Susan James

The Waterloo writer poses with a copy of her latest book, a murder mystery set in Waterloo and Seneca Falls.

WATERLOO — A well-respected Waterloo teacher and Town Board member is murdered during Convention Days in neighboring Seneca Falls.

That’s not a story from the pages of the Finger Lakes Times. Rather, it’s the plot of a murder mystery set in Waterloo and Seneca Falls in a new work of fiction.

Waterloo writer Susan James is hoping residents of those two communities, in particular, will find “Lock It Down, A Cady and Blue Mystery” an enjoyable read.

The book is full of references to real-life streets and locations in Waterloo. And, the characters drink a lot of Finger Lakes wines.

One of the murdered teacher’s best friends is Cady Colette, the librarian at the Waterloo Library who lives in an apartment above where Fatzinger Hall now exists.

The names “Cady” and “M’Clintock” are in the book, a tribute to women’s rights leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Thomas and Mary Ann M’Clintock. “Blue” is the police officer called in to solve the murder. He is a local state trooper, a Waterloo native, working at the Waterloo station. There is even a fictitious Finger Lakes Times reporter covering the murder investigation.

James believes the murderer will be a surprise to readers.

A California native, James met her husband, Dennis Benjamin, at Syracuse University College of Law. They studied together, dated, were married and started a law office on the Waterloo-Geneva Road in 2005.

She has grown to love the area and its history. Her husband spent 20 years with the state police before becoming a lawyer.

“I’ve always loved to write,” she said. “I mined Dennis’ knowledge of police work and my own research into Waterloo and Seneca Falls history to come up with a local setting for a murder mystery. I love the architecture of the Waterloo Library, so I had to make that a big part of the book, [and] Blue is a combination of all the troopers I know and respect.”

She created Daily Page Press on her own to publish the book, getting help with the design from others. She said it took her about three years to complete the project, working on it between her legal work.

“I didn’t do it for money,” James said. “It’s homage to the place I love and a way to stretch my writing abilities.”

She is planning a sequel and a third book in the Cady and Blue mystery series. All will continue to be set in Waterloo and Seneca Falls, with many of the same characters and some new ones as well.

The book is available on her own website,, as well as through Amazon, Kindle, Nook and other electronic book-selling outlets. James said she is trying to get hard copies available at local outlets.