Charlotte Fiore Gizzi grew up reading Nancy Drew mystery books and, later, adult thrillers by Lisa Scottoline and Janet Evanovich.
During each stage of her life she promised herself that she would take a stab at mystery writing once she had the time.
It turned out the perfect time was after the North Huntingdon woman retired as a corporate writer and public relations instructor.
"I wanted to try writing fiction since I made my living writing nonfiction," Ms. Fiore Gizzi, 67, said.
"Also, as I grew older, I saw how older women are viewed ... and I wanted to write about older women who are intelligent, creative, productive and with a sense of humor," she said of the genesis of her self-published mystery novel, "September Tempest."
"It is a novella, like comfort food. You can sit down one afternoon with a cup of coffee and read it," she said.
The 187-page work -- with humor woven throughout -- is published in large print for a quick and easier read.
The book is set in Irwin and features two former Seton Hill University roommates, Cam and Gina, who reunite as widows and open a bed-and-breakfast. Then they decide to help police solve a crime in which they knew the victim.
Although the characters are fictional, Ms. Fiore Gizzi's said her college roommate, Jean-Marie Bua of Wilmington, N.C., is the book's inspiration.
"I've dedicated the book to her. She was diagnosed with bone cancer in July and is in a real battle with the disease, which is incurable but treatable," she said.
The best part for Ms. Fiore Gizzi is "the satisfaction of getting it out there for other people to enjoy as well as the response from older women."
She added: "I also particularly enjoyed the email from a 10-year-old who wrote to say she really enjoyed the book."
There is also the satisfaction of conveying a positive image of senior women or, as Gina states, "We don't turn 60 and go senile all of a sudden."
The paperback can be purchased for $8 and the Kindle edition for $2.99 at www.amazon.com.neigh_east - neigh_westmoreland
Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.