.

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A Jack Donegal Mystery

A story of mystery & adventure

Ellen’s eyes shot open wide. “You are in trouble?”

“Uh…” Jack fumbled, and I felt his awkwardness so intensely. “Well, I’d prefer to say that we were in an adventure, an unforeseen adventure.”

“Just how much adventure are you in?”

A story of humor

“I can’t believe you’re a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology,” I said.

“How come?”

“You see nothing ironic in this?” I asked. “Says the man in the Rubik’s Cube tie and swing dancing shoes.” I was wearing a simple shirt from J. Crew with stripes and nothing cutesy. My shirt did not have to announce my line of work.

“It’s called geek chic. It’s very hip,” said Jack.

“Or just plain geek,” I said. “So, what you’re really saying is that you were a square before it was hip to be a square?” I asked, doing my own twist on hipster humor. The logic in this statement befuddled my brain.

A story of friendship

Could I trust Jack? It was true that he had compelled me to appear in public as a hippie Indian chief, but he had also saved my life on a couple of occasions.


Jack Donegal

Jack Donegal heads his own toy company, Out of the Box Toys, where he sells his own inventions. He has an electrical engineering degree from MIT and a toy design degree from FIT. Although it is not his main career, he finds he is good at sleuthing. Jack has an assortment of hobbies including crossword puzzles, collecting obscure facts, the martial art of krav maga, swing and country line dancing and spending time with his beagle George. He is partially proficient in a number of foreign languages and has decent skills in both drawing and singing. He has very eclectic musical tastes. Jack has his own unique sense of style, is not afraid of color and often dresses like a walking gimmick for his toy business. Andy often rolls his eyes at Jack’s fashion choices. His favorite local hangout is the Salvador Deli. While he is a master at many things, he sometimes absent-mindedly fails at time management, scheduling and other practical matters.

Andy Westin

Andy Westin, the story’s narrator, is Jack’s marketing manager and, as a master of organization, excels in the areas where Jack does not. He works at keeping Jack on schedule and working out some of the more down-to-earth matters of their business. Andy’s greatest skill is coming up with wisecracks and seeing situations and everyone, including himself, in a humorous light. He sometimes thinks Jack has hare-brained ideas but finds himself going along with them in spite of himself. He is not too shabby at sleuthing. Although he’s fashion-conscious, his tastes are conservative. He prefers classic rock to other musical styles. He has moderate appreciation for many things but veers away from extremes. His favorite local hang-out is the Salvador Deli where he can engage in his hobby of swapping creative insults with the barista girl, Janie Duveau.

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Susan Joy Clark is a reporter with a local newspaper in Northern New Jersey. Like Jack Donegal, she is a bit of the dreamer type. She enjoys singing in the choir and leading the puppet ministry at her church, dance exercise and, of course, writing stories. She is an avid reader, always carrying her Kindle around, reading an assortment of books including mystery, historical fiction, humor, 19th century literature and various non-fiction. She loves to play board games with friends as well as online trivia games or crosswords. She is the author of two books, And the Violin Cried, a youth novel, and Action Men with Silly Putty: A Jack Donegal Mystery.

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  • An avid reader
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