Skip to main content


September 12, 2019

The World of the Third Geneva Chase Mystery, GRAVEYARD BAY


Thomas Kies is the author of the Geneva Chase mystery series, the third installment of which, GRAVEYARD BAY, is now available. These books take place in Fairfield County, Connecticut, which Thomas knows very well, having spent 18 years there working for a newspaper. But there are other reasons why he chose this area, a bedroom community that is extremely affluent yet also has to deal with crushing poverty in economically challenged cities, which can lead to some horrific crimes. After reading this piece from Thomas, you will understand why Fairfield County is such a fascinating setting for a mystery series.


When I started my first book, I picked Fairfield County, Connecticut as the setting for my Geneva Chase mystery series. The primary reason was that I know the area from working at a newspaper there for 18 years. I’m familiar with the roads, the towns, the time it takes to drive from place to place, the restaurants, the stores, and companies doing business there.

Full disclosure: I don’t live there anymore. As many of you know, I live on the coast of North Carolina. Someday I’ll set a story here, but for the time being, I’ll just enjoy the beaches, the fabulous food and the lack of traffic (except for tourist season).

I picked Fairfield County for other reasons as well. It’s a bedroom community near New York City, and much of the area is extremely affluent with deep pockets of wealth such as Greenwich, Westport, New Canaan, Easton and Ridgefield.

Fairfield County is home to CEOs, movie stars, Broadway actors, bestselling authors, rock stars and famous athletes. The attraction is its proximity to Manhattan. It is also far enough away that paparazzi aren’t usually an annoying factor.

But when you have affluence, you often have crushing poverty. One of the most economically challenged cities in Connecticut is Bridgeport in the southeastern corner of the county. That kind of extreme diversity in an area makes it attractive to me as a writer.

And you have some pretty gruesome crimes that take place --- in real life.

Just this past January, the body of a 24-year-old woman was found stuffed in a suitcase in Greenwich. The cause of death for the bookstore clerk from New Rochelle (neighboring Westchester County, which also is affluent) was deemed “homicidal asphyxia.” The ex-boyfriend of the young lady was arrested after using her ATM card. He claimed that the young woman fell and hit her head during sex at her apartment. He admits that he bound her hands and feet, placed tape over her mouth, shoved her into a suitcase and left her in a “forest.”

This kind of thing ain’t supposed to happen in Greenwich.

In December 2011, a friend of mine was murdered in his jewelry shop in Westport. Yekutiel Zeevi (known to his friends as Kootie) was the owner of Y.Z. Jewelers. It was a fascinating place that wasn’t always open to the public. You had to get past his security system and be buzzed in.

When I first met him, he had a small, glittering pile of diamonds on a table in front of him and a jeweler’s loupe in his eye. The first thing he did when I walked through the door was ask if I smoked. I did at the time. Then he bummed a cigarette. We became friends after that, even inviting me to go to Africa with him on a diamond-buying trip.

I never took him up on the trip.

In December 2011, Kootie and an associate met with a buyer who we later discovered was a half-million dollars in debt. He shot and killed my friend, wounded the associate, and left with $300,000 in diamonds.

This kind of thing ain’t supposed to happen in Westport.

The killer was captured in Spain, where, while awaiting extradition to the United States, he took his own life.

On May 24th of this year, Jennifer Dulos of New Canaan, a 50-year-old mother of five, went missing.  

Her estranged husband, Fortis Dulos, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, were arrested for tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. According to prosecutors, Jennifer’s blood mixed with her husband’s DNA was found on the faucet in the kitchen of her home.

Police continue to look for Jennifer Dulos…or her remains.

This kind of thing ain’t supposed to happen in New Canaan.

The point is that bad things can and do happen even in the best of neighborhoods. That kind of juxtaposition makes for jarring news stories, but can make for interesting fiction.