Let me introduce you to Nattie, the detective featured in my mystery novels; her birth name was Natalie Miriam Johnson. She became Natalie Moreland when she married Nathan. To her friends she is Nattie and to her clients she is Natasha McMorales (the story behind this unlikely name is in chapter 4 of “Why Natasha?”)
Nattie is a caretaker, a role that she learned in her alcoholic family of origin. Like any caretaker from a dysfunctional family she was conditioned to be overly responsible for others, self effacing, and a rescuer of the weak, defenseless, and irresponsible. These “skills” are precisely why she can get people to open up to her and tell her things they would never tell another detective. These “vulnerabilities” are also what set her up to be surrounded by immature men. Kevin, her creative underachieving brother and Nathan, her ex-husband who is staying sober while owning a tavern are the two most noteworthy men she tends, but there are others.
Nattie loves to find unusual places to eat, read mystery novels, and all things Italian, especially Saint Francis. Her favorite literary detective is Robert Parker’s Spencer. While Spencer is a large, intimidating ex boxer, Nattie refers to herself as “height impaired” and she looks like she could be Kristen Bell’s sister. She actually does look like Kristen Bell but she could never refer to herself in such flattering terms. Like Spencer, she is a consumate smart-ass, but while his wit is always stated out loud hers is either to herself or in code.
Lastly, but most importantly; I like her, she is an ammalgum of many women I have worked with in my psychotherapy practice. I believe when you read about her you will recognize and like her too.