Ruthie is another character I had so much fun creating. She is named after a high school classmate of mine and resembles her in some ways.
Ruth Anne Hersh had been the hub for the police station since Rhe was a little girl and knew everything there was to know about each and every one of the members of the police force and their families. Part receptionist, part secretary, and full-time referee, she sits at a tall front desk in the reception area. If she stands behind the desk, about all one can see is the top of her bun. She is what Rhe’s mother likes to call an ample woman, with graying hair still showing some of the original bright red, freckles covering her face, and a hearty laugh.
Ruthie maintains order. In Death in a Red Canvas Chair:
“The station was filled with people when I arrived, and Ruthie had obviously been called in to man the desk. She gave me a desperate look as I walked by her. I could hear her patiently but forcefully explaining to three lawyers at the same time that they could meet with their clients once an interview room became available.”
“Ruthie was glowering, and the lawyers were sitting in chairs, texting on their phones, talking quietly with the person sitting in the adjacent chair, or intently reading something. I could see some out in the parking lot, talking on their phones. Ruthie had restored order, it was clear.”
In Death by Pumpkin, I describe her as follows:
…fire-hydrant-sized receptionist who had been a fixture at the station for more years than I could count, sat at the oversized front desk with a scowl that could freeze water.”
Ruthie does something unexpected:
“’Don’t you just love the color? It’s just what my hair looked like when I was a teenager.’
Yeah, if you were a 65-year-old Madagascar macaw. ‘It’s a nice shade of red, but I may need some time to get used to it,’ I said, waffling between an outright lie and honesty.”
Do you have a picture in mind? Show me!