Getting the skinny on law enforcement was the reason Carole Price joined Livermore's Citizen Police Academy nearly a decade ago.
It was 2003 and the fledgling author was pecking away at a book -- a murder mystery set in Livermore starring a crime-analyst heroine and a dapper detective.
"I wanted to get my police procedures right," Price said.
Now, some 10 years later, Price still works her volunteer cop gig as she said it proved too fun and interesting to quit.
And the book? It's now in bookstores.
"Twisted Vines -- A Shakespeare in the Vineyard Mystery," in hardcover from Five Star Publishers, is a danger-romance mystery romp in Livermore Valley with a Bard festival and wineries as backdrop.
"This is a second life for me," said Price, who retired in 2000 from Sandia National Laboratories.
Her "Twisted Vines" characters are fictional, as is the story.
But Price tapped some real settings, such as Wente Vineyards and a certain interrogation room at police headquarters. (Her publishers required a written OK from the department and city attorney for that inclusion.)
And the entire tale takes place in Livermore.
"My character doesn't leave town very often because she inherited this vineyard," Price explained.
And while Price toils daily on her next book, every Monday she still dons her police-issued shirt and khakis, and drives her squad car on her two assigned city beats marking and tagging vehicles abandoned or parked longer than 72 hours.
The danger quotient is low, she said. "I do get yelled at quite a bit."
But for Price, Livermore murders and mayhem are best left to fiction.
"Twisted Vines -- A Shakespeare in the Vineyard Mystery" [Hardcover] (Five Star Publishers, 2012) is available at bookstores, including Towne Center Books, 555 Main St., Pleasanton (925) 846-8826, through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.