A local author’s murder mystery takes place in… St. Cloud!

Anna Ruth Worten-Fritz, first-time author and retired teacher, of St. Cloud, wrote an article titled “Who dunit? for the young adult genre, titled “He Deserved to Die”.

The book uses many features of the St. Cloud area in a fictional “Lake Harmony Preserve” neighborhood location. The Saint Cloud police headquarters also gets involved in the act, including two fictional gendarmerie detectives who are challenged to find the killer.

Worten-Fritz was a K-12 teacher at Florida public schools, teaching history, geography, and reading. Her last teaching job was at Harmony High School. This is her first book, and it was written during the quiet silence of the first COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was written at that time, but it was really eight years in the making,” Worten-Fritz said.

The story opens with the disappearance of a widely hated racist neighbor at a neighborhood event to welcome a new couple of color who have just moved in. This becomes a case of everyone being suspicious, with enough motive and opportunity to take down the obnoxious “Mr. Merry”.

The story has a light touch with well-developed characters that are intertwined in some complex social issues of our times. So far, the book has received 39 reviews on Amazon.com, all five stars.

Worten-Fritz is encouraged by the reception the book has received from several book clubs in the area that she has been invited to speak to.

“I was asked if I was going to write another book, and while I’m not sure, some ideas that came to mind were either a prequel, to explore how ‘Mr. Happy’ became such a that he was at the time of his murder, or a different story continues with the detectives in this book,” she said.

“He Deserved to Die” is available at St. Cloud’s Veterans Memorial Library in the Local Author section, and for download through the library’s Hoopla app, as well as at all bookstores.

She resides part-time in St. Cloud and part-time in New Smyrna Beach with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. She has also taught English online to Chinese students and volunteers with the Adult Literacy League, teaching English to Spanish speakers.

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